Rob Ford draws crowds and security at Leafs game
Mayor denied entry to Air Canada Centre lounge, felt spurned over MLSE vote
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford caused a stir with hockey fans, and headaches for security, at the Maple Leafs game on Saturday night, but a city councillor who was with him said, despite speculation, Ford was not intoxicated.
Coun. Frank Di Giorgio on Sunday said there were two occasions when security had a few words with the mayor, starting when he and Ford arrived at the Air Canada Centre and a crowd gathered to take photos.
"Rob is a bit of a rock star," Di Giorgio told CBC News on Sunday. "People just congregate around him wherever he goes. This is a normal occurrence."
"ACC security people asked him to go into the game to avoid all the crowds," Di Giorgio said.
While roaming the ACC, the mayor sparked a social media frenzy. One video posted to Instagram had people chanting either, "Four more years," or possibly, "Ford more years."
At one point, the mayor and city budget chief left their seats and, according to Di Giorgio, Ford became "insistent" that he be allowed into the exclusive directors' lounge. However, security kept him from entering.
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"Staff said there was a special function going on there and Rob wouldn't be able to go in," Di Giorgio said. "We eventually became separated because of all the crowds."
The councillor said Ford was under the impression the lounge was off-limits to him because he voted against granting Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) a $10-million loan to expand its BMO Field, another sports arena in downtown Toronto. MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto FC, the soccer team for which BMO Field is home.
"Rob was convinced it was because he voted against an MLSE proposal in council. He thought that was the reason he was being refused entry," Di Giorgio said. "I was trying to move him along ... not stay too long in one place."
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Even though some on social media wondered whether Ford had been drinking, the city's budget chief said the mayor "appeared OK."
"I didn't see him drink anything while I was with him. I met him before 6 p.m. I met him at City Hall [and] he wasn't drinking when he got there," Di Giorgio said.
When Ford was a city councillor, in 2006, he was told to leave the Air Canada Centre during a Leafs game for being too boisterous and shouting obscenities. He later apologized and said he had too much to drink before going to the game.