As Rob Ford lies in repose, his Ford Nation supporters mourn

Members of Ford Nation, as they like to be called, came to Toronto City Hall on Monday to say their goodbyes to the man they once elected mayor.

Funeral for former Toronto mayor scheduled for Wednesday

Lola Mae MacIsaac, a former Rob Ford campaign volunteer, touches Ford's casket at city hall on Tuesday. Ford's body will lie in repose at city hall on Monday and Tuesday. (John Rieti/CBC)

Members of Ford Nation, as they like to be called, came to Toronto City Hall on Monday to say their goodbyes to the man they once elected mayor.

Rob Ford, who died of cancer last week, is lying in repose at city hall on Monday and Tuesday before his funeral on Wednesday. Around 100 people lined up to be the first to pay their respects to the late Etobicoke politician, with thousands more expected to visit in the coming days.

Their message was clear: they came because they care about Rob Ford. They said they care about him because he cared about them.

"He was a wonderful man," Lola Mae MacIsaac, a former Ford campaign volunteer, told CBC News.

"He said 'we the people' and he meant it."

When it was her time to pay her respects, MacIsaac climbed out of her scooter and put her arm over Ford's Toronto flag-draped casket. "Oh my darlin' Rob," she said. 

(John Rieti/CBC)

Some of those who attended today spoke with Ford's grieving family members. Brother Doug Ford, himself a former councilor, hugged many of those who waited in line, while Ford's widow, Renata, and their children were at city hall for the first part of the event.

On her way out of city hall, she stopped to hug several people in line, with tears streaming down her face the entire time.

Emotional Ford supporters pay their final respects

Many, like Toros Djerdjerian, carried mementoes from happier times with Ford

Others wore Ford campaign shirts or buttons

Among the first in line were several former members of the Don Bosco Eagles, the high school football team Ford used to coach.

"He taught us values of life … what to do after football," one of the former players said as he spoke with reporters following the team's solemn tribute to their late coach.

A day for Ford Nation

Mayor John Tory and many Toronto councillors also paid their respects during the first hour of the event, but after that it was all about the public.

A line of mourners snaked through city hall, with many more waiting outside. 

Ford supporters from all walks of life turned up for the event. Some wore suits, others wore construction gear. They came from different ethnicities and different parts of the city. Many said they'd met Ford at least once, if not multiple times. 

Lurline Sangster said she wasn't surprised by the turnout. 

"He loves people," she said. 

Monday's visitation was to wrap up at 6 p.m. Ford will lie in repose at city hall again on Tuesday, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., before his casket is moved to St. James Cathedral for a funeral service on Wednesday.


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