Rob Ford: shirtless jogger inspires shirtless protest

Inspired by the shirtless jogger who famously ranted at Rob Ford earlier this week, a handful of shirtless people gathered outside a Toronto radio station Friday to protest the Toronto mayor.

About a dozen turn up to protest ahead of mayor's scheduled radio interview.

Less than a dozen protestors showed up Friday to protest Rob Ford's appearance at a downtown radio station. Some shed their shirts, inspired by the now famous Canada Day shirtless jogger rant. (Michelle Cheung/CBC)

Rob Ford was greeted by about a dozen protesters on Friday as he continued his media appearances after coming back from a two-month rehab stay.

The protesters came to jeer the mayor without shirts on, inspired by the now-famous shirtless jogger who confronted the mayor on Canada Day.

"Obviously you're going to get people who disagree with my policies," explained Ford of the protest. He said the media focused on the protesters and not his supporters.

The shirtless protest, calling themselves the #shirtlesshorde, assembled outside NewsTalk1010 station on Richmond Street West, where Ford had a one-on-one interview.

Ford spoke about a variety of issues in the interview, from his addiction struggles to his dislike of streetcars.

"I used to do a lot crying by myself," said Ford about his problems. "I had a 10,000 pound elephant on my back."

Ford said that he is currently "a fitter and happier Rob Ford than you've ever seen in your life." He said that he lied in the past — the focus of many of the signs held by protesters — but is now taking things one day at time.

He said although he would have to build back trust with undecided voters, running for mayor is good for his recovery.

"The worst thing you can do is sit at home and do absolutely nothing. I wasn't using when I was at work," he said. "It was obviously on my private time. Idle time is the devil's playground."

But Ford would not commit to staying sober. "I'm not making any promises," Ford said about whether he would drink or do drugs again.

Ford also made a few comments about his upcoming platform, which he said he would roll out in coming months. A few details he revealed:

  • He called streetcars "terrible" and said they will be slowly phased out.
  • Buses running at night are often empty, so more buses are not necessarily solution, as his rival Olivia Chow has recommended.
  • Many of the city's stop signs and speed bumps are "unwarranted" and should be eliminated.
  • Garbage should be contracted out in the east end of Toronto.

Outside, however, the success of his policies were up for debate.

"You have cost taxpayers more than you have saved them," said a sign held by a shirtless woman in a bikini top.

The protest was inspired by an incident on Tuesday in which teacher Joe Killoran ranted at Ford as the mayor walked through a crowd of Canada Day revellers.

Killoran, who was out for a run and was bare-chested on that muggy day, hurled questions at Ford but didn't receive any answers.

Killoran challenged Ford on his "disgraceful record" in office. His rant was captured on camera and went viral on social media.

Ford returned to Toronto City Hall on Monday after spending two months in rehab. He is seeking re-election on Oct. 27.