Toronto Mayor Rob Ford paid an impromptu visit to the Eaton Centre food court Tuesday, part of his efforts to encourage residents to come downtown following the weekend’s fatal shooting.
Handing out business cards and fridge magnets to workers at the fast-food counters, the Mayor also stopped to offer them words of encouragement and shake hands with the small lunchtime crowd.
“Hi ladies, how are you?” the Mayor said to a group behind the KFC counter. “Keep up the good work guys,” he said to another.
The Mayor, who has been waging a public battle to lose weight, refused offers of free samples from the outlets. “I’ve had lunch,” he said.
The newly renovated and relocated food court on the mall’s lowest level was a much different place Saturday, busy with dinnertime visitors when a man sprayed bullets across the crowd, killing 24-year-old Ahmed Hassan and wounding six others, including a 13-year old boy. A pregnant woman, trampled by the throng dashing for the exits, went into premature labour, but was released from hospital Sunday after her condition stabilized.
Since then, Mr. Ford has been front and centre declaring Toronto “the safest city in the world,” and imploring residents to show their support for the city and its businesses by returning to the downtown.
“[I want] to assure people it’s a safe city and support the businesses,” Mr. Ford said after his whistle-stop tour of the outlets. “They are hard working people. I just want to reassure them that everything is okay.”
Mr. Ford said it is important that residents not change their habits to avoid the downtown because of a single event. “Continue doing what you did every day – come down with your family, come down eat lunch, people who work down here. Go out for dinner down there. Just carry on with your life.”