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Ford Fest denied liquor licence, attracts ombudsman attention

A tent is set up for Ford Fest 2013. CITYNEWS

The annual Ford family barbecue — Ford Fest — is drawing the ire of Torontonians ahead of the Friday night shindig.

Ombudsman Fiona Crean said Tuesday her office has been “deluged” by complaints over the event being held in a public park.

The city’s election rules prohibit candidates from hosting campaign events in public spaces, including parks. But Rob Ford and his campaign manager, brother Doug Ford, maintain the barbecue is simply a community event.

The Ford family has hosted large barbecues for 19 years. Up until 2013 the party was held in the Etobicoke backyard of the Ford family home.

On Tuesday, the city granted organizers a licence to host the event at Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough.

But unlike Ford Fests of the past, this year’s event will be liquor-free. The Fords had previously said they did not have time to organize a liquor licence for the party. However, The Toronto Star reports Doug Ford’s liquor licence application was denied by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Typically, only charities and events deemed significant by city council decree or a letter from a municipal official are granted liquor licences for public spaces.

Ford Fest will be held on Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.