The rainbow flag flying outside Toronto city hall in support of gay and human rights during the Olympic Games in Russia will stay up — despite Mayor Rob Ford's call for it to be removed.
Ford told reporters earlier today he had told city staff to take down the rainbow flag and raise the Canadian flag instead — saying the Olympics are "about being patriotic to your country'' and not "about someone's sexual preference.''
When told the gesture was meant to protest anti-gay laws in Russia, Ford replied: "Let Russia do what they want. We're Canadians here.''
City spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza says the mayor did call to ask how the flag came to be raised but did not officially order it to come down.
She says it was raised at the request of a non-profit group and met all the requirements of the city's flag flying policy — which would have to be amended by city council to be changed.
DeSouza adds it's being flown on a courtesy pole and the Canadian flag is flown elsewhere at city hall.
Police spent a short time earlier today at Ford's office and his spokesman said they were investigating a potential threat to Ford and his family.
The spokesman says the potential threat is unrelated to the flag controversy.
Toronto is one of several Canadian cities — including Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver — to fly the rainbow flag.