Rob Ford was far from City Hall on Thursday afternoon.
The mayor was spotted at an Etobicoke strip mall around 4:30 pm, his conspicuous Cadillac Escalade parked outside an LCBO.
Lyn Diaz, a manager of a local Tim Horton's, spied the mayor at the Martinway Plaza as she and her 13-year-old daughter sat in their car in the parking lot.
"I was talking to my staff on the phone, and then my daughter beside me... she look up, and said, ‘Mom, there's Rob Ford!'" Diaz says.
Diaz tried to take a picture, she says, "because it's my first time to see him, right? Excitement, you know."
But before she could get her camera ready, he drove off. Her daughter managed to snap a photo however, and posted it to Twitter along with the message "guys i saw rob ford. not kewl."
Diaz said she did not see which store Ford had exited on his way to his car, and she did not see him carrying anything in his hands. She said that as he got into the vehicle several people recognized him, and he rolled down his window to talk and shake hands with them briefly before driving away.
Martinway Plaza is roughly a 30-minute drive, or 18 km, from City Hall, and is on the way to Ford's home on Edenbridge Dr. if approaching from the 427 Highway. The mayor's house is approximately six kilometres from the mall, which aside from the LCBO also houses a Shopper's Drugmart, Tim Horton's, Royal Bank, and Pizza Nova.
Ford is often accused by his political opponents of being a "part-time mayor." Recent stories by the CBC and Globe and Mail that cited his City Hall parking records indicated he is spending less time in the office than he was a year ago.
The Mayor says that his workload can't be evaluated by how much time he spends at the office because he makes house calls and logs several hours a week on the phone with residents.