After a controversial year at city hall, Toronto residents got a chance to meet Mayor Rob Ford and other elected officials on New Year’s Day.

Ford hosted his traditional New Year’s levee at city hall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., but he didn't take questions from reporters.

Coun. Sarah Doucette said the levee is a prime opportunity for people to meet council members who they usually see from the city hall gallery or on television.

“This is where residents can come out and see councillors all in one spot and actually shake our hands and speak to us,” Doucette said. “Normally when they see us we’re stuck in our chairs, we’re in council meetings and it’s very hard to interact with people.”

Ford supporter Ross Virgin was one of a few dozen people who lined up before the levee started.

Virgin backs Ford because of his crusade to cut spending and his work with youth through minor football.

Before the meet-and-greet began, Virgin said he planned to thank the mayor for trimming costs at city hall.

“I’m going to tell him, first of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking to your promise,” Virgin told CP24 reporter Jackie Crandles.

Virgin handed out flyers declaring Ford the "greatest mayor Toronto has ever had."

Initially, Ford’s office said this year’s levee would be scrapped or replaced with a family skating party, but late last week the mayor decided to go ahead with the annual event.

At last year’s meet-and-greet, more than 300 people filed through city hall’s rotunda to meet the mayor and city councillors.

The levee has been an annual tradition at city hall since 1968.

At Queen’s Park, Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley hosted a levee from noon to 2 p.m.

In Mississauga, Mayor Hazel McCallion and fellow council members held a levee that included a free public skate and pizza at the Mississauga Civic Centre.

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