Locks changed at Toronto city hall

The locks at Toronto City Hall have been changed, and boxes were packed in the mayor's staff offices ahead of his handover of powers to his deputy Wednesday.

"The locks have been changed, security has been changed, everything's been changed," Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said at the end of business day on Tuesday, according to the daily Toronto Star.

The former ally of disgraced Mayor Rob Ford who assumes most of the responsibilities of his boss said Ford has now been cut off from the city's nerve center, an area known as "the Fish Bowl," which houses the mayoral staff offices.

Ford was sanctioned earlier in the week by city council after admitting to smoking crack and binge drinking.

The civic leader of Canada's biggest city was stripped of most of his powers by outraged councillors, but has not given up hope of recapturing public affection after his hell-raising antics.

And he has vowed to fight the sanctions in court.

"This is going to be outright war," said the mayor, who has faced a storm over a litany of misdeeds, both admitted and alleged, since police revealed they had video footage of him smoking crack.

Ford admitted he had smoked the drug and apologized for his behavior, including what he dubbed his many "drunken stupors."

New allegations of misconduct and his lewd remarks in denying sexual harassment claims, however, deepened his problems.

While the council overwhelmingly voted to cut the mayor's budget and staff on Monday, a few dissenters expressed concern, branding "illegal and anti-democratic," the de facto removal of Ford from office.

The mayor now maintains a smaller office budget and a handful of aides, and keeps a seat on the city's executive council.

He can also still attend official functions as mayor. But his deputy assumes most of his other responsibilities.