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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 21 July 2005 11:57 UK

City sorry for Miss Universe snub

Miss Canada Natalie Glebova after winning the Miss Universe 2005 contest in Bangkok
The Toronto university graduate won the contest in Thailand

The mayor of Toronto has apologised to Canada's Miss Universe winner after she was barred from attending a festival in the city in her official capacity.

Natalie Glebova, 23, who won the global beauty competition in May, was told she would be allowed in only if she removed her Miss Universe sash and crown.

City officials cited a by-law which prohibits activities encouraging sexual stereotyping and degradation.

But city mayor David Miller admitted they had gone too far.

"It's unfortunate, and silly and won't happen again," he told reporters.

Ms Glebova had been invited to attend the Tastes of Thailand festival in the city's Nathan Phillips Square, in front of the city hall, last weekend.

Thailand had hosted the Miss Universe competition in May.

But the event's organisers say they were told Ms Glebova could not be introduced as Miss Universe or wear any of her beauty pageant regalia.

They were told by city officials that a 1990 by-law forbids any events on the square that "exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purposes of attracting attention," the Globe and Mail reported.

The law adds, "specifically, beauty pageants will be prohibited".

'Strict reading'

Ms Glebova, a Russian-born Canadian citizen who studied at Toronto's Ryerson University, agreed to remove her sash, but said she disagreed with the ruling.

"I definitely don't think that the Miss Universe title is any kind of stereotype or sexual stereotype," she said.

And officials from the Miss Universe organisation were also unhappy.

"It's a strict reading of the by-laws," President Paula Shugart told the AFP news agency.

"According to those conditions, a beauty contest cannot even be held in Toronto."

Mayor Miller agreed that the law had been interpreted too strictly, but said he did not think it needed rewriting.

"The by-law says that there won't be any beauty pageants in Nathan Phillips Square and that's appropriate, that's not a right kind of use for Nathan Phillips Square," he said.

"But it doesn't say that Miss Universe can't be honoured there."

SEE ALSO
Bikini-clad beauties offend Thais
19 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Canada
20 May 05 |  Country profiles

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