TORONTO, SEPT. 29 -- "I thought they were going to try to tax my gold medal," sprinter Ben Johnson said sardonically about his experiences with Canadian customs agents Monday night.

The agents made sure "the world's fastest man" declared all of the cameras, radios, Japanese ceremonial swords and other gifts he has received since setting a world record in the 100-meter dash earlier this month at the World Track and Field Championships.

Johnson, looking weary, had to pay more than $1,400 in duties fees in Vancouver after arriving on a flight from Japan, and missed a connecting flight to Toronto, where well-wishers awaited him.

The delay, however, did not affect a noon-hour parade today in Toronto for the soft-spoken, Jamaica-born athlete, the first Canadian in 55 years to win a gold medal at a world track and field event.

The parade went through the heart of Toronto's financial district and several thousand bankers, brokers, messengers and secretaries lined the streets or hung out windows to toss streamers and confetti on him as he rode in an open red convertible.

Police department bagpipers dressed in red plaid kilts led the procession, playing "Scotland the Brave" over and over. A teen-age steel band representing a suburban Lion's Club trailed, performing "Rock Around the Clock." Jamaican women and exuberant teen-agers and small children followed the procession.

At a rally afterward at City Hall plaza, Toronto Mayor Dennis Flynn and four of his suburban counterparts, several of whom had vied to host the celebration, saluted Johnson, whom they referred to as the "fastest human on earth."

Johnson said one of his objectives now is to get his time down to 9.78 seconds, but that his "main goal" is to win a gold medal at the Olympics in Seoul next year. "If Carl {Lewis} goes faster, then I'll go faster to make sure he doesn't beat me," he said.

Meanwhile, his agents here told reporters that lucrative endorsements that had previously eluded Johnson were beginning to come in. Loblaws, a major Canadian supermarket chain, has announced he will be their spokesman.

"I hope I won't be famous and poor," Johnson said today. "I would rather be famous and rich."