Photo credit: Toronto Star / Narcity
Riot Gear on Standby: Toronto Police Ensure Safer Victoria Day Celebrations
MAY 22, 2023  (11:30)

Riot Gear on Standby: Toronto Police Ensure Safer Victoria Day Celebrations

As Toronto celebrates Victoria Day Weekend, police are on high alert to prevent any repeat of last year's mayhem. Staff Supt. Paul MacIntyre warned that officers in riot gear are on standby to deal with potential issues.

"What happened last year, we are not going to tolerate this year. My officers will be out in full force," MacIntyre said during a press conference on Friday. He added that they want everyone to "celebrate responsibly and have a great time."

Last year's celebrations saw two people shot, two others robbed at gunpoint, one person stabbed, and seven officers injured at Woodbine Beach the day before Victoria Day. A total of 19 charges were laid in connection with the chaotic scene that MacIntyre referred to as being filled with «crime and disorder.»

The following day, a man was seriously injured after he was stabbed in the back during a fight at Ashbridges Bay Park after fireworks went off.

To ensure a safer holiday experience this year, Toronto police have deployed an increased number of officers for round-the-clock patrol at the beach near Lake Shore Boulevard and Woodbine Avenue.

The beefed-up presence will include officers in patrol cars, on horseback, motorcycles, and bicycles, as well as those on foot who Toronto bylaw officers will complement. Additionally, there is an extra resource called the Public Order Unit (POU) which will be dressed in riot gear should things go "sideways" according to MacIntyre.

Those attending the festivities should remember that personal fireworks are not permitted to be set off at the beach or any public area - doing so can result in a hefty $300 fine which police will be enforcing.

Fireworks are allowed on residents' private property without a permit until 11 p.m., according to the city. However, fires outside designated fire pits must also have permits before they can be lit up safely.

Meanwhile, drinking in public is prohibited - commuters are encouraged to take transit due to restricted parking, and some road closures, while extra buses will also be added for routes 22A Coxwell and 92A Woodbineto to maintain traffic flow throughout the weekend.

So while everyone enjoys their Victoria Day Weekend celebrations, let's all do our part by remaining responsible citizens and respecting other people's safety first and foremost to avoid any similar disaster like last year from happening again!

Source: CTV News