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Riot police on standby if Toronto's Victoria Day weekend celebrations get out of hand: TPS

Police say officers in riot gear are on standby if Victoria Day celebrations in Toronto’s east end descend into “mayhem” like they did last year.

“What happened last year, we are not going to tolerate this year. My officers will be out in full force,” Staff Supt. Paul MacIntyre told reporters Friday, ahead of a long weekend that will be capped off by a large fireworks display on the holiday Monday.

“We want everybody to celebrate responsibly and have a great time… We will not put up with what we saw last year,” he said.

On May 22, 2022, the day before Victoria Day, the scene at Woodbine Beach was anything but celebratory. Two people were shot, two others were robbed at gunpoint, one person was stabbed, groups of people were shooting fireworks at each other and seven officers were injured.

At least 19 charges were laid in connection with the chaotic scene that MacIntyre said was filled with “crime and disorder.”

The next day, a man was seriously injured after he was stabbed in the back during a fight at Ashbridges Bay Park after the Victoria Day fireworks.

As such, Toronto police revealed their plans to keep this year’s celebrations in order, including a round-the-clock officer patrol at the beach near Lake Shore Boulevard and Woodbine Avenue.

MacIntyre wouldn’t say exactly how many officers will be deployed, only that there will be “more” than last year.

The beefed-up police presence will include officers in patrol cars, on horseback, motorcycles, and bicycles, as well as those on foot who will be complemented by Toronto bylaw officers.

But MacIntyre said police also have an additional resource in their “back pocket” ahead of this year’s events.

“We have public order officers on standby. They’re going to be here, and if we start to see that things are starting to get dangerous, [Supt. Kim O'Toole] will be calling up the POU, or public order unit, and they will be here,” he said.

MacIntyre confirmed those officers would be dressed in riot gear and standing by if things go “sideways.”

Toronto Police Staff Supt. Paul MacIntyre speaks to reporters ahead of this year's Victoria Day celebrations in the city's east end.

He said the increased police presence will start Friday and run until the conclusion of the city-commissioned fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay, which is set to start at 10 p.m. and last about 15 minutes.

Guests are reminded that personal fireworks are not permitted to be set off at the beach – or any public area for that matter. Doing so will result in a $300 fine, which MacIntyre said police will be enforcing.

Fireworks are allowed on residents’ private property without a permit until 11 p.m., according to the city. Fires are also not permitted outside of city-designed fire pits, which require a permit.

Drinking in public is also off limits and commuters are encouraged to take transit as parking in the area will be restricted and some roads will be closed.

There will be additional buses added to routes 22A Coxwell and 92A Woodbine to maintain traffic flow. Top Stories

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