By ALAN SHACKLETON
With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Service are making plans to ensure community safety on and around the Woodbine Beach area.
Last year’s Victoria Day long weekend was marred by large, rowdy crowds in the Woodbine Beach area who were setting off fireworks into the early morning hours.
Part of that may have been a boiling over of frustration among people who had nowhere to go due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that saw most nightclubs, bars and other facilities either closed or operating under tight restrictions.
Also, for the past two years the City of Toronto fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay Park did not take place due to the pandemic. Some said the absence of an official fireworks display that people could gather to watch led to the increase in bad behaviour among the crowds who were setting off their own fireworks in a reckless manner and endangering others.
This year, the city’s display at Ashbridges Bay is back for the night of Victoria Day (Monday, May 23.) It will begin at 10 p.m. sharp and is expected to last about 15 minutes.
Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford said he is looking for to the return of the city’s traditional Victoria Day display.
“I know many of us are eager to get out and enjoy our public spaces and events once again, including the annual Victoria Day fireworks display held by the City at Woodbine Beach,” he said.
“I too am excited to welcome back the gathering after a long two years of celebrating apart.”
Bradford encouraged everyone attending events over the long weeked to respect the public spaces by not littering, following noise bylaws, and not setting off fireworks illegally.
“In light of last year’s events, we are taking proactive steps this year to have our Beach and Beach go-ers remain protected while we all take part in the joy of the warmer months. This includes having an increased litter collection, additional lighting, enhanced Toronto Bylaw and 55 Division (Toronto police) enforcement for the area.”
Toronto police told Beach Metro Community News a variety of resources will be in the area to ensure safety over the long weekend.
“Residents are reminded that fireworks in City parks and on beaches is prohibited, and could result in fines,” police said.
Setting off fireworks on private property is allowed without a permit only on Victoria Day and Canada Day.
For more information on the City of Toronto’s bylaws regarding the use of fireworks, please go to https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/public-notices-bylaws/bylaw-enforcement/fireworks/