City officials, police working on Woodbine Beach safety plans for Victoria Day long weekend

Toronto police vehicles are seen by the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools in the Woodbine Beach area during the 2023 Victoria Day long weekend. Photo: Beach Metro Community News file photo.

By ALAN SHACKLETON

Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford says he is working in partnership with Toronto police and city staff to ensure a safe Victoria Day long weekend in the community.

In 2021 and 2022, the Woodbine Beach area was the site of numerous incidents involving large, unruly crowds that put residents, visitors to the area, and law enforcement officials in danger during the Victoria Day long weekends.

However, police significantly increased their presence in the area on the Victoria Day and Canada Day long weekends in 2023, strictly enforcing alcohol and fireworks bans in the local parks and beaches which resulted in much more peaceful celebrations.

“In 2022, Victoria Day at Woodbine Beach was a horror show,” said Bradford in a statement to Beach Metro Community News in advance of this coming weekend’s Victoria Day events which include the traditional fireworks display on the night of Monday, May 20, at Ashbridges Bay.

“That’s why last year, I worked with city staff from multiple divisions and the Toronto police to ensure that the resources were in place to stop that from repeating, and together we had a much safer weekend for everyone.”

While Toronto police have yet to reveal their plans for the coming Victoria Day long weekend regarding community safety, it is expected (though not confirmed) that they will hold a news conference either this Thursday or Friday with representatives from 55 Division and East Command at Woodbine Beach to provide more information.

In advance of both the Victoria Day and Canada Day long weekends last year, police held news conferences by the Woodbine Bathing Station to make known their plans, which included a significant presence of officers and other police resources, along with a warning to those looking to cause trouble that there would be “zero tolerance” for any illegal activities.

Last year’s police news conferences prior to the long weekends emphasized that consumption of alcohol in public parks in and beaches in the area was illegal, as was the use of any fireworks. In 2021 and 2022, large groups of people setting off illegal fireworks and using them as weapons to shoot at other people and buildings was a persistent and dangerous problem during the Victoria Day long weekends.

“Remember, city bylaws prohibit the use of fireworks on the beach, and anyone caught breaking those rules could face a $1,000 fine,” said Bradford. “Stay safe, leave the fireworks to the professionals, and let’s ensure we can all enjoy a safe, fun kickoff to summer.”

This year’s City of Toronto fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay starts at 10 p.m. sharp on Monday, May 20, and is expected to last between 12 to 13 minutes.

The fireworks display is visible all along the Boardwalk and the Eastern Beaches, and draws huge crowds to the area to celebrate Victoria Day.

Those planning on attending are urged to use public transportation or walk to the area. Ashbridges Bay Park is located at 1561 Lake Shore Blvd. E. at the foot of Coxwell Avenue at Lake Ontario.

Toronto residents are also reminded that it is only legal to light off fireworks on private property without a permit on Victoria Day and Canada Day. Displays on private property cannot be set off after 11 p.m. It is illegal at all times for residents to light off personal fireworks on public property, including parks and beaches.

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/


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