Police will be patrolling Beach area over Canada Day long weekend to ensure public safety

Toronto police ATVs are seen patrolling Woodbine Beach in this Beach Metro Community News file photo. Police will be using a variety of resources to keep people safe in the area over the Canada Day long weekend.

Toronto police are reminding those planning on attending Canada Day celebrations this long weekend in the Beach that officers and city bylaw officials will be out in large numbers to keep people safe and enforce the rules regarding the illegal consumption of alcohol and use of fireworks in public places.

In relation to the Canada Day fireworks display presented by the City of Toronto on the night of Monday, July 1, at Ashbridges Bay, police said in a news release on June 28 that a variety of police resources will be used to keep people safe and the law enforced. The fireworks display on July 1 begins at 10 p.m. and will last for approximately 14 minutes.

“A variety of police resources will be in the area to ensure everyone can enjoy the event safely, including the Mounted Unit, and officers patrolling on foot, ATVs, and bikes. Fire Services, EMS personnel, and City by-law officers will also be on-scene,” said the police news release.

Police are stepping up their presence in the Woodbine Beach and surrounding areas for the second Canada Day long weekend in a row in light of incidents that took place in 2021 and 2022 over long weekends that involved large, unruly crowds and significant threats to the safety of members of the public, police officers and other emergency responders and city officials.

Police and bylaw officers will be patrolling the beach area and nearby parks day and night during this long weekend, the news release said.

At both Victoria Day and Canada Day last year, there were no significant incidents and the same held true for the recent Victoria Day long weekend this year.

Everyone is reminded that consumption of alcohol and use of fireworks is not allowed on public property such as local parks and beaches in the area from Ashbridges Bay through Woodbine Beach, Kew/Balmy Beach and Scarborough Beach.

“The (Police) Service would like to remind people that personal bonfires and fireworks in city parks and on beaches are prohibited, and could result in seizures and fines. As well, no one under 18 years of age can possess fireworks,” said the news release. “Alcohol is not permitted at Ashbridges Bay.”

Police said officers will be “closely monitoring” security issues and will make the appropriate adjustments to mitigate any potential risks to public safety.

“If there is a threat to public safety or obstruction of officers or other emergency services, officers will use their discretion to disperse crowds or lay charges. If appropriate, we may also continue to investigate and make arrests or lay charges after an event has concluded,” said the news release.

While everyone is welcome to have fun over the long weekend and celebrate Canada, those visiting parks and beaches are also reminded that the volume of music must be at a “reasonable level” and amplified sound from DJ equipment and speakers is not permitted and will not be allowed to be set up.

Given the huge crowds that usually attend the Canada Day fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay, police are advising that parking will be serious challenge and recommend people take public transit to get to the area.

“Parking enforcement will be stepped up over the long weekend and drivers should expect major delays, including on Lakeshore Boulevard East,” said police in the news release. “Parking will also be restricted. People should consider taking public transit, if possible, and the TTC will be adding additional buses to routes.”

The fireworks display will be visible from the shores of Lake Ontario along the entire length of the Boardwalk and beyond, and bus routes to the area include the 22 Coxwell and 92 Woodbine that will be offering additional service.

Residents who are planning on holding personal fireworks displays on private property are reminded that it is only legal to set them off on Canada Day and Victoria Day.

Fireworks are only permitted for people over the age of 18, and should only be handled and discharged by adults. For those setting off fireworks on their own private property, the city is reminding them to be aware of the surroundings and not discharge fireworks where they may be a disturbance or pose any risk of fire, or injury to any person or property, and to dispose of fireworks properly as they can cause fires in waste collection vehicles and facilities.

To properly dispose of fireworks whether used or unused completely submerge them in water, let them soak overnight, and put them in a plastic bag to keep them from drying before throwing them in the garbage. Fireworks should never be thrown in the Blue Bin.

The City of Toronto recommends these safety tips on how to light fireworks on personal property:

  • Purchase fireworks from a retailer displaying a City-issued fireworks vendor permit.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s label directions.
  • Before fireworks and sparklers are used, they must be kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer.
  • Discharge the fireworks a safe distance from combustible materials such as buildings and trees.
  • Before they are ignited, fireworks should be buried at least half their length into a bucket of sand if portable firing bases are not available. Plant the fireworks directly into the sand to make sure each piece is firmly supported and is aimed straight and away from the audience.
  • Light the fireworks at arm’s length, stand back and keep your face turned away. If a firework fails to ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Let it sit in the base for 10 to 15 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • The adult igniting the fireworks must wear eye protection and avoid having any part of his or her body over the firework.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never discharge fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Never discharge fireworks indoors.
  • If someone suffers a burn, run cool water over it for a few minutes and consider further treatment.
  • In order to prevent an accident or injury, sparklers should be doused with water, or allowed to cool in a safe place away from children playing. The ends of sparklers continue to stay hot for some time and will easily burn a child’s skin, clothing or other nearby combustible material.
  • Do not allow sparklers to be used indoors.
  • Children make a great audience but they must never be permitted to light fireworks. Adults are responsible for handling the fireworks while spectators watch the display from a safe distance.
  • One designated adult should ignite the fireworks.
  • Ignited fireworks must never be hand-held.
  • Light only one firework item at a time.
  • Always have water on hand – a garden hose and bucket of water – to soak fireworks after they have fired.
  • Used fireworks should be soaked thoroughly before disposing of them in your garbage bin. Fireworks should never go in recycling.

For more information on the City of Toronto’s fireworks’ safety information, please visit https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/public-notices-bylaws/bylaw-enforcement/fireworks/

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