Toronto Beach Residents Fed Up With Fireworks-Fueled Violence
Following the second straight Victoria Day firework celebration at Woodbine Beach Park crashed by masked miscreants that ended with two people shot, one person stabbed, seven injured police officers, and pyrotechnics fired at revellers, the days of hosting such events in that neighbourhood could be numbered. Sunday’s bedlam in Ashbridges Bay lasted about four hours, according to a neighbourhood resident in front of whose house the scene unfolded, and while there was a heavy police presence during Victoria Day fireworks Monday evening, he says Toronto Police Service told him it had difficulty raising enough manpower to respond to the mayhem a night earlier. “The police had given us the excuse that it was because of the long weekend and they couldn’t get enough resources because officers were off for the weekend,” Desmond Brown, a 20-year resident of Ashbridges Bay, told STOREYS. In addition to two men being shot and one stabbed, pyrotechnic-calibre fireworks were fired directly into the dense crowd of attendees, again and again as they fled in panic. Brown noticed a BMW stop and park in front of his house from which three men, he described as probably in their early 20s, alighted before, he quizzically observed, they layered themselves in clothing.
Noting that he had a clear line of sight, Brown said, “They were shooting things like these really huge cylinders that were almost like a bazooka that they would shoot out from. Amid the chaos, some of the alleged troublemakers breached a private condominium entrance and ran roughshod throughout the building, frightening some of its elderly residents, Brown says. Brown is among a cohort of long-time neighbourhood residents and active community members who have started lobbying to have the fireworks celebration moved to a different location. “I want to make clear that we welcome people to come down here, but please be respectful,” he said. The residents, who have been in contact with Mayor John Tory’s office, only to receive a “template, canned email,” aren’t the only ones urging city hall to find a new location for Victoria Day fireworks.
In an emailed statement to STOREYS, Bradford inferred that the city had already been supplicated to provide “appropriate safety and enforcement measures,” presumably after the violence exactly a year earlier, but “Unfortunately, they were not provided and our area became the case study for lessons learned as return to long weekend celebrations. “In contrast, the organization and execution on Monday night kept the area relatively peaceful and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike. Woodbine Beach Park hosts numerous events throughout the summer, including the Jazz Festival, Rib Festival –there’s even the Soup Festival — none of which devolve into disorder like this past Sunday. “We don’t have shootings in our neighbourhood but we had a murder down there a couple of years ago during the fireworks.
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