nathan phillips square protest

Duelling protests took over Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

Toronto narrowly avoided a close call this weekend as competing rallies faced off in Nathan Phillips Square―despite a supposed cancellation from one side. 

Saturday was initially scheduled for an Islamophobic rally by a hate group based in Calgary. The group hoped to "celebrate" the one-year anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville riots in the U.S., where a man who identified as Neo-Nazi murdered a young woman. 

In a Facebook post mere days before the event was scheduled to take place, the group announced the cancellation. 

However, counter-protests that were organized to drown out the anti-Islam message stayed vigilant and showed up anyway―just in case. 

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On Saturday, a handful of the original group showed up, standing behind police guards in the square. They were quickly drowned out by hundreds of counter-protestors. 

According to some reports, there was some violence that broke out between different groups, as well as among the police and media.

Not much has been confirmed, but no serious reports have come in, leaving Toronto significantly luckier than Charlottesville.

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One incident that occurred was a Toronto Sun photographer being punched by an unknown man. However, most video reports show the square being peaceful, albeit a little tense. 

The original hate group announced the event was not cancelled, merely postponed. Toronto may be in for the hate rally eventually, but the city seems ready to rally and reject their message when necessary.  

Lead photo by

Tenna Joyce


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