airbnb shooting

Toronto shocked after shooting at downtown Airbnb

Toronto was rattled by yet another instance of gun violence this weekend at a CityPlace condo that was being used as an Airbnb rental.

Three men were killed and two were injured during a shooting in a building at Fort York and Bathurst around 10:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Apparently, all were attending a party being held in a unit on the 32nd floor at 85 Queens Wharf Road, though the incident spilled out into hallways and onto multiple floors — particularly concerning for others in the building.

Many, including city councillor Joe Cressy, are saying that this is just one of far too many examples of the dangers short-term listings can pose to locals.

Last spring, there was a shooting at an Etobicoke mansion that was  rented out for an Airbnb party. Just days later, an 18-year-old was fatally shot at another Airbnb party in Stouffville, just north of Toronto.

And in December, gunshots rang out at an Airbnb rental in the Danforth area, leaving bulletholes in adjacent homes.

There have also been similar, more recent episodes in Ottawa, and there has even been a previous shooting at an Airbnb in the same CityPlace building as this weekend's incident.

As it stands now, Toronto bylaws dictate that any property being rented out on a short-term basis on a platform such as Airbnb must be the owner's primary residence, which is supposed to help limit the phenomenon of people profiting off of vacant units they own exclusively for the purpose of short-term rentals, also known as "ghost hotels."

Airbnb also officially banned "party houses" after a Halloween get-together at one of its rentals in California ended with five fatalities.

But this isn't enough, some Torontonians say.

Others feel that the problem is much broader; not about Airbnb, but about gun violence in the city in general, and firearm control (or lack thereof). 

Some are also taking issue with the priorities of Toronto police and political officials.

Regardless of  the larger systemic issues at play or where blame is placed, the events of Friday night were certainly shocking and terrifying to the city as a whole.

The victims were identified as Jalen Colley and Joshua Gibson-Skeir, both from Brampton, and Torontonian Tyronne Noseworthy. All were under the age of 22 and are also considered by police to be the only suspects in the crime.

In the wake of their deaths, the building's property management company has decided to completely ban rentals shorter than three-months.

Lead photo by

Ben Roffelsen

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