cherry beach toronto

Massive dance party at Toronto's Cherry Beach infuriates locals

Sweltering weather, the summer solstice, and what I'm certain is a strong sense of stir-craziness among Toronto's party set enticed hundreds, if not thousands of people to hit one of the city's low-key best beaches on Saturday for what turned into a raging jam.

Images coming out of Cherry Beach on Saturday, June 20, shocked many social media users due to the sheer volume of bodies seen gathered along the sand: more than you'd usually see on a Saturday afternoon at the shady beach, and way more than what the province legally permits at this time.

Yes, we're allowed to enjoy gatherings of up to 10 people now, but emergency orders still dictate that we must stay at least six feet away from those we don't live with (unless they're one of the chosen 10 in our own social circles.)

The vast majority of those who flocked to Cherry Beach yesterday appeared to be in violation of these rules, as there literally wasn't enough room between groups of people to physically distance.

Located on Toronto's outer harbour at the foot of Cherry Street, Cherry Beach has played host to many a late-night dance party in the past, most notably an ongoing summer series called Promise Cherry Beach.

The organizers of the Promise parties do not appear to have been involved in Saturday's gathering, choosing instead to promote its ongoing series of live-streamed DJ events via Facebook.

While no official event was on the books for Saturday at Cherry, several posts can be found on Facebook in which people encourage their friends to attend the location for birthdays, Pride or summer solstice celebrations.

A sound system powered by generators could be observed at the site yesterday, where speakers blaring loud music lent a festival-type atmosphere to the gathering. Attendees appeared to be having fun, but those who live in and frequent the area expressed some concerns.

"I'll be honest, no one near Cherry Beach was honouring physical distancing at some beach parties I observed," wrote one on Twitter.

"I actually checked out cherry beach and the beaches today — honestly they were both totally packed, pretty much like a normal summer day and almost no one had masks on," wrote another in response to a tweet about telephoto lenses making some spaces look more crowded than they actually are.

Some were upset to see that beachgoers weren't heeding public health recommendations to wear face masks when physical distancing isn't possible.

Others were ticked off by all the trash left behind by partygoers, some of whom continue to drink and dance into Sunday afternoon.

"Just walked through Cherry Beach. Disgraceful mess with Garbage. A huge party still going on from last night with a DJ. Deafening noise," wrote one local on Twitter. "Something needs to be done about the garbage on our Beaches. No distancing."

A lot of tsk-tsking is happening on Twitter as images from Cherry Beach circulate, similar to what happened when thousands gathered at Trinity Bellwoods Park a few weeks ago.

Some are blaming police and municipal bylaw officers for failing to enforce social distancing rules, while others are calling out the rambunctious youth for being "selfish" again.

Despite the histrionic cries of nay-sayers who warned that the Bellwoods situation would most definitely lead to another COVID-19 outbreak, Toronto Public Health stated on June 8 that there had "been no evidence of increased COVID-19 activity that can be linked to the gathering in Trinity Bellwoods Park on May 23rd," despite mass social distancing violations.

Some on Facebook have been arguing in defence of the gathering at Cherry Beach, noting that the risk of transmission for COVID-19 is lower outdoors than indoors.

Others are reminding angry locals that Ontario has been in a state of emergency for more than three months now, leaving all Toronto residents without any bars, restaurants, concert venues or nightclubs to attend.  

With popular summertime haunts like Cabana Pool Bar and Rebel just a stone's throw from Cherry Beach at the Polson Pier complex, one can understand why this particular beach has been more crowded than usual lately: for nightlife aficionados, there's simply no place else to go.

Lead photo by

Nelly S

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