toronto party

Toronto police bust large gathering above commercial space in West Queen West

Ontario is nearly halfway through the provincewide stay-at-home order — which was recently extended to six weeks due to concerning COVID-19 case numbers — and yet people are still defying it and the stern lockdown restrictions imposed at the beginning of the month as part of an emergency shutdown.

The latest violation comes not from a business opening its doors in protest of lengthy forced closures, but of a group of dozens of young people who gathered at a raucous party thinking, somehow, that they wouldn't get caught.

Toronto Police arrived on the scene near Queen Street West and Gladstone Avenue around 12:20 a.m. on Sunday after noise complaints coming from what was reported to be a 30-or-so-person get-together, though some accounts cite even higher attendance.

According to CTV News, officers broke up the shindig only to have to return once more when participants who had flown the area regrouped back at the location, which witnesses told the news outlet was on the second floor and balcony of a commercial space.

Apparently, it was far from the first time that exact spot had been home to an illicit gathering during lockdown.

Approximately 10 tickets for contravening orders under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) were issued to the tune of $750 each, though hosts can be fined a minimum of $10,000 to discourage such disobedience.

Toronto authorities have just as of last week started to crack down harder on events via special enforcement teams in each division that are supposed to "focus on large gatherings that fail to comply with the emergency orders, with a particular focus on indoor gatherings such as parties at short-term rentals or at bars and restaurants."

Private indoor gatherings have been completely banned in Toronto for more than five months now, while outdoor gatherings are now limited to only people from the same household, with the potential addition of one person who lives alone or is a caregiver to that household.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil

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