ontario lockdown end

Toronto calls out bad long weekend behaviour and says it's up to us to end lockdown

After a Victoria Day weekend filled with illegal parties, protests, fireworks and far too much littering, Toronto Mayor John Tory is speaking out about some of the irresponsible behaviour reported in the city and emphasizing the importance of following the rules going forward to ensure this is the final long weekend in lockdown.

Tory made the comments in a statement released Tuesday, in which he also highlighted an important milestone in Toronto: 65 per cent of eligible adults have now received their first dose of the vaccine.

This shows how close we truly are to seeing the pandemic come to an end, but Tory says residents will have to continue following strict rules for just a little while longer if we're going to make that happen. And if the events of the long weekend are any indication, some people definitely need the reminder.

"Given the falling COVID-19 case numbers and the rising numbers of vaccinations, I firmly believe this past Victoria Day weekend will be our last long weekend in lockdown," Tory said in the statement.

"But all of this progress will depend on us just getting through the next few weeks without major setbacks. I know it isn't easy. We all need to hold on just a little bit longer to make sure we can reopen."

Tory also called out several specific incidents that occurred during the May 2-4 long weekend, including an anti-vaccine protest that saw demonstrators accosting families with children as they waited in line to receive their shot at city hall. 

"People are always free to protest in a democracy although any gathering continues to be against the public health advice right now. But while people are free to protest vaccines, I find it extremely troubling that a handful of protesters chose to harass families trying to get their children vaccinated over the weekend," he said. 

"I understand the police worked to keep these protesters separated from the families attending the City Hall vaccination clinic but I still think I have a duty as Mayor to speak up when anyone is trying to stop or deter or abuse anyone in our city who has chosen to access healthcare. The vaccines are safe and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated."

He also mentioned the unacceptable amount of litter that was left in parks and beaches during the weekend, especially following large gatherings at Woodbine and Cherry beaches.

"In the wake of the pandemic, we have increased litter patrols and garbage clean-up in major parks to recognize the increased use of these outdoor spaces. So it is troubling to see that people continue to leave their garbage in the park and on the beach," said the mayor.

"Many of our residents rely on the parks and beaches as their backyards. You don't leave garbage in your backyard or your neighbour's backyard so please don't leave it in the parks or on beaches - our collective backyard."

The mayor also highlighted disrespectful and aggressive behaviour directed at the city's enforcement staff.

He said enforcement teams have been met with abuse and hostility while simply trying to do their job and keep people safe, though some would argue it's actually the other way around following heavy-handed police presence at a memorial rally for Regis Korchinski-Paquet on Monday.

Overall, however, Tory's message is straight-forward and simple: Continue following public health measures now so that we can finally return to some version of normal soon. 

The province's stay-at-home order is currently scheduled to end on June 2, so here's hoping the conditions in Ontario continue to improve leading up to the Canada Day long weekend.

"I understand the fatigue and frustration felt by many," Tory said. 

"However, that cannot be an excuse for inconsiderate behaviour. We are doing so well and I believe as a city we have turned the corner on our way to a safe summer and a safe re-opening. Let's rally around our city and each other to make that happen."

Lead photo by

City of Toronto

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