vaccine protest toronto

Two arrested at anti-vaccine protest after mob tries to storm Toronto Eaton Centre

Mobs opposing Ontario's vaccine passport mandate descended upon Toronto malls over the weekend, and one of the raucous protests boiled over into violence at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.

The latest in a string of anti-vaccine protests in Toronto, groups fighting the mandate organized a series of sit-in demonstrations at mall food courts on Friday, where unmasked and unvaccinated patrons would dine en-masse using a strength in numbers approach.

On Saturday, things got even more out of control when another march from Queen's Park led protesters to Yonge Dundas Square, where anti-mask figurehead Chris Sky (real name Chris Saccoccia) addressed his masses.

Anti-vaxxers set up booths selling merch at the rally and, of course, there was not a mask anywhere in sight.

The rally started off relatively peaceful, though it became clear that some in the crowd were planning on following up on the mall protests from the day before with a mass entry into the Eaton Centre.

Chris Sky's alleged call for the crowd to "do something" may have been the spark that ignited what happened next.

Police seem to have sensed trouble, preemptively forming a barricade at the Eaton Centre mall entrance across the street from the rally.

An unmasked crowd was soon recorded trying to force their way into the mall, as masked security guards and police officers could be seen resisting them at the entrance.

The scene got pretty heated, with another video showing a protester screaming at security guards. It appears that the protester had stolen a badge from one of the guards and is taunting him with it as police stand idly by.

Saturday's would-be demonstration at the Eaton Centre was thwarted at the door, though police allege that an Eaton Centre security guard was assaulted during the commotion.

Two were arrested on Saturday. Michael Leaf, 29, of Thornhill, and Vanessa Carvalho, 23, of Brampton will appear in court on December 15.

Mayor John Tory has spoken out against Saturday's rally, saying that protesters are "on the wrong side of history in this pandemic."

Cadillac Fairview, the company that owns the Eaton Centre, released a statement the day after the rally, saying that they "collaborated with Toronto Police Service to prevent the group from entering the shopping centre."

"We take the health and safety of our guests, clients and employees very seriously and at no time did the centre give permission for this action. Given the circumstances, the primary focus of TPS and Cadillac Fairview was to maintain a safe environment for all and minimize disruption while the group was onsite."

The protest brings another failed entrance to the Eaton Centre to mind, this one from way back when the G20 Summit shut down Toronto.

Lead photo by

Caryma Sa'd


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