Weekend Reads Toronto police ramp up patrols near CN Tower over 'potential risk'

02:25  13 july  2018
02:25  13 july  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

Despite an unknown threat, it was business as usual in Toronto

  Despite an unknown threat, it was business as usual in Toronto As a heavy police presence descended on a city whose streets are still lined with concrete barriers nearly three months after the worst mass murder in its history, Torontonians, for the most part, went about their business. In an unusual move, Toronto police tweeted Thursday that it was responding to an undisclosed “unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information.” It was followed by a statement from Doug Ford’s Twitter account that the premier was “aware of the reported potential threat in the city of Toronto.”But despite the warning, activities around the downtown area continued uninterrupted. Along Bremner Blvd.

Security has also been ramped up in Toronto suburbs, with Peel Regional Police patrolling near Canada’s Wonderland, an amusement park that is another major tourist attraction.

Emergency Task Force officers were seen near the CN Tower Thursday, while officers on bicycles patrolled the area around the nearby Rogers Centre. York regional police also tweeted that there will be an increased police presence around the region north of Toronto .

(Video provided by CityNews)

Toronto police have scrambled officers to patrol the CN Tower and surrounding area Thursday after receiving unconfirmed information about a "potential risk to public safety," but the force is playing down reports of a possible vehicle attack.

Acting Supt. Michael Barsky declined to provide any specifics about what police have learned, but told reporters a heightened police presence will allow the busy area, which includes a number of major tourist attractions, to remain open as normal.

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"Whenever we report of potential risk, we take it seriously," he said.

Meanwhile, York Regional Police have boosted patrols near Canada's Wonderland north of the city.

Earlier Thursday, Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash confirmed officials had received an "unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information" so there would be an increased number of police officers throughout the city and specifically in the downtown core.

Two Toronto media outlets published an internal police memo that said security was being stepped after "credible information" was received about a "potential vehicle ramming attack."

Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told CBC Toronto the memo is from a draft operational plan that was never approved.

Police tweet warns of increased police presence downtown due to ‘unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information’

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"Our officers were provided with the most up to date and accurate information this morning, so was the public," she said by email.

However, U-Haul, the moving company that rents trucks and vans, confirmed it was approached by the Ontario Provincial Police on Wednesday and was asked to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour in the Toronto area.

"At the request of the police, U-Haul issued a reminder to our Ontario Team Members to continue being mindful of suspicious behavior and reiterated instructions on how to report such behavior to police," said Sebastien Reyes, U-Haul's vice-president of communications.

a man holding a gun: Acting Supt. Michael Barsky says everything around the CN Tower will be open as normal despite the increased police presence. © Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press Acting Supt. Michael Barsky says everything around the CN Tower will be open as normal despite the increased police presence.

Concert to draw tens of thousands to area

Barsky said that police presence will continue throughout the day. In addition to the downtown area being a major tourist draw, thousands of people live in highrise condos.

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Cities across the United States are ramping up security measures for the holiday. As well, increased police patrols along the Magnificent Mile will work to thwart any potential attacks. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel share rare romantic moment in front of the Eiffel Tower during trip to Paris City of love.

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"The police presence in this area is to ensure that the public can enjoy and come down to this area unimpeded and without any worry."

The CN Tower's media team said in a news release that it's "fully co-operating with Toronto police and other agencies to ensure our employees, guests and the tower are all safe."

The Rogers Centre, meanwhile, is set to host a Foo Fighters concert tonight, with doors opening at 5 p.m. ET. Barsky said that show will go ahead as planned.

Other areas also on alert

At Union Station's bus terminal — a short walk from the tower — special constables kept an eye over the platform and parked vehicles near the edges.

York Regional Police announced around 11 a.m. that they are also upping patrols in several locations. The force is urging members of the public to remain vigilant and call 911 if they spot any suspicious activity.

Mayor, premier monitoring situation

Toronto Mayor John Tory was briefed on the situation by the police chief this morning, his office confirms, and will be monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office tweeted it's aware of a "reported potential threat," and is in touch with security organizations from all three levels of government.

At Queen's Park, there are no plans to cancel the 15-gun salute that will be part of Thursday's throne speech event.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office said the investigation is still being handled by local police at this point and that an alert will be sent out if the RCMP gets involved.

a police car parked on a city street: A Toronto police officer keeps an eye on the intersection of Front Street West and John Street, near the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. © Ian Kalushner/CBC A Toronto police officer keeps an eye on the intersection of Front Street West and John Street, near the CN Tower and Rogers Centre.

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