Jun 23, 2021

By Jane Brown

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It is calm there now, but Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods Park turned into a hostile standoff Tuesday at the site of a homeless encampment.

In the end, about half of the between 20 and 25 homeless individuals decided to leave and go to designated hotels, but not before hundreds of city staff, police officers and private security workers arrived to try and tear down the site.

“I think it’s really awful that they bring all these people in with guns, all this machinery, to force people into congregate settings during a global pandemic,” explained outreach worker Greg Cook who was on the scene and says the enforcement was way over the top.

But Toronto Mayor John Tory explained Wednesday morning the only reason police went in was to keep people safe.

“Not the 20 people who were experiencing homelessness. They were peaceful and quiet as they always are when we talk with them about going inside,” Mayor Tory said, “It’s all the protesters who show up that the cause the need for there to be police to protect the homeless people, to protect the protesters and to protect the city staff who are just doing their job and are faced with abuse, they’re faced with weapons, they’ve been followed home at night.”

By contrast, Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton told The Morning Zoom with Sam and Jane on Zoomer Radio, there doesn’t need to be this level of commotion and armed forces in order to resolve the situation. He added, he’s not sure if anything has been learned by what’s happened at Trinity-Bellwoods and last month in Liberty Village.

A similar scene played out at a homeless encampment down the street from the ZoomerPlex by Lamport Stadium in Liberty Village.

Mayor Tory will have more to say about this issue and others facing Toronto residents when he joins Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer at 12:30 on Wednesday.

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