Toronto residents disappointed by state of their parks after long weekend

Published On May 25, 2021 | By Victoria Meyer | News
Fireworks on a beach with crowds of people surrounding
Illegal fireworks were shot up at Woodbine beach while large crowds watched in awe. Photo credit: Phil Marion/Reddit

The warmth and sunshine during the Victoria Day holiday in Toronto enticed the litter bugs to come out.

Large gatherings in Toronto’s parks and beaches on Victoria Day weekend despite COVID restrictions also brought a barrage of calls to Toronto Police on Sunday evening for loud and ongoing fireworks from Woodbine and Cherry Beach residents.

The City of Toronto issued a statement last week saying residents can only set off fireworks legally on their own property on Victoria Day and Canada Day, warning that all other days and public spaces will require a permit.

Trash on a beach
A local resident of the Toronto beaches displays the mess she found at Woodbine Beach on Monday morning. Photo credit: Lesa Hannah/Twitter

Toronto Police Constable Ed Parks told Humber News the service received numerous complaints from angry residents.

“Many calls were made, complaining about loud music, fireworks, and big crowds at Woodbine Beach. Tickets were issued but unfortunately the exact amount is still unclear,” Parks said.

He said a second wave of complaints on Monday came regarding piles of garbage seen throughout Woodbine Beach.

The province lifted some restrictions on May 22, which included the reopening of most outdoor recreational amenities such as splash pads and tennis courts.

The looser restrictions also allowed gatherings of up to five people outdoors.

“The empty cans and garbage seen the next morning was unacceptable,” Parks said. “We sent out enforcement teams on Monday to stop people from littering and to better enforce the outdoor gathering restrictions.”

Other Toronto public spaces fell victim to the long-weekend partygoers, specifically their garbage.

Trinity-Bellwoods in west Toronto is no stranger to COVID litterers, as last year the city dealt with a massive clean-up similar to those of this following weekend.

Grace Ki, interim chair of the Trinity-Bellwoods Community Association, said the city has added multiple garbage bins throughout the park to help keep it clean.

“People are inside and want to go out, which is fine. All we ask is that people respect our parks and clean up after themselves,” Ki said.

Garbage bins lined up along a park fence
Toronto is setting up more garbage bins throughout city parks in hopes of people cleaning up after themselves. Photo credit: Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park/Twitter

This is the second warm weekend of 2021 so far and both have seen large crowds at Trinity-Bellwoods, and the resulting trash throughout.

Local Toronto resident Matt Basile told Humber News he was dismayed when he strolled Trinity-Bellwoods Park on Monday morning.

“Walking through Trinity-Bellwoods this morning was beyond disappointing,” Basile said. “If you contributed to that garbage last night, you should be embarrassed about who you are.”

He said when he saw the state of the park, he was extremely disappointed.

“We’ve all been through enough in the last 15 months that we can at least clean up after ourselves,” Basile said. “It comes down to two things. A false sense of entitlement, and a lack of respect for others.”

Trinity Bellwoods Park covered in garbage
Trinity-Bellwoods Park in west Toronto fell victim to partygoers during the warm summer weekends throughout the pandemic. Photo credit: Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park/Twitter

A person caught littering can land a fine up to $500, and in a statement the city urges people to look for bins, or take garbage home if all bins are full.

The city has not issued any tickets regarding the garbage spewed across Toronto this following weekend because a person must be seen littering before a ticket can be given.

Although restrictions are starting the lift, the stay-at-home order will remain in place until at least June 2, meaning large gatherings at beaches and parks are still restricted

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