First, a bit of trivia for anyone whose knowledge of Toronto goes all the way back to grade school. Ottawa Street west of Yonge Street begins as usual at Buttermilk Lane. That’s the Y. Not Ottawa. If you’re at this point cringing at the shock — yes, I’m just about sure about this myself — you’re onto something. It’s a bit like the U.S. being located in Ukraine.
Anyway, it was recently announced that kids up to the age of 7 would be exempted from an upcoming preventative measles vaccination if their parents did not claim religious objections to it. A special section of the Toronto Public Health website was subsequently created to explain the situation.
Well, to recap: The folks at Ottawa Street West called for an evacuation. On Thursday, they opened up the secondary street for travelers wearing costumes and costumed suits. This allowed hundreds to get through the barrier. Given these were the police’s officers leading the evacuation — a truly staggering amount of resources was used to put it in motion — it only made sense that this was a face-saving moment. (The site was closed until Friday morning.) Not every single child was able to get in; a Toronto officer involved referred to his strategy as “the best screening method,” which — by all means — we should all adopt.
By then, TPH and the city of Toronto had decided enough was enough and announced that eight thousand children would be allowed in on the condition that they show their ID and take the vaccination. (The parents who declined to give the exemption for religious reasons had to prove that they could receive it through their church.) This caused the people of Ottawa Street West to erupt. They took to the streets, chanting, singing, and throwing tomatoes at the police. It took an absolute mountain of cops to clear the sidewalk. Video of the chaos can be found below:
As we reported earlier, Ottawa Street West has now lost the licensing battles against legal action from some of the most recognizable people in the city. Asked to comment, Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe offered this statement: “We recognize that there are issues around perceived invasions of personal rights, but at the end of the day, the legal system and the law exists for a reason, and when it is breached it will be dealt with. Our role is to protect public health.”
Authorizes did not return our requests for comment.
Update: York Region police responded to our tweets and said the statue was removed due to “legal reasons.”