Fri. Aug 19th, 2022

KINGSTON, ONT. – Thousands of students gathered in Kingston, Ont.’s University District on Saturday afternoon to celebrate homecoming weekend and ignored pleas from police and Queen’s University to avoid large gatherings.

About 8,000 people flooded Aberdeen Street, near the campus, for celebrations returning home to Queen’s University.

Late Saturday afternoon, Kingston police announced that both Aberdeen Street and William Street have been declared an ‘aggravated nuisance’ during the mayor’s emergency order. Anyone in the area could be fined $ 2,000.

CTV News Ottawa’s Kimberley Johnson reports that the streets and lawns of homes on Aberdeen Street and adjacent streets were filled with students at 6 p.m. 14:30 Saturday.

Earlier in the afternoon, police said there was a “volatile crowd” on Aberdeen Street.

“Projectiles have been thrown at police on the ground with an officer sustained an injury,” Kingston said on Twitter.

Art. Greg Anderson told Toronto’s CP24 that officers on patrol in the university district had beer cans and water bottles thrown at them.

Hundreds of people were seen on the streets, on the front lawns of properties and even on the roof of a home in the university district on Saturday afternoon. Officers were on patrol through the neighborhood.

Kingston

“We went to check it out. It’s a little crazy,” one student said.

“We tried our best to stay back, there are so many people,” another student told CTV News Ottawa.

Other students said they would celebrate returning home after it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Especially since last year, when we didn’t get a HOCO and COVID kind of hit everything, I think everyone’s going to go pretty hard this year,” said a student near Aberdeen Street.

“We stay safe, we’re all fully vaccinated and we’re just trying to have fun.

Police asked motorists in the university district to proceed with caution.

“Large gatherings are taking shape and many lanes are becoming congested,” police said.

Aberdeen Street and William Street were closed to traffic as officers monitored the situation.

Officers from Durham Regional Police are at Kingston on Saturday afternoon to assist with enforcement, while OPP officers were deployed in the city to assist with enforcement.

Queen's University District

Kingston police and bylaws along with Queen’s University have urged students to respect COVID-19 protocols and avoid major street parties during the journey home.

On Thursday, the Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane sent a message to the students asking them not to attend major events during their return home.

“I ask for your help to help contain the social gatherings and act responsibly in the coming weekends,” Deane said. “As members of both the Queen’s and Kingston communities, we must all demonstrate leadership, respect each other and be aware and aware of the provincial laws and local statutes that are in place to protect us.”

Homecoming traditionally brings students and alumni to the city, and unofficial events in recent years have included massive street parties over the weekend.

Under Ontario’s COVID-19 protocols, collections are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

On September 10, the city of Kingston issued a new emergency order, which includes increased sanctions and new enforcement powers to deter social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new emergency ordinance increases the administrative monetary sanctions for participating in an ‘aggravated nuisance party’ to $ 2,000. Police have the power to immediately issue fines for violations once a nuisance party has been declared.

Organizers and hosts of parties may be fined $ 10,000 under the Ontario Reopening Act.

As part of Homecoming Weekend at Queen’s, Queen’s Gaels hosts the Carleton Ravens in the OUA football game. The capacity of the game is 4,500 people.

This is an evolving story. CTV News Ottawa gets the latest when it becomes available

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