Hundreds of Hells Angels will roll into town Thursday to pay tribute to a fallen member in their old Leslieville stomping grounds before heading to a weekend party in Brooklin.
But Toronto Police vow to “do everything” they can to ensure the outlaw bikers — as many as 800 to 1,000 — disrupt the city as little as possible.
“This procession will inevitably cause traffic disruption in our city,” Supt. Scott Baptiste said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that there’s a robust traffic plan, to ensure that traffic moves about the city, and that this procession has the most minimal impact on the people of Toronto as possible.”
He said police have had “ongoing” communication with the Hells Angels about their intentions.
“We have no information to indicate that they intend to do anything other than participate in the memorial ride, followed by a gathering in the city,” Baptiste said, explaining the HA will be riding into the city between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Toronto cops, as well as York Regional Police and the OPP, will monitor the bikers as they make their way from Newmarket down Hwy. 404 and the DVP, then head east along Lake Shore Blvd. E. to Carlaw and Eastern Aves. — where the Hells Angels had a clubhouse until it was torn down in 2017 after being seized by the Crown a decade earlier following a series of mass arrests.
“Road closures will be in effect in this area and we ask that the people avoid travelling there, if possible, and to make alternate travel plans,” Baptiste said, explaining the main priority will be “safety.”
“As with any large gathering that takes place in our city, TPS will have visible resources in the area to ensure public safety and to minimize disruption and manage traffic issues,” he added.
Durham Regional Police have similarly been preparing for a massive influx of bikers this weekend as the Hells Angels gather in Brooklin for their annual Canada Run — a mandatory ride and party for club members and associates.
But Baptiste said the Toronto gathering will be nothing like the Brooklin rally.
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“There’s a significant difference between what is known to be planned for the events on the weekend in Durham Region and what we believe is going to occur tomorrow in the city,” he said. “We believe tomorrow is a memorial procession that is going to go to a property on Carlaw Ave. and then is going to leave the city of Toronto.”
The memorial is for Donny Petersen, longtime president of the club’s Toronto chapter and an author, who died at home in Oshawa in December 2021. He was 74.
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