In normal circumstances, Trinity Bellwoods Park is a staple of summer in Toronto, a massive urban space that often doubles as an outdoor cocktail party in a city that lacks many viable outdoor green spaces.
These aren’t normal circumstances, however, and thousands flocked to the park on Saturday, with few maintaining the proper physical distance outlined by public health officials.
Although the City of Toronto put out a statement condemning the actions of the attendees, Mayor John Tory was among the park-goers and then released his own statement, where he claimed that he was merely there to “determine why things were the way they were” to a largely unconvinced audience.
I want to apologize for my personal behaviour yesterday. I visited Trinity Bellwoods Park to try to determine why things were the way they were. pic.twitter.com/2x1OIrnKI9— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 25, 2020
As expected, people are livid about the Trinity Bellwoods meetup which has since been dubbed “Trinity Woodstock” by some.
Your Trinity Bellwoods Starting Line-Up:— 20 year old comedian Alex Wood (@woodcomedy) May 23, 2020
-Britney(doesn’t pronounce the T)
-28 guys that did CrossFit once
-so many stupid hats
-“good vibes” only guy
-red wine is my whole identity lady
-38 year old “DJ”
-“Die Hard” Raps fans that can’t name a single bench player pic.twitter.com/oi4P10RTpy
People going to Trinity Bellwoods then being mad about people being at Trinity Bellwoods pic.twitter.com/H2F9aTNV76— TIRZA (@tirzayassa) May 23, 2020
every generation of torontonian must declare their undying loyalty to and then vehemently reject bellwoods it’s our fundamental truth as a city— Katie Heindl (@wtevs) May 23, 2020
i’m more annoyed at the fact people literally only know one park.— Diriye (@deereeyay) May 23, 2020
Didn’t do anything productive today but at least I wasn’t at trinity bellwoods pic.twitter.com/Cab4f9QQaS— Noor (@zainroon) May 23, 2020
“I'm amazed that kids are not allowed to practice football in a park without the family getting fined, but its [sic] ok for strangers to congregate in a park and not practice social distancing,” a user named Rodney W wrote in the comments of a Yahoo News Canada article. “If this is Toronto's pattern of behaviour, perhaps the authorities should shut down all the parks again until the first wave of COVID is over.”
“Walk through neighbourhoods. I’ve been walking 10K per day minimum since March 13, I can tell you first hand, the lockdown is over. Most people don’t care anymore,” an anonymous user submitted.
“It is actually possible to go for walks, enjoy sun and fresh air and see friends without snuggling together, hugging and sitting close,” Facebook user Rita Kelly Mahar wrote on the Yahoo Canada Facebook page. “I realize many younger folks feel that they have exclusive freedoms and rights which preclude considering others, but it would be nice if they followed the protocols for the benefits of immunocompromised, the elderly, the very young , the health workers and...oh yes...each other!”
“Not familiar with this park, but is it so small that people practically have to sit on top of each other to enjoy it. The crowd itself didn’t seem that large that it couldn’t spread out. Seems they just crowded in one spot to prove some idiotic point,” Facebook user Cathy Valcke D’Amico added.
The complaints feed into a larger ongoing conversation about what it means to provide a city with enough green space and public amenities to avoid a disaster like Saturday’s. Mayor John Tory says that the city and Toronto’s police will be revisiting their plan of enforcement in the park following criticism for a lack of fines and crowd management. A columnist for The Toronto Star went on to suggest that if the predominant race of those using the park had not been white, law enforcement would have been very different.