City, police begin evicting unhoused people at Lamport Stadium

City officials have begun to forcibly evict people living in an encampment at Lamport Stadium park in Liberty Village on Wednesday, one day after similar enforcement action led to the arrests of nine people at Alexandra Park.

Security guards and dozens of Toronto police officers arrived at Lamport Stadium, just east of the intersection of King and Dufferin streets, around dawn, as workers built a temporary fence around the site.

In a news release, the city said it believes roughly 14 to 17 people are in the encampment. They were served a trespass notice on June 12.

Those living in the park will be offered indoor accommodation and access to social supports and a housing worker, the city said. 

On Tuesday, nine people were arrested — seven for trespassing — as staff and police dismantled a makeshift community in Alexandra Park. Among those detained was a photographer for The Canadian Press, who was handcuffed by a city security guard and released with a trespass notice. 

City workers, accompanied by police and private security contractors, cleared an encampment in Alexandra Park on Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Trespass notices carry no charge, but prevent a person from returning to a site for 90 days.

Of the 26 people who were living in the Alexandra Park encampment, seven took offers for indoor accommodation in a city-run hotel or shelter, while 19 left on their own.

Several community organizations put out calls on social media for concerned residents to demonstrate at Lamport Park this morning. 

The clearing of another encampment at Trinity Bellwoods Park last month drew criticism for the disproportionate use of force by police.

Toronto’s mayor defended that operation but promised a review of what took place.

Early in the pandemic, hundreds fled Toronto’s homeless shelters for fear of contracting COVID-19, setting up tents in parks throughout the city.

Recent data obtained by The Canadian Press also shows a significant rise in violent incidents in Toronto’s shelter system over the last five years.

The city maintains the shelter system is safe and has said it will eventually clear all of the homeless encampments, which it says are unsafe. City council also recently passed a motion to end encampments.

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