TORONTO – Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti called Parkdale the city’s “pedophile district” in a press release Thursday criticizing all-ages electronic dance music parties being held at Exhibition Place.
“Given the many issues surrounding children relating to these events, there should be great concern over the fact that the neighbouring Parkdale area is home to one of the highest concentrations of registered sex offenders, including pedophiles, living in the City of Toronto,” he said in the press release.
“With ‘all‐ages’ parties being held next to a pedophile district, we are simply encouraging the continued abuse of our children.”
Mammoliti suggested “our children can fall victim” to drugs and alcohol and could be victimized at the “the hands of current and past pedophiles.”
Parkdale does not have the city’s highest concentration of registered sex offenders in the city. Instead, an area near Regent Park holds that distinction, according to data obtained by Global News.
Councillor Gord Perks, who represents the slighted neighbourhood, shot back at Mammoliti on his website Monday afternoon saying the “awful slur” comes from “one irresponsible voice.”
“I want to say how saddened I am that Parkdale has been attacked this way,” Perks wrote on his website. “As we all know Parkdale is the kind of community everyone in Toronto admires. We are economically, socially, and culturally diverse. We accept and welcome and love each other. If the rest of Toronto were more like Parkdale, Toronto would be an even better place to live.”
WATCH: Gord Perks responds to Giorgio Mammoliti’s “pedophile district” comments
The press release was issued just a few hours before the Exhibition Place Board of Governors hold a public consultation about holding Electronic Dance Music events at Exhibition Place.
The board had voted to ban the events from Exhibition Place property in April – with the notable exception of Muzik nightclub which would be allowed to hold the dance parties.
But city councillors voted overwhelmingly – 31 to 4 – to reverse the ban in early May after a backlash from councillors and the public.
“I think folks have realized it was a rash decision on the part of the (Exhibition Place) board, not grounded in fact,” Councillor Mike Layton told The Toronto Star at the time.
Mammoliti had been one of the four board members to vote in favour of the ban, saying it was about protecting children.
“[We’re] talking 5,600 kids, many of them taking ecstasy on government lands owned by the taxpayers, I just think it’s wrong to be sending that message,” he said in April. “I don’t see the logic in that, if the private industry wants to have the venues in a private location then so be it.”