Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t even able to enter a scheduled stop when hundreds of people swarmed him at a Scarborough mall Wednesday.
When Trudeau arrived at Bridlewood mall around 5 p.m., hundreds of people started reaching for the prime minister’s hand as he was led into a crowd of people to head for the food court. Less than two minutes later, his security detail started guiding the prime minister back towards the mall’s entrance as he continued shaking hands with those around him.
He was then taken to his motorcade and left the campaign event.
More than 500 people arrived, which “far exceeded all expectation,” said Liberal Party spokesperson Braeden Caley.
Trudeau had stopped by the mall to join Liberal candidate Jean Yip for a community visit. Yip is representing the party in the Dec. 11 byelection in Scarborough-Agincourt to fill the seat left vacant after MP Arnold Chan died in September after a battle with cancer.
Chan’s death led to emotional responses from many of his fellow MPs and the prime minister, who gave a tearful farewell in the House of Commons days after his death.
WATCH: Justin Trudeau pays tribute to MP Arnold Chan
Yip was Chan’s wife and announced last month she would vie for Chan’s seat for the Liberals.
Trudeau was in Toronto to make an announcement earlier in the day about a national housing strategy, where he touted some $40 billion in spending over the next decade.
Following Trudeau’s departure, Caley said Yip did remain at the mall until the last person in attendance left.