Concrete barriers set up at Toronto’s Union Station following van attack on Yonge Street

Click to play video: 'Timeline of Toronto van attack'
Timeline of Toronto van attack
This graphic re-creation shows how the van attack unfolded down Yonge St. in north Toronto on Monday afternoon – Apr 24, 2018

Concrete barriers have been set up around Toronto’s Union Station in the wake of a van attack that claimed the lives of 10 people in North York on Monday.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said the obstructions were installed on Monday night by Toronto police officers.

Toronto police have yet to respond to a request for comment, but Aikins said she wasn’t aware of any potential security threats to the regional transportation hub.

LISTEN: Anne Marie Aikins joins Kelly Cutrara on 640 Toronto

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Additional transit safety officers and Toronto police have been deployed as part of normal procedure following a critical incident, she said.

“If you’re coming to Union Station, you’ll see quite a number of Toronto police, as well as our transit safety, so if anyone has any concern about safety, or any concern whatsoever, they should reach out to an officer that’s around them,” she said.

Barriers were previously set up in the area of the Rogers Centre as part of increased security measures, and in December, Toronto City Council voted to install them at Nathan Phillips Square.

Vehicle rampages have claimed hundreds of lives in recent years, particularly in Europe. In September, a man stabbed a police officer and ran over four pedestrians in a U-haul cube van in Edmonton.

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“There is a reality, a harsh reality, that we are living in this day and age … where, whether it’s terrorists or mental health or whatever it is, this is the kind of tactic they’re using,”  said Mubin Shaikh, a counterterrorism expert currently teaching a course in Germany on preventing such attacks.

LISTEN: Counterterrorism expert Mubin Shaikh joins The Morning Show

Shaikh told The Morning Show on 640 Toronto that while it’s impossible to expect that all such attacks can be prevented, physical barriers can protect heavily populated key landmarks that are most likely to become targets, a strategy he referred to as site hardening.

“I think the most important thing is site hardening,” he said. “Site hardening refers to … barriers, blockages, obstructions, obstacles, these sorts of things that would make it harder for somebody to do something like that.”

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On Monday afternoon, 10 people were killed and 15 more injured after they were struck by a rental van in what investigators believe was a deliberate attack.

Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old Richmond Hill man arrested on Monday, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 accounts of attempted murder.

With files from Don Mitchell 

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