July 12, 2018 9:51 am
Updated: July 12, 2018 11:29 pm

Threat of vehicle ramming attack near CN Tower prompted increase in police presence: source

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto police out in force over "unspecified threat"


The threat of a potential vehicle ramming attack in the area of the CN Tower prompted police to increase their presence at a number of tourist locations across the Greater Toronto Area, according to a Toronto police document obtained by Global News.

The document states that Toronto police received “credible information” about a potential attack on Wednesday to be carried out the following day.

WATCH: A spokesperson for Toronto Police Service explained that the increased police presence at several GTA locations was due to information regarding a “potential risk to public safety”

The police memo said it “has not received any information regarding a specific criminal extremist threat to the City of Toronto.”

It further stated that “a heightened vigilance in these areas for suspicious behaviour, including pre-incident indicators, may deter criminal and extremist activity.”

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However, Toronto police said in an update Thursday afternoon that the document was a “draft operational plan” that was “never approved.”

“Our officers were provided with most up to date/accurate info this morning, as was public,” a spokesperson wrote on the Toronto Police Service’s Twitter account.

“Our current policing response in the downtown core is appropriate based on the info we have.”

In an update released Thursday night, police said they were resuming “normal operations” after having an increased presence of officers downtown on Thursday.

“We did this to mitigate the potential risk to public safety. We know this heightened security can be concerning for the public. Our goal is always to be as transparent as possible while protecting the integrity of our investigations,” the statement said.

“You will continue to see a police presence around the Rogers Centre as part of our 2018 downtown security plan.”

A spokesperson for U-Haul told Global News in a written statement on Thursday that the company was one of many contacted by Ontario Provincial Police on Wednesday “with a request to remain vigilant in reporting suspicious activity in the Toronto area.”

The company said it reminded its Ontario employees to report suspicious behaviour to police.

Ten people were killed in April following a van attack on Yonge Street in the city’s north end. A 25-year-old man from Richmond Hill, Ont., faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in the incident.

READ MORE: Toronto boosts security measures for entire Blue Jays season, upcoming NBA, NHL playoffs

Toronto police said in a news conference Thursday morning that they received information that authorities deemed as a potential risk to public safety but did not provided further details.

“We’re not going to comment on anything to do with the information received other than to say that it is information that causes us to determine a potential risk to public safety,” Insp. Michael Barsky told reporters during a news conference outside the CN Tower on Thursday.

In a tweet posted Thursday morning, Toronto police said they received an “unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information.”

“I’m not going to comment on anything in relation to the information,” Barsky said.

“We commonly get this type of event where we enhance our police presence and today is not uniquely different.”

The CN Tower was seen Thursday with multiple cruisers surrounding the structure and adjacent streets.

A statement released by CN Tower officials said they were made aware of the unconfirmed information by police and are cooperating with authorities to ensure employees and guests are safe.

“Yes, we have been made aware by Toronto Police Services that they are responding to an ‘unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information’ relating to the GTA,” CN Tower director of sales, marketing and communications, Joanne Pawlicki, said.

“As a result, they will be deploying an increased number of police officers across the city, particularly downtown, and are closely monitoring the situation.”

VIDEO: Police beef up security around CN Tower

Authorities said the increased police presence should not deter people from enjoying the venues.

“We encourage everyone to come and enjoy all the venues that they would normally enjoy, down in this area and throughout the city,” Barsky said.

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

The Rogers Centre, which is situated next to the CN Tower, is expected to be packed Thursday evening due to the Foo Fighters concert.

Canada’s Wonderland, an amusement park in Vaughan, Ont., just northwest of Toronto, was also surrounded with an enhanced police presence.

WATCH: Police increase presence at Wonderland, Rogers Centre after potential threat

“In conjunction with York Region Police, we are aware of unspecified and uncorroborated information regarding venues in the GTA,” Canada’s Wonderland director of communications, Grace Peacock, said in a statement.

“Canada’s Wonderland officials are working with York Region Police and continue to take their guidance on this matter. I can confirm York Region Police are onsite, but the park is still open to guests.”

York Regional Police said community members should be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

“Public safety is our primary concern and we are working closely with our emergency service partners across the GTA as we investigate and respond to the information we have received,” York police said in a statement.

“We will be keeping the community informed through our website at yrp.ca and through our social media accounts.”

READ MORE: ‘Vehicular attacks’ a trend, Canadian intelligence report says

The Ontario premier’s office said in a statement that they are aware of the “potential threat” and are monitoring the situation closely.

“While the information is unsubstantiated, the Premier has been briefed by the Provincial Security Advisor and is actively monitoring the situation,” the statement read.

“Our officials remain in close contact with federal and municipal security partners.”

VIDEO: Toronto Police focused on ‘downtown core’ with increased officer presence

The federal government’s Ministry of Public Safety told Global News they are also monitoring the situation but as for now, it is a matter for local police.

A statement from both the RCMP and the Canadian military said they have been made aware of the situation in Toronto but are not actively involved in the operation.

“The RCMP works closely with municipal and provincial police partners and will assist as required,” RCMP Sgt. Penny Hermann said. “We have no further comment at this time as matter is under investigation by local police.”

VIDEO: Heavy police presence at Canada’s Wonderland

With files from Amanda Connolly and Nick Westoll

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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