Kingston police shut down streets due to Queen’s homecoming revelry

Click to play video: 'Queen’s homecoming brings mass crowds and shuts down streets' Queen’s homecoming brings mass crowds and shuts down streets
110 front line officers called in to handle Queen's homecoming party on Saturday. Police use City of Kingston dump trucks as barricades on Aberdeen St. – Oct 19, 2019

A group of Queen’s University students, many of whom were intoxicated, forced Kingston Police to parts of the university district a Nuisance Party.


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On Saturday afternoon, thousands of students could be seen pouring onto the streets, hanging off of front balconies, and sitting atop roofs.

Since 1926, Queen’s alumni and students have come together on-campus for homecoming. In recent years the weekend has been marred by excessive partying, and this year was no different.

Police designated Aberdeen St. from Johnson St. to Earl. St. and other areas of the university district, a Nuisance Party.

The designation is part of a city bylaw to regulate nuisance parties within Kingston. How it works is that if you are charged for not obeying by the bylaw, you will be required to appear in a Kingston courtroom, regardless of where you live, and you will not have the option to settle the charge by mail, phone, or online.

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Global News spoke to more than a dozen students on Saturday, and each of them said that partying is a reason why they’re at Queen’s and that it’s part of the school’s tradition.

“You come here [Queen’s University], and you’re working really hard to do well and get places in the future, and this is a way to blow off steam, and these cops come by and damper that,” said Sasha Milosevic, a 2nd-year student at Queen’s.
Click to play video: 'Kingston police and campus pub prepare for homecoming' Kingston police and campus pub prepare for homecoming
Kingston police and campus pub prepare for homecoming – Oct 18, 2019

Kingston police said they assigned 110 front line officers for homecoming. The fleet patrolled the streets while using tools, such as several City of Kingston dump trucks, as barricades to contain students on Aberdeen St.

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Homecoming weekend is intended to bring alumni back to campus to engage with former classmates and those that came before or after them.  Global News asked some alumni about the current homecoming and how it differs from the ones they remember from when they were students, and they each said it’s more tame now.

“It was crazier back then because we hadn’t figured out the safety thing yet,” aid Stu Bridgeman, a Queen’s 1973 Alumni.

“We were doing all kinds of insane things that we wouldn’t be allowed to do today,”

“You couldn’t move in the streets when we were here,” said Sperry Bilyea, a Queen’s 1994 alumni.

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Their message was echoed by 100-year-old Shirley Purkis, who graduated from Queen’s in 1941.

“Oh yes, we did have parties here, but they were in Grant Hall,” said Shirley Purkis.

Even though the partying can be reckless, Purkis says that some of her best memories came from her time at Queen’s and hopes each current student is safe and enjoys their time while at the school.

According to Queen’s, over 3,000 alumni were expected to attend the 2019 homecoming.

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