Police issue tickets for ‘unsanctioned’ downtown Peterborough parade

A Peterborough police officer watches parade of an unsanctioned parade on George St. on Saturday night. Harrison Perkins/Special to Global News Peterborough

Peterborough police say an “unsanctioned parade” in the city’s downtown Saturday night led to more than a dozen Highway Traffic Act tickets being issued while they investigate possible criminal offences.

The City of Peterborough and Peterborough Police Service last week stated the event advertised as the “Miracle on George St. Christmas Parade” was not endorsed as organizers did not apply or receive the necessary permits or permissions needed for a parade on a city street.

The city and police called unsanctioned parades “dangerous,” noting such events require extensive planning alongside police, fire, public works and transportation divisions and require insurance coverage.

Read more: Unsanctioned parades are unsafe, say Peterborough Police

George Street was not officially closed Saturday night for the procession which began at 5 p.m.

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“Since the roadway is not officially closed, all persons on it will be required to abide by the rules therein, and violations will be investigated and followed up on appropriately,” the city stated last Thursday.

The parade, organized by a group calling itself Peterborough United, which is publicly known for opposing COVID-19 protocols, left the parking lot at Peterborough College and Vocational School, travelled down George Street and finished at Roger Neilson Way where it was met by Peterborough Police Service officers who issued tickets.

Parade highlights:

Click to play video: '‘Unsanctioned’ parade held in downtown Peterborough' ‘Unsanctioned’ parade held in downtown Peterborough
‘Unsanctioned’ parade held in downtown Peterborough – Dec 13, 2021

Police said “over a dozen” HTA charges were laid, including for commercial motor vehicle violations. Global News Peterborough has requested further details on the tickets.

“Further HTA charges are under investigation and pending, and it’s expected more will be laid,” police said Sunday afternoon. “Peterborough Police are also investigating some criminal offences as a result of the event and will report further if charges are laid.”

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No injuries were reported.

Flyers were distributed on vehicles in the parking lot of Lansdowne Place mall on Friday promoting the parade. Jessica Nyznik/Global News Peterborough

Traffic was open to one laneway on George Street. Some video Global News captured shows a parade bystander who approached a travelling car on the street and nearly struck it, leading to a short verbal clash between the driver and bystander.

“The Peterborough Police Service would again like to remind the public that unsanctioned events such as this have a high probability for personal injury and property damage, and a police response is not an endorsement, but a commitment to public safety,” police said.

Traditionally, the Kinsmen Club of Peterborough hosts an annual Santa Claus parade on George Street. However, for the second year in the row, organizers cancelled the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a Facebook post, Tyler Berry, one of the procession’s organizers, called the event “an unforgettable evening,” and said the police “ruined” what “could have been a very peaceful protest.”

In other videos he berated officers, calling the event a “protest,” while questioning some of HTA offences laid, such as unsafe driving.

— More to come.


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