Members of the Hells Angels are rolling back into the Greater Toronto Area this weekend for their annual meetup, after holding an “unsanctioned” procession in Toronto yesterday.
Up to 1,000 members are expected to ride into Whitby’s Brooklin community today for the motorcycle club’s yearly national ride. The gathering is expected to take place until Sunday.
As a result, police have closed Highway 12/Baldwin Street north of Columbus Road from Friday until Sunday at 9 p.m. People should also expect to see an increased police presence in that area this weekend.
“We’re requesting that residents abide by our detour signs, avoid the area if possible and if you do face any sort of traffic congestion, to just pack your patience and try to handle it,” Durham Regional Police Sgt. Joanne Bortoluss told reporters Friday afternoon.
Police held a news conference Monday to alert the public about the large gathering and said they hope the three-day event will be “uneventful.”
Bortoluss said there are checkpoints set up in the area to ensure drivers are travelling safely.
“We’re checking for any sort of sobriety, we’re checking for people being properly classed in the license, and that’s what we’re doing,” she said.
Bortoluss added that as of Friday afternoon there have been no issues with the gathering.
“To this point nothing criminal has happened. We have no indication that anything criminal will happen. We are here because it’s a large-scale event. We’re expecting a lot of people and we’re here to ensure the safety of the public.”
The meetup comes after a large procession of up to 1,000 Hells Angels members rode from Newmarket to Toronto’s east end on Thursday.
Police alerted the public about the “unsanctioned event” a day earlier, and said they were prepared to manage traffic and ensure public safety during the gathering.
The memorial run was in honour of long-time Toronto Hells Angels member, Donny Petersen, who died at 74 of natural causes.
After departing Newmarket at around 11 a.m., the bikers rode into Toronto and parked outside a storefront on Carlaw Avenue, which is believed to be operated by the club.
A large Hells Angels procession makes its way up Carlaw Avenue in Toronto’s east end on Thursday. (Craig Wadman)
The bikers remained in the neighbourhood for several hours, and then most of them departed just before 3 p.m.
“The procession proceeded without incident, with officers present on city streets to manage traffic and ensure public safety. There were no arrests made related to this event,” Toronto Police Service spokesperson Stephanie Sayer said in a statement to CP24 Thursday afternoon.
Roads in the area were closed during the gathering but reopened ahead of schedule at around 3:30 p.m.