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Nuisance party declared after thousands gather during Kingston, Ont. homecoming

·2 min read
Kingston Police estimate around 8,000 people had gathered on Aberdeen Street, in the Queen's University housing district, by early afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Kingston's mayor, police, and university officials had all warned students they could be fined or charged for participating in any large, illegal parties over the univerity's homecoming weekend. (Kingston police - image credit)
Kingston Police estimate around 8,000 people had gathered on Aberdeen Street, in the Queen's University housing district, by early afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Kingston's mayor, police, and university officials had all warned students they could be fined or charged for participating in any large, illegal parties over the univerity's homecoming weekend. (Kingston police - image credit)

Police in Kingston, Ont., say they will be monitoring an area near Queen's University throughout the night after an unsanctioned street party during homecoming celebrations drew thousands Saturday afternoon.

At one point mid-Saturday afternoon, Kingston Police estimated the crowds on Aberdeen Street in the university's student housing area numbered around 8,000.

The party arose, despite the city's mayor, police, and university officials warning students earlier this week not to attend large gatherings or they could be fined or charged.

Officers from both the Ontario Provincial Police and Durham Regional Police Service were brought in to assist Kingston Police throughout the weekend, while the Kingston Health Sciences Centre said it would have more emergency department staff working this weekend in case parties got out of control.

At 4 p.m., Kingston Police declared the area around Aberdeen and William streets an aggravated nuisance party, under the mayor's emergency order — a bylaw passed in 2018 giving police the authority to declare social gatherings a nuisance party.

After a number of illegal move-in weekend parties last month, the City of Kingston issued an emergency order to hike the fine — from $500 to $2,000 — for anyone who attends a gathering above the provincial limit of 25 people inside, and 100 people outside.

Party organizers can also face a $10,000 fine and a court summons for violating the Reopening Ontario Act. Kingston Police have also said they would also use video monitoring this weekend to identify individuals breaking the law.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., police said the area was clear, but that officers would remain throughout the night.

"As we've seen in the past, there has been this trend where the partygoers hang around in the afternoon and then disperse, and things are quiet for a bit and then as the night unfolds, they seem to have a tendency to congregate again," said Const. Greg Anderson, a community program's officer with Kingston Police.

"So, we're bracing for that."

Police officer injured

One officer sustained minor injuries during the incident and was taken to the Kingston General Hospital for treatment, Anderson told CBC News.

While Kingston Police didn't immediately have any information on if or how many students were charged Saturday under the aggravated nuisance party bylaw or for other offences, Anderson said there were at least "a few arrests."

Two people were also arrested for public intoxication Friday night, while 18 others were fined for having open alcohol in a public place.

Queen's University said it would be looking into misogynistic signs at certain properties in the area —which were later removed by Campus Security — and of students throwing items at police.

In a tweet, the university said it would "actively pursue" students under the school's Student Code of Conduct for those actions.

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