Toronto Is Looking To Hire Private Security Guards To Patrol Some Parks & Stop Encampments

Trinity Bellwoods is one of them.

Toronto Associate Editor
Police presence at a homeless encampment site in 2021.

Police presence at a homeless encampment site in 2021.

There's a chance you might see a private security guard patrolling one of Toronto's public parks this summer.

Brad Ross, chief communications officer for the City of Toronto, shared in an emailed statement to Narcity that the City has issued a request for proposals for contracted security services to walk the parks to make sure the green space is "fully accessible and safe," and to prevent a "repeat of large encampments being established."

The private security guards would patrol a handful of parks like Trinity Bellwoods Park, Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium Park, which are the same spots the City cleared out last summer. Dufferin Grove will also see patrols, and two mobile teams will visit Moss Park and Barbara Hall Park.

"It is unsafe, illegal and unhealthy to camp in City parks," Ross said.

If a contracted security guard sees a tent or other structure set up in one of the parks, Ross said they will "contact the City immediately and Streets to Homes teams will quickly engage with encampment occupants, offering services and safe indoor accommodation."

How much this service will cost will be determined when the contract is awarded for the request for proposals.

Last September, it was revealed that the City had spent almost $2 million to clear out encampment sites, which included fencing, staffing and landscaping costs. Tons of security guards and officers were deployed, and there were violent clashes between protesters and police that led to several arrests.

Per CBC News, the number of security guards hasn't been figured out yet but Ross estimated "one or two at least," and said they will patrol the parks 24 hours a day every day of the week.

Ross told Narcity that the City is investing over $500 million in affordable housing, which also includes supportive housing in an effort to end homelessness in Toronto.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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