Toronto braces for Freedom Convoy demonstrations

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Toronto is preparing for the arrival of its own ‘Freedom Convoy’ against pandemic-related restrictions as protesters announce plans to head to the downtown core on Saturday.

Posts on social media suggest the Convoy for Freedom Toronto will meet up in one of seven locations, mostly shopping malls, before driving to Queen’s Park at noon.

Convoy for Freedom
Convoys such as the ones that traveled through the GTA and surrounding areas last week are scheduled to converge on Queen’s Park this Saturday. (Photo: John G. Smith)

“I want to be absolutely clear that I support Toronto Police taking necessary action to prepare for this protest with a focus on doing everything they can to protect the safety of Toronto residents and businesses and to minimize any disruptions to Toronto residents and businesses as much as possible,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

Any protests around Queen’s Park can’t be allowed to block access to nearby hospitals, he added, referring to surrounding streets widely known as Hospital Row.

Toronto Police Service says it is speaking with organizers to limit such disruptions.

“The safety of the public is vital and emergency access routes to hospitals will be protected,” it said in a related statement. “Patients and healthcare workers must be able to get to hospitals, and this remains a priority for police. Anyone who attempts to disrupt hospital or emergency operations will be subject to enforcement.”

Ottawa charges

Tory is looking to avoid disruptions seen in Ottawa, where trucks and protesters have been blocking city streets and blasting horns since last weekend.

Ottawa police issued 30 traffic tickets on Wednesday, including one criminal charge for driving while criminally prohibited. Cruisers there are using automatic license plate readers to identify infractions such as stolen plates and suspended drivers.

The Toronto convoys are also planned on the first weekend when many Ontario businesses will be allowed to re-open following pandemic-related lockdowns linked to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“The notion that any protest would keep these businesses – hit hard by the pandemic – from being open or drive customers away is unacceptable,” Tory said.

GoFundMe suspends convoy campaign

GoFundMe has also officially suspended a fundraising campaign for Freedom Convoy 2022, which has raised more than $10 million for the Ottawa protests and convoys.

“This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations. Our team is working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors,” it said in an online notice.

That campaign has promised to help cover the cost of food, fuel and shelter for protesting truckers.

While the timing of the convoys coincided with Canada’s decision to impose a vaccine mandate on border-crossing truck drivers, protesters have been fighting every manner of pandemic-related health restrictions and the federal government.

  • This story has been updated to include comments from Toronto Police.
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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • The hill magazine in Ottawa did a letter about issues facing truckers. A lot of support from owner/ lease ops and drivers and former truck drivers
    My phone has not stopped ringing with support from farmers who also own a truck or farm workers. I do not see the people who want the protesters to go away even trying to work on any of the issues.

  • I get such a kick out of how all these leaders emphasize emergency routes to hospitals. Protestors have worked with the police from day on ensuring passage way. Then you, John Smith, go on to bring up any possible negative thing you can about the protest – and its all lies. 30 traffic tickets? What makes you think those are related to the legitimate demonstrators? There are no businesses disrupted by the protest – if they would open up they would most likely make up for a lot of lost revenue caused by COVID mandate…all the demonstrators would support them.

    Have you been there – or would you just prefer the virtual experience that you can manipulate?

    • John G. Smith. Your as bad as the main stream media. Totally one sided. Do you enjoy your FREEDOM. You watch, it is going to come to an end. It is called communism! Why don’t you actaually do some investigation into what is really going on.

      Why don’t you support the people who you actually name your paper after.

      I am done with your with this paper.

    • No businesses disrupted? If they would open they would be busier? I think the coffee shop that had their window smashed would argue your definition of disruption. As far as being open, nearby businesses had to close when they were inundated with hoodlums (oops, sorry, I guess we call them protesters these days) refusing to wear masks or social distance. Not one of the comments on this magazine site by the supporters since this mess started has contained any actual verifiable fact, just denials and accusations., so don’t be shocked when your heavy-handed side of the argument is brought into question, as it deserves to be.

  • You would think that a publication related to trucks and trucking concerns would be a little more sympathetic and supportive to the cause and not covertly subversive to it, with the tone and tenor of the legacy media. Shame on you. This has united millions of Canadians, from every walk of life, in a peaceful and respectful discourse regarding the freedom’s on which this country was founded and should be upheld. Regardless of your position on vaccines and or masks, every one of should be concerned about the abuse of power demonstrated by virtually every politician and civil servant, elected or not, in the last two years and that is clearly what this convoy and the ones that are being organized here and around the world, are about.

  • Go fund me has released funds,they are working with the lawyers and accountant to disperse the monies to the drivers. Get your information straight before reporting. Msm is doing the same. Why don’t you go to ottawa and report the actual news.

  • BRAVO TRUCKERS!!!! we love you … we have your back…
    thank you so much for your fight for our rights & freedoms

  • I wish them luck. But a dictatorship gov, wont step down by civilized movements.
    They are armed with money, power, resources, traitors, guns and prisons, technology, psychology znd knowledge.
    They are patient.

    Soon truckers and people get tiered and leave.
    Then it comes the division.
    Now all the opposition groups , been recognised by cameras and gradually will be dissolved out.
    I am from Iran, and lived dictatorship and crimes

  • you do not know what you are talking about blessings to the truckers convoy and thank you for all your sacrifices freedom for all canadians