A large procession of up to 1,000 Hells Angels members is set to roll through the city’s east end for a memorial ride Thursday morning.
Yesterday, Toronto Police said they were made aware of an “unsanctioned event” being held by the motorcycle club today, with a large group of 800 to 1,000 motorcyclists participating in a procession starting in Newmarket and ending in Toronto.
The ride is in honour of longtime Toronto Hells Angels member, Donny Peterson, who died at 74 of natural causes.
“They’re going to be heading from Newmarket over to Highway 404 travelling southbound into Toronto. We expect between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. up to 1,000 participants will be meeting in this area. It’s going to be at the Harry Walker Parkway South and Davis Drive area,” York Regional Police Const. Amy Boudreau told CP24 Thursday morning.
There will be road closures in the area of Leslie Street and Davis Drive until the procession leaves for Toronto.
Police are asking Newmarket residents to avoid the area this morning.
“There’s going to be delays in the area. Only local traffic will be facilitated with police. So if you do have to attend the area, if you do work in the area, again, police will be in the area to assist you to reach your destination safely,” Boudreau said.
After departing Newmarket, police said the procession is expected to head south on the Don Valley Parkway before heading east on Lake Shore Boulevard East, and then north on Carlaw Avenue.
“This procession will inevitably cause traffic disruption in our city. We’re working with other police services, including the OPP and York Regional Police, to manage traffic and to ensure public safety during this procession,” Toronto Police Supt. Scott Baptiste told reporters on Wednesday.
Drivers should expect traffic disruptions along the aforementioned roads from 11 a.m. to noon and from 5 to 6 p.m.
Traffic delays and road closures are also expected in the area of Carlaw and Eastern avenues starting at 11 a.m.
Baptiste said residents in Leslieville can expect increased police presence this afternoon.
“As with any large gathering in our city, TPS will have visible resources in the area to ensure public safety and to minimize disruption and manage traffic issues,” Baptiste said.
People are being advised to check social media for any updates on the procession.
Today’s gathering is expected to finish at approximately 7 p.m.
This weekend, as many as 1,000 Hells Angels members are expected to gather for for the club’s national motorcycle run in Whitby.
With files from CP24’s Joanna Lavoie