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Concrete barriers and police: the new norm at Distillery Christmas market

Last Updated Nov 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm EDT

Concrete barricades protect the entrance to Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District on Dec. 16, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

The Toronto Christmas Market opened in the Distillery District on Thursday and visitors will notice more than just a European feel to this popular holiday destination.

Security measures have been tweaked in the wake of recent attacks where vehicles have been used as weapons and driven through pedestrian areas.

Dozens of people have been killed in recent years in terrorist attacks where the assailants drove vehicles into crowds. In 2016, a 24-year-old Tunisian man drove into a crowd at the Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring more than 50, Last month, eight people were killed and 11 injured, when a truck drove onto a New York City bike path.

The market’s creator says the extra precautions won’t impact the user experience.

“The safety installations that we’ve put in place are really not that visible,” said Matthew Rosenblatt. “So, we hope that they certainly do act as a deterrent, but they’re not going to take away any of the market’s magic.”

Rosenblatt wouldn’t go into too many details but added that the concrete barricades at the entrances should prevent or at least slow down any vehicle.

“We think it’s a safe place. Toronto and Canada is one of the safest places in the world. We’ve done what we think is appropriate to protect the people here,” said Rosenblatt.

Toronto police would only say they have met with market officials and developed a site safety plan.