Decision to dismantle Alexandra Park homeless encampments not influenced by film shoot: City

After an encampment eviction at Lamport Stadium turned violent, Toronto police's use of force is being called into question once again. Mark McAllister speaks with experts who say the police's tactics should be investigated.

By News staff

Two days after the City cleared homeless encampments at Alexandra Park, sparking violent clashes that resulted in multiple arrests, signs notifying the public of a film shoot at the location raised some eyebrows and had some questioning the motives behind the aggressive dismantling.

But the City of Toronto says the decision to clear the encampments wasn’t influenced by the shoot, stressing that the filming is taking place inside the nearby community centre, and not in the park being used by people experiencing homelessness.

“The production is shooting inside the community centre, not in the park,” a City spokesperson told CityNews. “The production has been there all week, prepping and have a film permit issued by the Film Office on July 15 to shoot inside the community centre.

“Neither the Film Office nor the production had any knowledge of the City’s enforcement of the trespass notice at Alexandra Park this week, nor did the City’s decision to enforce the trespass notice on Tuesday have anything to do with the film shoot. Staff involved in planning and enforcing the trespass notice had no knowledge of the film shoot or permit. In other words, neither was aware of the other.”

Tim Owen, the location manager for Y: The Last Man – the show that is shooting at the park – admits that while the optics don’t look good, the timing of their arrival was coincidence.

“I realize now that it might look like the two things are connected but they are not. In actual fact, we almost lost this location because of the police action,” he said. “It was purely accidental that the timing worked out that the police action cleared out just before we needed to get the equipment on site.”

Owen added their shoot in the park area would be wrapped up in a matter of hours.

The City says the fencing will remain in place for an undetermined amount of time due to the encampment and clean up.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected. A previous version referred to Lamport Park as the site of the film shoot.

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