A small group of anti-maskers were met by police when they tried to stage an unmasked “shopping event” at a Canadian Tire store in the Junction district on June 16.
They also prompted outrage on social media when they promoted the event.
The incident at Canadian Tire at 2192 St.Clair Ave. W. was one of several demonstrations at Toronto stores on the eve of the major snow storm that hit Toronto.
About 15 people heeded the call to gather at the west-end Canadian Tire and enter without wearing masks, in contravention of current public health protocols.
But they didn’t get far as police officers were stationed in and around the entrance of the store preemptively.
Videos have circulated since then, showing officers blocking entrance turnstiles inside the store while maskless individuals tried to enter.
On Twitter Caryma Sa’d, identified as a “lawyer and political commentator,” uploaded multiple minute-long videos of unmasked demonstrators attempting entry into the store and elsewhere.
🧵Police were ready at the front entrance of Canadian Tire on St. Clair to prevent a group of maskless people from entering the store.
The same IG page promoting this “event” also had a flyer for maskless shopping at Costco, which ended in at least one arrest & a viral video. pic.twitter.com/hctS9jQVwO
— Caryma Sa’d – Lawyer + Political Commentator (@CarymaRules) January 17, 2022
As seen in videos, the anti-maskers argued with police and store staff but did not try to force their way in.
Dozens of responses on social media were almost all negative.
“Police resources used up on anti maskers, stop wasting our resources and stage elsewhere,” one said. “Help your friends with your pro urine intake or ivermectin drug, your friends are clogging up ICU and our ventilators and actual science-based health care system.”
Another ridiculed the demonstrators’ excuse that they could enter the store mask-free because they had a medical exemption: “They all have a medical exemption? Interesting … at least try and make it believable.”
At the store the demonstrators were given other options to cooperate with the store’s mandatory mask policy. A store associate, possibly a manager of the store, can even be heard telling the would-be shoppers, “You can go outside and order online. You’ve got a phone, order online.”
Scuffle in Etobicoke
Also this week, police responded to a Costco Wholesale in Etobicoke after a male had refused to wear a mask.
A scuffle broke out at the store at 50 Queen Elizabeth Blvd. on June 15.
According to Efron Monsanto, who was recording the event, the male claimed to have a preexisting health condition which exempted him from wearing a mask.
The claims are unconfirmed, with the video only showing just under two minutes of the scuffle between the male and several police officers.
Customer in an Etobicoke Costco is arrested and hauled away by cops for not wearing a mask despite having a medical exemption.
Allegedly one of the managers of the store is detaining the man alongside police.
It’s for your health. pic.twitter.com/dvI3jo2oeU
— Efron Monsanto 🇨🇦 (@realmonsanto) January 15, 2022
After the Canadian Tire encounter on Jan. 16, some of the protesters reportedly moved over to a nearby Beer Store where they were rebuffed again, this time by staff without police aid.
It is unclear whether charges have been laid in any of these cases.
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