Ottawa police, bylaw prepare for Panda Game following last year’s post-game street party

Ottawa police are vowing to take a zero tolerance approach for public disorder during Panda Game festivities this year, after last year’s post-game celebrations saw thousands of people attend a street party in Sandy Hill and damage to property.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens will meet in the 53rd Panda Game Saturday at TD Place.  The game is officially sold out.

Hours after the Gee-Gees won last year’s game, approximately 2,000 people packed a residential street in Sandy Hill to celebrate the victory. During the celebrations, police said a car was overturned, properties were damaged and one person was assaulted, while paramedics said seven people were transported to hospital.

Eight people were charged with mischief, and two people were charged with taking part in a riot.

With the events of last year still fresh in residents’ minds, Ottawa police and Bylaw Services officers have been going door-to-door in the Sandy Hill/ByWard Market area to speak with residents and businesses about police plans for the day, and to speak with students about possible festivities.

“We’ve been doing some outreach in the community with our team of police liaison officers,” Const. Seb. Lemay told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Patricia Boal.

“They’ve been canvassing the neighbourhood; liaising with the community members and hearing their concerns, and obviously identifying some addresses which might be problematic, which we will be monitoring. As well as some visits have been made in terms of education and warning that there will be zero tolerance over this weekend for any infractions.”

Lemay says police have been meeting with community groups and representatives of Carleton University and the University of Ottawa to discuss plans for the Panda Game.

Ottawa police interim chief Steve Bell told the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday that police and bylaw will have a “significant and sustained presence” in the ByWard Market, Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South this weekend for the Panda Game.

“We’re aware of several addresses that have previously raised concerns and we’ll monitor them,” Bell said.

Lemay tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that police do not want to ruin students fun, and the “goal is to ensure public safety for everyone.”

“As we’ve said, our presence from the Ottawa Police Service prospective will be robust and that will be through the weekend, obviously starting on Friday with some parties that might start the day before,” Lemay said Wednesday.

“We want people to have fun, but we just want them to do so in a respectful manner of, again, their neighbours in a lawful way and in a way that’s safe for them as well.”

TD Place has announced rules and a Fan Code of Conduct for Saturday’s game. The rules include:

  • One drink per purchase per person
  • No Bags or Umbrellas
  • No Re-Entry into TD Place
  • Zero Tolerance for Intoxication or Harmful Behaviour

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