St. Patrick’s Day sees unprecedented crowd size, collapsed roof

Police estimate 5,000 people gathered last weekend on Aberdeen St.

The collapsed roof on St. Patrick’s Day.
The collapsed roof on St. Patrick’s Day.

This past St. Patrick’s Day, students flooded the intersection of Aberdeen and William to celebrate the Irish holiday. 

In a statement, Kingston Police said over 5,000 people attended the Mar. 17 celebrations. 

According to the statement, this year’s crowds were “far larger” than those experienced “on any previous St. Patrick’s holiday.”

In addition, officers issued 118 tickets for liquor and traffic offences and made seven arrests for public intoxication as they “worked to keep students off Aberdeen and the surrounding streets.”

Although there were multiple injuries throughout the day, Kingston Police say none were a result of an officer-student interaction. 

The day before the festivities, Kingston Police released a statement in partnership with the AMS. Here, they announced they were “joining together to call on students to act safely and responsibly” during the celebrations.

“Last Homecoming, public over-consumption of alcohol cast a shadow over the weekend’s celebrations,” the statement read. “While the vast majority of students remained safe and respectful, some intoxicated students overburdened hospitals and attempted to harm first-responders.” 

With record-breaking turnout on St. Patrick’s Day, some party-goers were injured on Saturday.

According to Kingston Police, around mid-day roughly 40 people climbed onto the roof of a detached garage behind houses on William St. As more students piled on, the roof collapsed.

Police, EMS and Fire are on scene for a roof collapse on University Ave. For your own safety and others stay off the roofs! #ygk

— Kingston Police (@KingstonPolice) March 17, 2018

Kingston Police said emergency services were called to search the garage’s interior and aid students injured in the collapse. Despite minor injuries, nobody was seriously hurt. One women scraped her leg after it was stuck under the collapsed roof.

The roof collapse was caught on video by Queen’s student Sakhia Kwemo, who told Global News, “The whole scene was kinda crazy so I took my phone out and started snapping the whole party scene going crazy.”

“The next thing is… I hear some cracking sounds and I look to my right and all I see is the roof just collapsing,” he continued.

Later, City of Kingston bylaw enforcement officers taped off the scene as a safety measure. In addition, one of the building’s back walls was propped up.

After working to disperse the crowd to a manageable level a decision was made to clear Aberdeen St. The exceptionally large crowd was effectively and safely dispersed without injury to officers or civilians. The streets around Queens University are now opened. #ygk

— Kingston Police (@KingstonPolice) March 17, 2018

Another notable incident Saturday occurred after a small boat was removed from a property on Aberdeen St. The boat was dragged away by students and passed around by the crowd. 

While it was hoisted by the crowd, local food vendor Scott Hallman captured a video of a man riding inside the boat.

Over the weekend, multiple people posted on Facebook to say the boat belonged to their landlord and requested its return. One individual posted saying the boat was, “last seen sailing south on Aberdeen St. around noon on St. Patrick’s Day. Our landlord wouldn’t mind having it back sometime soon.”

Queen’s student Mikki Barnett told The Journal the boat belonged to her landlord and it had been sitting in her backyard “the entire school year.” 

“No one gave a second thought to leaving it out, especially because nothing happened to [the boat] during Homecoming,” she said. “Around 1 p.m. [on Saturday] we saw it floating down Aberdeen from our living room window,” she continued.

“After that we didn’t hear about it or see it for a couple of days, even though we followed up on some Facebook posts about it,” Barnett wrote. 

On Monday, a student posted a photo to Facebook of the boat in the back of a pick-up truck turning onto University Ave. “Heard someone wanted their boat back,” the post read.

Although Barnett said she’s unsure of where the boat went and how it was transported, she said “sometime at the start of this week it was brought back to the backyard.”

Kingston Police were photographed Saturday attempting to keep students out of the boat after it had been dropped into the crowd.

Officers confiscate boat from crowd. Credit: Iain Sherriff-Scott


September 25, 2023

The article has been updated to reflect the proper pronouns for Sakhia Kwemo.

The Journal regrets the error


Aberdeen, boat, Kingston Police, public intoxication, roof collapse, St. Patrick's Day, tickets

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