Rainy weather, police presence curb Aberdeen Street party

After peaking at midnight, crowd thins out without major incident

Riot police line Aberdeen Street north of William Street at about midnight.
Riot police line Aberdeen Street north of William Street at about midnight.
Kingston police make one of their 60 arrested Saturday night.
Kingston police make one of their 60 arrested Saturday night.
Applied Science alumni take in the sights at Aberdeen.
Applied Science alumni take in the sights at Aberdeen.

Heavy rain and low temperatures thinned out a relatively small Aberdeen Street crowd by 2 a.m. last night.

The crowd peaked at midnight with about 2,000 partiers on the street.

There were about 60 arrests as of 2:30 a.m.

The majority of arrests were for breach of the peace, drinking in public, obstructing police and a few related to drug activity, Kingston Police Const. Mike Menor said.

Arrestees who were detained will be released at 7:05 a.m. this morning.

One woman was taken to hospital and treated for head injuries, police said.

Kingston Police didn’t confirm how many officers were on scene.

There were officers from Toronto Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Some crowd-management officers were on horseback.

“The horses keep people moving and keep them from congregating in groups,” Menor said, adding that there were some instances of students throwing glass bottles at the horses.

Police also became a target for glass bottle throwers, he said.

“Just after midnight, there were a couple of reports of people throwing beer bottles at them,” he said. “Right after that, all the officers were informed to put their protective helmets on.” A line of police officers in riot gear formed on Aberdeen Street, keeping students off of streets and, in some cases, sidewalks. Most students stayed on their lawns before many headed indoors or towards bars in the Hub starting at about 1:30 a.m.

Sergeant Charles Boyles said he thinks the crowd broke up earlier last night than the previous year because of the rain.

He said there were fewer partiers and more police officers than last year.

“I haven’t been in fear of my safety,” he said. “I’m glad people were smart enough to go home.”

When asked if he thought the heavier police presence contributed to the street party’s early end, he paused.

“Yeah, I thought so. Did you?”

Kingston Police deputy chief Bob Napier said police were on scene to enforce laws and keep Aberdeen Street open.

“It’s up to us to make sure that the street stays open and safe, so that’s what we intend to do,” he said. “There’s no real event, so we’re hoping it stays that way.”

Menor said Kingston Police is calling the event a success.

“The chief said there wasn’t going to be a street party and he was right,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s over by any means. We may have to go through this for another couple of years until it’s a non-event.”

The increased police presence didn’t deter some people from partying on people’s lawns.

Delaware resident Gary Gosling, Sci ’84, said he treated the weekend like Homecoming.

“It’s a chance to get together—it’s our reunion,” he said.

Gosling and two former housemates attended Saturday night’s Aberdeen Street party.

“It was a nice reunion kind of Homecoming,” he said. “We got here and bumped into some other alumni, who said ‘Oh, you have to go to Aberdeen Street,” and we said ‘Oh, where’s that?” Gosling said wasn’t on students’ radar in his time because students celebrated indoors.

He said he was surprised by the number of police officers patrolling Aberdeen Street.

“I don’t remember there being a police presence here,” he said. “This is a wonderful school and their just trying to prevent trouble. I think it’s a little over the top though.”

Rebecca Tusiuk, ArtSci ’13, said she was upset by the University’s decision to cancel fall Homecoming.

“Part of it makes me feel a little bit left out. It’s our first year, I was looking forward to Homecoming so much, I’m still having fun but it’s not the same,” Tusiuk said. “It’s been going on for so long.”

Aberdeen resident Brigita Trence, PhysEd ’12 said she underestimated police presence at the unsanctioned event.

“We heard rumours, we thought something like this might happen, but we weren’t expecting this. It’s a little bit dramatic,” she said. “I guess it is effective though.”

--With files from Madison Bettle, Emily Davies, Jake Edmiston, Andrea Por and Michael Woods

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