Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





News 1993-2000


According to police report given to Councillor Pantalone: in 1993 there were 4 cases of break and enter related to the park. _____________________________________________________________________________________


July 6: Large group of Spanish youth, 20-30, mainly boys with some girls, in park, carrying baseball bats and sticks. Said they're waiting to fight another group. Park worker yelled at them and they left for Christie Pits.

July 19: $70 stolen from purse of park worker in playground. No action taken.

July 28: J., a 13-year old boy, chased another boy with a kitchen knife. Gave up knife when spoken to by park worker and promised not to repeat (already under threat of detention home).

August 13: Disturbed man shouting at children, flicking towel at women with children in park. Park user called police but was told call was not urgent because there was no weapon. [Unclear whether police came.]

Sept.15: Large park storage shed pushed over and damaged. Parks Dept. was notified.

According to police report given to Councillor Pantalone, in 1994 there were the following crimes relating to the park:

1 assault 1 sexual assault 1 assault with weapon. 1 purse snatching 1 carrying concealed weapon 1 pointing a fire arm 1 mischief 1 breaking into vending machines



April 2: Large park storage shed pushed over and damaged again. Parks maintenance was notified.

June 28: Two park drinkers stole a shopping cart full of park garden plants. Four youthful park "odd jobs" workers chased them with shovels. Drinkers threatened back with broken bottles. Chase went onto Dufferin Street in front of bus at bus stop. Broken up by park worker.

July 17: Child reported that ice cream cart seller in park playground had thrown a stone and hit him. Park worker questioned ice cream seller, who began to shout. One park user got scared and called 911. Police arrived in 5 minutes. Questioned boy. Tracked down ice cream seller and questioned him. No charges laid.

According to police report given to Councillor Pantalone, in 1995 there were the following crimes relating to the park: 1 armed robbery 1 theft under $1000 1 mischief 1 assault ---


Aug.1: J. S. stole park staff member's purse and distributed money to four friends in front of elderly witness. Report was made to police. Detective took statement from witness but case could not go on because witness was afraid to testify. Attempts by park staff to talk to J.S.'s family or workers involved with him did not come to anything. Community person and park staff asked police if it would be possible to have a meeting with J. S. and people who knew him, and with a police officer present. Staff Sgt. Alfonso wrote explaining that police could not be present at a meeting where a youth suspected of a crime would be encouraged to admit his guilt.

Middle of September: group of 6-8 older youth burning park equipment in playground area around 11 p.m. Challenged by a dog walker. They threatened him. The dog walker went away and got four other dog walkers in park and returned to fire site -- one Rottweiler, one German shepherd, three smaller breeds. Dog walkers were able to persuade group to extinguish fire and leave the park peacefully.

Sept.28: 1.30 a.m. break-in at rink house observed by Intelligarde security guard from Dufferin Mall. He hailed passing police cruiser. Police arrested juvenile and also interviewed other youths set up in drinking party behind rink house. Picnic tables overturned, oven roof damaged, gardens vandalized. Youth charged with possession of stolen property and damage to rink house door. Other youths not charged or ticketed for drinking. Park manager was called to identify stolen property.

Park manager requested names of others found at drinking site so trespass letters could be issued because of vandalism. Police said they could not release names. Park manager requested notification of court date so his department could speak to judge about impact and sentencing. This was not possible because youth unexpectedly pleaded guilty. Sentence appears to have been a small number of hours of community service. No follow-up possible.

Dec.1: Five youths verbally abused female rink guard. Refused to leave when requested. Park manager came and ordered them to leave building. They waited outside the door until the end of rink guard's shift. She was escorted out and driven home by another staff member.

Dec.10: Two youths, J. S. and N. F., threatening other boy at rink, refused to leave when staff ordered them off the premises. Police were called. Arrived in 10 minutes but youth had left. Trespass letters issued to J. S. and N. F.

Dec.14: answering machine stolen from rink office. Police took report the next day. Decision made to reduce climate of intimidation at rink. Park manager arranged for services of security company, Intelligarde. ______________________________________________________________________________________


Jan.5: threatening phone call made to rink. Man called saying his son had been hurt at the rink and racist comments had been made against his son by rink staff. He said he was coming over later with friends to get even.

Jan.6: Turned out that the same caller was calling all the rinks with the same threat.

Jan.15: J. S. came to rink and shot off realistic-looking cap gun. Left when told to leave; shot off cap gun in the park and at passers-by.

Jan.17: J. S. and friends came to rink again with two cap guns. Intelligarde was called. Youth left and headed over to Dufferin Mall. Intelligarde tried to find them there but unsuccessful. Intelligarde advised staff to call police, which they did.

Jan.25: J. S. came to rink and refused to leave. Staff called police. They came and J. said he wanted to talk to park supervisor, so police took his word that he would seek an interview with the supervisor. Existence of trespass letter not taken into account.

Jan.28: Rink user objected to rink schedule and argued and swore at female rink staff. Refused to leave until staff called Intelligarde. He left before they came. Later in evening 4 male and 2 female youth came into building and began to throw games around. Were told to leave and refused. Intelligarde called and brought a dog. Escorted group out of the building. This group did not return.

Jan.31: Assault in park reported by 13 year old girl. Said she was harrassed and punched by someone in a group of 6 older male teens. Police officer left his name and phone number in case rink staff heard anything. But they never heard anything more.

Early February: frequent anonymous calls asking for one of the rink staff's schedule, sometimes threatening in tone. One evening in the middle of the month a "sting" was set up -- unknown to any staff other than the one receiving the calls. Five undercover police arrested a middle-aged man and some youths as they entered the rink to meet with rink staff person. Charge of extortion.

Feb.17: Older brother of J. S. -- S. S. -- caught fiddling with front door lock with odd-looking tool. Told to leave and refused. Intelligarde called. S.S. left and call was cancelled.

Feb.20: S.S. came into rink house. Staff person was distracted in other room. Her purse vanished from the office and so did S.S.. Report made to police. Wallet i.d. found at McCormick Recreation Centre two days later.

Feb.27: S.S. came into rink house. Only one staff in building. When staff turned her back the park change container was gone. She saw S.S. run into the men's washroom, chased him out. Full change container found in bathroom wastebasket. S.S. barred from rink after that.

March 28: Twenty of the park's light standards were wrecked on a Saturday night. One neighbour heard noise but didn't call police because she felt they would not come. Damage reported to police by Parks Department.

May 28: Neighbour reported seeing a basketball court fight which seemed to him to involve a drug debt. Park staff called community response and they said they would send some regular bike patrols.

May 30: Two police officers walking around park issuing tickets.

June 14: Two men and two women drinking and making a disturbance beside basketball court (Saturday afternoon). Offering beer to children and cursing staff for interference. Community Response unable to respond because of Benson and Hedges Festival of Lights duty. Regular Fourteen Division cruiser came after an hour, but drinkers had left twenty minutes before. Large group of youth witnessed the behaviour.

June 23: Drinking fountain by field house smashed. In the evening five bicycle police went through park and talked to people.

July 7: Two police cruisers in park, asking youth for i.d. Park user told staff she had asked police what they were doing and they said they were looking for a lost dog.

July 8: 2.p.m. police van in park. Officers talking to four youth.

July 10: 1 p.m. police cruiser in park checking i.d. and talking to some youth who were smoking marihuana.

July 20: 12 noon, police van in park.

July 22: evening -- a fight broke out on the basketball court while a theatre performance was going on next to it. Fight was stopped by friends of the fighters. They told the fighters "we don't fight at this park."

July 26: Caribana fund raiser at tennis courts. Many neighbourhood complaints about volume of music. Police came at 11 p.m. and asked them to turn it down.

August 11: Police van in park twice in morning.

August 12: Police cruiser in park twice in late morning. Note that officers in these vehicles never stop to talk with park staff.

August 22: J. S. and four youths did realistic mock gang rape of a female friend in front of summer camp children. Police were called and arrived in 10 minutes, but youths were gone.

Sept.29: J. S. in park playground with friends. Neighbourhood dog walker accompanied staff to playground with his German shepherd dog. J. left park.

Oct.15: Park staff came to rink house in early evening to find two youths inside having a party. Stolen keys on table. Youths ran out of building. Building a big mess showing food fight and minor vandalism. Stove on high setting with food burned right onto burner. Locks changed the next morning. Youths not identified.

Nov.7: youths made campfire in fire circle in evening. Two fire trucks and one police cruiser came to put it out.

Nov.17: meeting at Fourteen Division: park manager, one park staff and one community person went to talk to Supt.Cowling and Staff Sgt. Mark Alfonso. Subject: 1)vandalism and 2) getting to know community police and police getting to know staff and park. Supt. Cowling proposed setting up separate meetings with the 10 officers who work the park.

Nov.18: first meeting. Park manager, two park staff and one community person met for 30 minutes at park with "B" group from Community Response.

Nov.19: fight between large group of St.Mary's students beside rink house. One girl injured. Park staff and other students broke it up. School notified.

Nov.21: Park manager, two park staff and one community person waiting for "E" group for scheduled meeting. No call and no show.

Nov.26: One officer from group "C" came to scheduled meeting, 20 minutes.

Nov.28: Rink user verbally abusive to staff because he didn't like rink schedule. Refused to give name. Police called but rink user left and call was cancelled.

Dec.1: Rink user called police reporting five youths armed with sticks near rink house. Four cruisers came. Police did not come into building so rink staff unaware of outcome.

Dec.2: Three youths verbally abused rink users and female staff. Refused to leave when asked, refused to give their names. Police called. Two youths left quickly because of prior probation problems, then police arrived and spoke to third youth, who was still arguing with female staff. Police got his name for rink staff. Letter of trespass issued the next day. None of the three came again that year.

Dec.3: Group "E" from Community Response dropped by unexpectedly in the morning. Rink manager and community person who wanted to meet with them were not on premises.

Dec.6: Rink user angry and abusive to staff about shinny schedule. Threatened two staff. Police called but rink user had left when they came.

Dec.17: Group "E" changed scheduled meeting with rink manager, staff, community people from afternoon to evening. No call and no show at meeting time. Arrived half an hour later but meeting participants had gone.

Dec.22: Two Community Response police at rink house looking for a meeting with Animal Control. Rink staff unaware of meeting, so could not help. _____________________________________________________________________________________


Jan.7: Evidence of car gone through iron park fence. Fence down, much window glass on ground.

Feb.1: Padlock to ice surface broken open, wine bottles and cups on shinny rink. Senior from apartment building said he had called police at 3.30 a.m. because of noise on rink, but police told him they were unable to come.

Feb.11: Two bicycle police came by rink to say hello and chat with users.

Feb.16: Five unknown youths came into rink and four kept rink staff busy while one broke into pop machine. Youth left building before they could be held back. Police notified.

March 27: Police in park at 9.30 a.m. ticketing youths who were drinking.

April 6: Police cruiser in park at 10 a.m.

April 13: Community Response officer dropped by rink house.

May 1: Field House broken into, beer bottles, theatre storage vandalized, tools stolen. Damage and theft over $1000. Police took report.

May 4: Woman on bicycle rammed woman walking through park, then beat her up. Screams attracted attention of playground parent who called 911 and went to help. Two police cruisers came to park. Attacker was arrested (seemed disturbed and delusional). Victim went home.

June 8: 10.30 p.m. Police van and three police on bicycles taking i.d. of homeless family in park.

June 11: Two large groups (about 20) on basketball court, threatening each other, plus one by field house. Park staff unsuccessful in breaking it up. Appeared to be escalating when staff hailed a passing police car. Groups dispersed and left park.

June 16: 8 p.m. group of 10 drinkers, male and female, in playground area. Hostile response to staff when asked to quiet down and not break glass. Police called but no sign of response.

June 30: Windows in men's washroom smashed from inside.

July 15: 10 a.m. police cruiser drove through park.

July 23: Parents called police to playground because older man was sitting on bench watching children and apparently masturbating. Was asked to leave but refused. Two cruisers arrived very fast and took man away. Man comes to park occasionally, seems isolated and disturbed.

July (from the middle throughout summer): increasing drinking, cursing, and loud uncensored music on basketball court. Warnings from staff.

July 29: Police cruiser and one officer on foot in park at 11.30 a.m. Early evening: police van, five cruisers, and police on horses arrived at park. Went to site of giant puppet dress rehearsal for "Ballad of Garrison Creek" and asked to see permit. Police said they were concerned about unauthorized anarchist demonstrations. Theatre permit was shown and police left. Basketball court youth later told staff they were convinced this police show of force had been because park staff had reported them for drinking, loud music etc.

August 1: Father threatened young daughter with a knife at pool "as a joke." Left before staff could think what to do. No report made, but staff very upset.

August 4: Maria, regular park user, shouting at and threatening two women passing out religious pamphlets. They left the park and she left.

August 6: Man threw things at and into outdoor bake oven fire, menaced staff with park rake he found. Seemed disturbed and not well controlled. Left park before staff could decide whether to call for help.

August 18: Staff Sgt. Bob Guglick in meeting with park manager and rink staff.

August 28: 4 p.m., group drinking beer and wine and playing loud uncensored music with violent and racist lyrics beside outdoor oven. Ignored staff's requests to stop music and drinking. 7.30 p.m. another group drinking by basketball court. Park manager and park staff warned that basketball lights would be turned off if behaviour didn't stop. No response, so lights turned off.

Sept.1: Loud uncensored music and drinking at basketball court. No cooperation with park staff.

August-September, various occasions: Group of 5-15 youths set up a regular hang-out in front of St.Mary's school, across the street from the park, at night. Several of them verbally harassing passersby including community person involved with park (Jutta Mason). One youth, J.P., began going out of his way to curse Jutta on her way to and from the park. Jutta contacted an older youth of the group and told him she would arrange for trespass letters from school principal (principal was keen) and from parks department against J.P. and others for being abusive and publicly drinking. Older youth suggested an alternative: said he would ensure that there was no more verbal abuse of passers-by and particularly J.P. would not again say another word to Jutta. This was agreed to and no more action was necessary.

Sept.28: Rink house safe-room broken into and $600 in bills plus more in change stolen (community kitchen money for groceries). Staff discovered rink house front door key missing but no safe-room key was missing. Appears that lock was picked. Police came and dusted screwdriver found on floor but were unable to get prints. Lock changed to safe-room to a higher-security lock. Resolution to keep less cash on premises.

Sept.30: J. S. discovered with missing Dufferin rink house front door key, trying it on door of McCormick Rec.Centre. Told staff he "found it on the ground."

Oct.30: Two groups of youths in park in evening, drinking heavily. Spoken to by neighbours of the park. Later fire department came to put out fire in compost box by rink house. Neighbours saw ten-foot flames. No follow-up.

Nov.15: Park manager was called by police at 2.30 a.m. to open rink house garage. Another fire, of some hay and construction materials outside of garage -- might have spread to inside; firemen wanted keys to check inside. No inside problems. No follow-up.

Nov.27: First week of rink. Arrival of known problem youth, "J.P." at rink house. Later, locker discovered broken into and shoes, jacket, car keys gone. Report made to police.

Dec.5: Rink odd jobs worker got in an argument with rink user (old argument from school). Ten minutes later large (15-20) group of Latino youth arrived at other side of rink to support their friend. Abusive to staff when asked to leave. Staff hailed police cruiser driving by and group dispersed.

Dec.15: Two older youths apparently trying to extort money from younger schoolchildren skating during their lunch. Youths left when challenged. School notified. ____________________________________________________________________________________

1999: April 12: bread oven had fire lit by staff late in afternoon, for next day baking. At 10.30p.m. community person came to close oven after fire was burned down, but found that garden fence had been used as firewood for a party. Resolved not to leave bread oven unattended in future.

April 14: Large group of new youths on basketball court in evening. Drinking, shouting, play-fighting. One white youth was screaming in a mock beating. Youths came to bread oven and climbed on it. Demanded firewood from volunteer gardener and said it was their right to burn up park fence two nights before because park staff should have set out firewood for them. Several youths appeared to be under the influence of stronger-than-usual (for this park) drugs. Volunteer gardener told them they better leave. After some delay they went over to the mall. Mall security was called; said they are a new group and they'd been keeping an eye on them.

End of April, beginning of May: Unusually large groups of youth in park. Unusual numbers of pit bulls and cell phones. "Firewood group" (from April 12) moved off basketball court and near field house as regular group of basketball users returned after the winter. Evidence of conversations back and forth between groups. Then "firewood group" was not seen again the rest of the summer.

May 23: Volunteer gardener weeding on Sunday afternoon. Cursing and loud anti-white lecture being given by man, called Trevor or "Musclehead," on basketball court. Two young women walked by and lecture changed to loud cursing of these women. Curses continues until women walked out the other end of the park. Volunteer went to ask him to stop talking like that, but that set him off at her and at racism. His friends asked her to leave because they could not control him. Police were called. No sign of police by the time volunteer left.

May 26: fight on basketball court. Youth chasing another youth with a machete. Staff yelled at them and they fled. Police were called. Officer informed park staff that it's not illegal to carry a machete. Youth later returned and told a park staff that it was an unimportant argument among friends.

May 28: three undercover police at basketball court, apparently to lay drug charges. One youth flipped a police officer. Mace was used to subdue youth. Youth who threw down officer had his head banged on tree by police. Audience on basketball court protested youth's innocence, “he didn’t do anything.”. Community person asked basketball court audience "how do you know he didn't do anything?" Trevor "Musclehead" called her racist and said he hoped she would soon break her neck in an accident. Ambulance came to give first aid to officer after he was accidentally sprayed in the eyes with mace. Three youths taken away in cruisers.

June 4: loud uncensored music, drinking at basketball court. Warning given that lights would be turned off if music didn't stop. Music went on so lights were turned off. Drinking parties in the dark in two locations.

June 5: uncensored loud music again, park bench damaged and broken glass on ground so lights turned off again.

June 6: No loud music, so lights were left on.

June 7: Park manager came to turn off circuit breaker to basketball post so no radio could be plugged in to post outlet any more. Two youth with alcohol on their breath came and argued with rink staff, saying their rights were being violated because of power cut. Rink staff locked building because of tone of intimidation. Later one youth came in for first aid, cut in three places and bleeding. He said another youth had cut him with a broken bottle but he refused to go for stitches or notify police. Youths left park.

June 9: "Friends of Dufferin Grove Park" memo posted in park and letter sent to politicians about the need for more help.

June 10: Regent park staff supervisor Lucky Boothe came to help park staff talk to basketball youth. Two youths were rolling marijuana joints in front of staff and waving them around. Long shouting match, with some youth saying they have a right to drink, play music, and smoke weed because they're citizens. Some youths said this was wrong. Trevor "Musclehead" walked by and urged youth not to talk to staff at all.

June 15. Park quieter. Youths said they don't argue with Trevor "Musclehead" because he could beat up three of them.

June 23: police cruisers and undercover officers in park around 9.30 p.m.

July 12: Staff Sgt. Bob Guglick contacted park staff and community person to say there would be a much greater police presence in the park. From then throughout the summer and early fall there were almost daily visits by police, also in the evening. Usually just asking youth for i.d. Arrested semi-homeless person, Mike, known to park staff, because regular park user Maria, also known to park staff, said he had uttered a death threat. Park staff tried to find out what happened to him, but were unsuccessful. It turned out he spent 43 days at Quinte prison. He told park staff afterwards that he chose to plead guilty so he wouldn't be in Don Jail even longer, but he said he never uttered such a threat. Police also arrested homeless person Mimo, who says he's Jesus, for possession of suspected stolen C.D.'s.

July 26: Youths drinking in two locations near theatre rehearsal. One youth very disruptive to park staff and actors. Threats made to community person. Police were called. Police were called again after half an hour. Arrived one hour and fifteen minutes after first call. Community person and abusive person had both left park. Tickets given to a different group of drinkers elsewhere in the park. Councillor was called because of frustrating delay when help was sought.

August-September: youth much quieter, almost no evidence of public drinking or abusive behaviour.

Nov.13: large (8-12) group of older youth seen in playground area around midnight, shouting and breaking up playground and garden equipment. Threatened to beat up a neighbourhood resident who confronted them. Police were called and cruiser was in park ten minutes later as group was leaving park. One youth apprehended on Bloor Street. Youth was not charged until inquiry was made by witness several weeks later. Statement taken and charge laid but no more information about what's next. Park manager sought to explore possible diversion if youth intends to plead guilty, to negotiate apology and restitution. Park manager's inquiries to police on this subject had not been returned a month later.

Nov.23: Dog walker spoke to 5 youths on basketball court about urinating in full view and about cruelty to their pit bull puppy. Youths replied they had to be cruel to train their dog to be mean and protect them. Dog walker said she didn't want vicious dogs in the park. One youth cursed her and spat at her feet. Dog walker called police. No response after half an hour. Youths left and dog walker cancelled call to police.

Dec.18-Jan.23: No reasons to call police since rink has had no incidents this rink season.

Content last modified on June 03, 2008, at 06:05 PM EST