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Panda game: Ottawa police are urging people to leave Sandy Hill following a panda game


Ottawa police officers moved to disperse crowds on residential streets in Sandy Hill and urged partygoers to go home Saturday night as thousands of students flocked to the area during Pandas post-game celebrations.

Photos and videos on social media showed students blocking residential streets near the University of Ottawa just before 10 p.m., seven hours after the Panda game.

Two people were arrested Saturday evening in Sandy Hill, and police said the crowd began throwing objects at officers.

“We are seeing an increase in illegal activity and are responding quickly. Party-goers: Please leave the Sandy Hill area immediately,” police said on social media shortly after 10 p.m.

As of 8 p.m., Ottawa police said 85 provincial offense notices had been issued for open alcohol and two $2,000 tickets issued for loud mufflers on vehicles. The police said yesterday that two more people were arrested.

Bylaw Services officers issued 14 tickets worth $1,000 each for loud noise in connection with Panda Game celebrations and one ticket for littering. 81 parking tickets were issued and nine vehicles were towed during the Panda Games.

sandy hill 1 6092342 1664676998490Hundreds of people took to the streets of Ottawa’s Sandy Hill neighborhood on Saturday night as part of the Panda’s post-game celebrations. (Shawn Wharton/CTV News Ottawa)

After a relatively quiet day on the streets of Sandy Hill, people started taking over the streets between 8 and 9 p.m.

“Officers are working to disperse crowds in Sandy Hill. Objects are being thrown at officers – this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” police said on Twitter shortly after 9 p.m. “Police operations will continue into the morning.”

A few minutes later, a man was arrested for mischief, police said.

“Illegal activity will be met with strict enforcement, and all appropriate enforcement options will be used.”

A second man was arrested for mischief just after 10 p.m., police said.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Twitter account asked students to evacuate Sandy Hill.

“Due to large crowds gathering in the Sandy Hill community, we are asking our students to evacuate the area immediately. Please. Help us. #SavethePanda,” the Gee-Gees account said.

sandy hill 1 6092315 1664675141281A sign in Sandy Hill says “No Tolerance Zone Effect” as Panda oversees post-game festivities. (Shawn Wharton/CTV News Ottawa)

Officers could be seen on foot and in vehicles patrolling the streets of Sandy Hill and Byward Market on Saturday evening, hours after the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees defeated the Carleton Ravens 37-7 in the annual Panda Game at TD Place.

Police have increased police patrols at Byward Market, Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South and vowed to take a “zero tolerance” approach to public disorder during Panda Game-related pre- and post-game festivities.

“I hope everyone behaves,” said uOttawa student Presley Barwick. “We hope we all have a safe, respectful and fun overall experience.”

Last year’s post-game festivities saw 2,000 people crowd Russell Avenue in Sandy Hill, damaging property and overturning vehicles. Last year, eight people were charged with the midnight incidents and two were charged with rioting.

“It was so scary … I lived just around the corner from the big party,” resident Mary Jean Giamaria said. “They feel like they’re really going to control the students, but they never do. I’m not sure things will be any different this year.”

russell avenue 1 6092153 1664664433743University of Ottawa students celebrate Saturday’s Panda game on Russell Avenue in Sandy Hill. (Aaron Reed/CTV News Ottawa)

Officers in marked and unmarked vessels and on foot patrols were seen early in the morning on Sandy Hill.

“With the number of police, there’s no way. They’re everywhere,” said uOttawa student Nicholas Tremblay. “They’re always around the corner, so I doubt it’s going to happen again.”

The Ottawa bylaw states that excessive noise carries a fine of $1,000 and a victim surcharge of $130.

The fine for urinating/defecating on the road or sidewalk during Panda Game weekend is $1,000.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury said the city is working with uOttawa and community partners to remind students to celebrate safely or risk missing out on the annual event.

“It’s definitely an important game, it has a local feel … but at what cost and cost to both the community and the city and the police,” Fleury told CTV News Ottawa on Thursday.

In a thread on Twitter, Fleury said that most students are responsible, and “those who choose to wreak havoc put the game at risk for everyone.”

“Students should be aware that the costs of curating this football event are funded by tuition and ticket sales. This should be a reminder to party safely and respectfully, and that students hold each other accountable and act like responsible adults.”

Ottawa police told CTV News Ottawa that a bill to send the panda game to police will be sent to universities.

“Like many university towns, some universities are reimbursed for public safety costs related to Panda Game,” police said.

TD Place Announces Rules and Fan Code of Conduct for Panda Game Rules include:

  • One drink purchase per person
  • No bags or umbrellas
  • TD space cannot be re-entered
  • Zero tolerance for addictive or harmful behavior

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Tyler Fleming

Panda game: Ottawa police are urging people to leave Sandy Hill following a panda game

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