Waterloo Regional Police have estimated that 33,000 people were at the unsanctioned street party on Ezra Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day at its highpoint.
That number represents a 50 per cent increase over the 2018 event at which police estimated 22,000 people were attendance.
“Each year we remain concerned for public safety, but this year the density of the crowd was more significant than ever and causes us even greater concern,” Waterloo police chief Bryan Larkin said in a statement.
“As we move forward, we will continue to meet with our community partners and members of the joint taskforce to find alternatives to this unlawful and extremely dangerous gathering.”
Police say they made 18 arrests during Sunday’s event for offences ranging from assault and mischief to resisting arrest and alcohol-related issues.
In addition, they handed out 514 tickets on Sunday, a slight increase over 2018 when there were 495 tickets issued.
Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services were also swamped with calls on Sunday.
The agency put on 11 extra paramedic crews and they were necessary as they answered 80 calls and transported 52 people to hospital.
“The volume of patients and transports put significant pressure on our resources, as well as our local hospitals,” Stephen VanValkenburg, Chief of Paramedic Services, said. “This event continues to be a significant public safety risk for the community and those involved in responding to the unsanctioned gathering.”
Local hospitals were all besieged with emergency room visits on Sunday.
Grand River Hospital received 59 emergency room visits in relation to the Ezra Avenue party which it says were mostly for over consumption of alcohol, head injuries, lacerations, falls and fractures.
St. Mary’s General Hospital emergency room saw an additional 19 visitors from the party between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
By-law officers from the city of Waterloo answered 171 calls related to noise and public nuisance and they handed out 25 tickets. They also cleared out three homes due to overcrowding and issued lot maintenance orders to 17 properties.
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Special Constable Service issued a further 127 tickets while University of Waterloo Police Services issued nine more.
Waterloo Fire and Rescue were called to 27 incidents.
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