Saanich police break up beach party with hundreds of people

There were no official in-person Canada Day events, but police were still busy with calls about parties, fireworks and noise complaints — including a beach party of about 200 at Mount Douglas Park.

Saanich police received several calls about a large gathering of youth dressed in red and white in the parking lot off Ash Road and down by the beach, said Const. Markus Anastasiades. There was also a steady stream of vehicles dropping off youth.

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Officers were concerned about open alcohol consumption, underage drinking, public intoxication and the lack of physical distancing, Anastasiades said.

As officers intervened to break up the party, the youth were co-operative, respectful and started to leave the area, he said.

Some parents returned to pick up their children and none of the intoxicated youth required medical attention.

“We certainly anticipated some gatherings last night of people wanting to celebrate Canada Day. However, this is a reminder that physical-distancing measures are still in place in the province,” Anastasiades said.

Saanich police responded to 74 calls for service between July 1 and 6 a.m. on July 2, which was slightly lower than the 105 calls the department responded to during the same time last year.

Fourteen of the calls this year were for noise complaints, but police found the gatherings were small compared with 2019, Anastasiades said.

Victoria police had a quiet Canada Day compared with years past when revellers would flock to downtown for fireworks and live music.

The department responded to 164 calls between July 1 and July 2 compared with 450 calls in the same period last year.

Most of the calls were for parties, fireworks and noise complaints, said department spokesman Bowen Osoko.

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