Toronto

Someone just got fined almost $3K for flying a drone over Toronto's Raptors celebrations

Transport Canada says it has slapped a $2,750 fine against someone who flew a drone over Toronto during two separate Raptors-related celebrations this summer.

Operator fined for 11 separate violations, Transport Canada says

Drone footage captured stunning overhead images of the party during the Raptors victory celebrations. However, Transport Canada has fined an unauthorized operator $2,750 for flying a drone over the crowd. (Screenshot from @guutoby video)

Transport Canada says it has slapped a $2,750 fine on someone who flew a drone over Toronto during two separate Raptors-related celebrations this summer.

The federal agency says the individual, whose name it has not released, flew a drone during celebrations after the Raptors won the championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 13, and then again during the Raptors' victory parade four days later.

In all, Transport Canada says the person has been fined for 11 separate violations under the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

"Operating a drone in Canadian airspace is a regulated activity and the department will enforce the regulations to ensure compliance. The safety of Canadians is our number one priority," Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a news release. 

"Drone pilots must fly responsibly and must never put people or aircraft in danger."

Several videos of the celebrations were shot from the sky after the Raptors' win, at least one by Toronto-born Toby Gu, who, at the time told CBC News he didn't believe he was endangering anyone. 

When contacted Thursday, Gu said, "I suspect the fine is meant for me but I have not been served with anything." 

Gu, who is currently in Paris, has already launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for his legal fees.

In the video, he describes the fine as "pretty hefty."

Initially, Transport Canada said a preliminary review was conducted which "determined there was not enough evidence" to open an investigation. 

Later that day, the agency said "additional information has been brought forward and the department has opened an investigation." 

Transport Canada's release says federal drone regulations came into effect June 1. It is mandatory for anyone operating a drone weighing more than 250 grams and less than 25 kilograms to register their aircraft.

Drone operators also need to have the necessary pilot certificate and obey specific requirements around flying in controlled airspace or over bystanders. 

The airspace around Nathan Phillips Square was restricted the day of the Raptors' party, so anyone operating a drone would have needed permission from Nav Canada, the company that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation service.

The operator also would have needed to apply for a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada.  

The morning of the Raptors' championship event, Transport Canada tweeted  that people should leave their drones at home.

With files from Chris Glover

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