Ottawa shooting: Toronto police, security out in force
Extra security planned for election day, barricades set up at city hall
Extra police and security guards were visible on transit lines and elsewhere across Toronto on Thursday in the wake of yesterday's shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while lawmakers discussed, under tight security, safety measures for Queen's Park and the province.
The TTC and GO Transit had more security personnel in place, bolstered by Toronto police officers, as commuters came into the city for the morning rush.
Both GO and the TTC say they first increased security two weeks ago in light of threats made by the extremist group ISIS against Canada.
"We assess information provided to us by police and security and intelligence agencies constantly," said GO Tranist security head Bill Grodzinski.
"We evaluated our response and went to what we call 'enhanced vigilance.'"
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GO Transit says it knows of no specific threat to the system, but is taking extra precautions — echoing the words of Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, who has said officials will "always err on the side of security."
Police were also more visible at public buildings, including the legislature, transit facilities and some consulates. Blair said yesterday more officers will also be posted to court houses, consulates and government and military buildings.
The TTC also has more security and police officers monitoring the subway system, and is calling on riders to play a role in maintaining safety, said spokesman Brad Ross.
If you see something, say something.- TTC spokesman Brad Ross
"The message really is simple, if you see something, say something," said Ross.
That slogan may sound familiar to anyone who's been to New York in recent years. It was coined after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to increase vigilance on public transit.
At Queen's Park, security personnel were on high alert while, inside, safety dominated the talk during question period.
Interim Conservative Leader Jim Wilson said he wants the province to re-consider arming special constables, a practice that ended in the mid '90s.
"I don't feel particularly safe," Wilson said.
He also questioned the lack of metal detectors in the legislature — there's currently only one set, up on the fourth floor.
"It doesn't make sense to me. It never has made sense to me," Wilson said. "You can come in here, wander around, bring anything in you want."
At city hall — where the flag flew at half-mast in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the Hamilton-area reservist killed yesterday in Ottawa — barricades were set up at the main entrance so guards could keep a closer eye on the crowds.
Officials said there will also be added security at polls for Monday's mayoral election.
CBC's Linda Ward was at Union Station on Thursday amid the increased security.
"I've seen police officers and security guards patrolling the halls," she reported. "And there's also announcements over the PA system saying that due to the events in Ottawa and Quebec, there will be more transit officers and police officers on trains, buses and in stations."
Passengers hurrying to work told CBC News they were not worried.
"I'm not scared or anything," one passenger said. "Maybe just a heightened level of awareness."
With files from the CBC's Linda Ward and Shannon Martin