Students celebrate as they arrive at Toronto Island for the 2014 Parade and Picnic.

Photo: Jess Tsang

Got banned for what?

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By Jackie Hong

Settle down, everyone: Ryerson’s annual Parade and Picnic is not banned from Toronto Island.

On Oct. 1, The Ryersonian reported that Ryerson’s frosh-week tradition, which has run for over half a century, was banned from Toronto Island after this year’s event. However, none of the city officials that The Eyeopener spoke to said the ban exists.

The current situation has been “blown way out of proportion,” Toronto Parks Customer Service Supervisor Cathy Hargreaves said.

Customer service handles permits for special events in Toronto parks and Hargreaves represents the Toronto and East York District.

“My knowledge is that nothing of the sort has happened,” she said.

Toronto Island Supervisor Warren Hoselton was not aware of any bans against Ryerson either.

“We haven’t even received an application for a ban,” Hoselton said.

This year’s Parade and Picnic garnered about a dozen noise complaints from Toronto Island residents and Ryerson would need to review its event to make sure it’s “fully compliant with all parks and noise by-laws,” Toronto Parks Waterfront District Manager James Dann said in an email.

However, he added that Ryerson has yet to even submit a proposal for the 2015 Parade and Picnic that can be denied or accepted.

“There’s nothing in place right now,” Dann said in an interview. “[The Parade and Picnic] is under review, but all events go under review at the end of the year.”

Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) President Rajean Hoilett said he has not been notified of any bans.

“To my knowledge we haven’t received any complaints. We’ve had folks try to find out what the situation is. It seems that there haven’t actually been any official steps taken … To my knowledge right now it’s not a super serious issue that we’re afraid of,” Hoilett said.

The RSU’s Vice-President Equity Pascale Diverlus also said she had no knowledge of a ban.

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said he wasn’t aware of any bans either until campus media started asking him about it.

“I have not received a letter on this from anyone, so it was all news to me,” Levy said. He added that the university “heard a couple of complaints but nothing terribly unusual.”

The Parade and Picnic has had its share wild stories in the past, none of which have resulted in a ban from Toronto Island. In 1999, a 20-year-old student got alcohol poisoning on the island and had to be transported by a Toronto Police Marine Unit boat back to the mainland before taken to hospital.

The most serious incident happened during the 1982 iteration of the picnic, a friend of a Ryerson student dove off the ferry into Lake Ontario. He broke his neck and died.

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