Ottawa police promise ‘strong and consistent’ police presence in downtown core this weekend

An enhanced police presence will remain in the downtown core this weekend as officers continue to monitor for any potential return of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.

“Officers now remain in a position of observation,” Ottawa Police Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson says. “A strong, elevated police presence will remain in place for as long as is required and can be increased when needed.”

A secured area remains in place in the area of Bronson Avenue, Laurier Avenue, Wellington Street and the Rideau Canal.

Officers are set up to monitor pedestrian flow into the downtown area, while also keeping an eye on encampments outside of the city. Residents travelling to and through the secured area are advised to carry ID on them.

“We want to assure residents and businesses that we will maintain a strong and consistent presence in the downtown core,” Ferguson said, looking ahead to the weekend.

“We will also ensure that the unlawful protest is not given a chance to return. There will be continued expansion of police presence, vehicle and foot patrol and overall level of vigilance.”

Ferguson says there remains a “robust integrated police presence” in the downtown core, including static positions and Quick Response Officers. Traffic Services officers are also engaged in proactive enforcement.

Trucks, vehicles and supporters of the “Freedom Convoy” arrived in downtown Ottawa on Jan. 28 to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions. Last weekend, officers from Ottawa, the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces across the country moved in to clear roads.

“We’ve had a lot of success, but this operation isn’t over. Not everything is completed yet. We continue to have resources in place to prevent unlawful protests from returning this coming weekend and moving ahead,” Interim Chief Steve Bell said.

Mayor Jim Watson lifted the state of emergency on Thursday.


Starting today, you can ride the O-Train free of charge.

Council approved a motion to offer free rides on the O-Train for 30 days.

You can also travel for free on 15 bus routes that serve Centretown and Rideau-Vanier ward. The routes are: Routes 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 55, 56, 85, 114 


The city of Ottawa is also picking up the tab for free parking at city-owned lots in the Centretown and ByWard Market areas.

Starting today, you can park for free at the lots at 210 Gloucester Street, 234-250 Slater Street, 422 Slater Street, 70 Clarence Street, 142 Clarence Street and 110 Laurier Avenue West.

The free parking will be in effect until March 31.

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