St. Patrick’s Day festivities are a day away and police say preparation has been underway for weeks to patrol the Sandy Hill neighborhood that was the site of a near-riot only months ago.

Ottawa police went door to door on Russell Avenue Wednesday afternoon, typically the location for festivities.

“It was pretty crazy earlier this semester, so I can imagine it will be pretty crazy again,” said Ava Warriner, a student who lives in the area.

Police say they recognize people are going to want to celebrate.

“They want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as well as the COVID-19 measures being lifted,” said Const. Sebastien Lemay.

Officers have knocked on 1,300 doors in the Sandy Hill neighborhood within recent weeks.

“Everybody in Sandy Hill got a letter and were being notified that there’s going to be an increased police presence,” said Benjamin Macarios, a student who lives in the area.

Police say there’s been several hundred tickets issued in the past for similar events.

There’s also concern after 2,000 people packed Russell Avenue for a street party last year, which turned to a near-riot following the Panda Game between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

“They just don’t want a repeat of Panda, which I bet a lot of people recall,” said Juliette Lisi, a student in the area. “I haven’t heard of anything too big, but I just hope it doesn’t get too out of control if that’s the case.”

Police say they’re working to prevent anything from getting out of control.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening, we are encouraging residents to call police if there are any issues,” said Lemay.

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Meanwhile, some Sandy Hill residents say they aren’t concerned.

“It’s never gone past Templeton Street, I guess my attitude might change if it got closer,” said Ian Miller.

“There wasn’t much last year so I think it will be the same,” said Sam Jacob, also a resident of the area.


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