Montreal event promoters working to lower the risk of attack
Published Tuesday, May 23, 2017 12:47PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:49PM EDT
Following a terrorist attack that killed at least 22 people leaving a concert in Manchester, England, entertainment promoters in Montreal are taking steps to ensure safety.
An estimated 500,000 came out to see The Giants over the weekend, and last weekend thousands lined the streets to see the Jacques-Cartier Bridge light up for the first time.
Both events took place with security officials looking on – and both went off without a hitch, but it’s one of many public events taking place in Montreal this year in particular, to celebrate the city’s 375th birthday.
“We are doing our homework, we are preventing the worst, we have that vigilance agenda. This is a safe place,” assured Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
Coderre pointed out, however, that Canada is not impervious to terror attacks – the shooting on Parliament Hill and the 2014 attack in St. Jean sur Richelieu spring to mind.
Gilbert Rozon, president and founder of Juste pour Rire and head of the 375th celebrations, said he is taking the attacks seriously and working with security to lower the risk of attack.
“We increase security measures and we increase them every year. You know, for such a small space, the festival square, we have 100 people working there, apart from the police, so it's a lot of people,” he said, adding that event promoters are in constant contact with police.
He added that people should not live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, as they could happen anywhere and at any time.
Claude Sarrazin, founder of the Sirco security firm, said it is difficult to protect arenas and stadiums against random attacks.
Montreal's evenko, which organizes events at the Bell Centre, on Ile Ste. Helene, Metropolis and more, said it would not explain exactly what it would do in the wake of the attack.
However Toronto's Air Canada Centre said it will increase the number of security staff for upcoming events.
In recent years, the venue has installed metal detectors and brought in bomb-sniffing dogs, although there are no specific signs of any threat.
"There is no way we can protect and defend these targets 100 per cent," said Sarrazin. "It was a, sadly, well-planned attack."
He said terrorists target the known weak spots -- in the case of the Manchester attack, the access point between the arena and the train station -- specifically because it is a vulnerable point.
Sarrazin said architects and security analysts are coming up with designs in new buildings to make these safer.
"It's starting now in the planning stages of new buildings," said Sarrazin.