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'Potential risk' to GTA

Information about a "potential risk" in the Greater Toronto Area led to an increase in police presence in Toronto's downtown core on Thursday, but officers insisted the public should not avoid any of the city's attractions, prompting confusion among some and anxiety in others.

Police would not specify what information they had received, or what their officers were looking for, but said the situation and their response were relatively common occurrences.

"Toronto police received information regarding a potential risk to public safety," Acting Supt. Michael Barsky told reporters while standing just steps from the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Ripley's Aquarium, all of which remained open.

"The police presence in this area is simply to ensure that the public can enjoy and come down to this area unimpeded and without any worry."

Police said in a late-night statement that the force had "resumed normal operations" but that the public will "continue to see a police presence around the Rogers Centre" as part of a downtown security plan.

"We know this heightened security can be concerning for the public," said the statement. "Our goal is always to be as transparent as possible while protecting the integrity of our investigations."

Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that they had obtained an internal Toronto police memo that stated officers had received "credible information regarding a potential vehicle ramming attack in the area of the CN Tower." Police declined to comment on the contents of that memo, but said it was a "draft operational plan" that was never approved.

Thursday's events came just over two months after a van mounted a sidewalk in north Toronto and plowed into pedestrians in its path, killing 10 and injuring 16. Alek Minassian, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. His case remains before the courts, with the next date set for September.



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