What you’ll face is completely dependent on the type of action you’re attending, but most rallies and marches are pretty low key in the GTA right now. That means you’ll get varying numbers of yellowjackets [read: bike cops/regular duty cops] and maybe a couple police cars or vans. You may see TPS video surveillance – either walking around with cameras or their facial recognition van [hel-lo police state!].

TPS bike cops, or "yellowjackets"

TPS bike cops, or “yellowjackets”

TPS command vehicles & videographer

TPS command vehicles & videographer

People may choose to cover their faces for a variety of reasons, be it weather, protection, safety, empowerment or anonymity. It’s up to you whether you want to be identified or not, but if you choose to don a mask know that it will draw more attention from police [and possibly negative attention from potential allies who don’t understand] & media.

If the rally is particularly big, you might see the TPS mounted unit – usually anywhere from 4 to 8 mounted officers.

TPS Mounted Units

TPS Mounted Units

If you’re walking into a situation akin to the G-8/G20 summits, Montreal Student Strike or Occupy Eviction Day scenario you can expect to see the TPS public “safety” unit/public order unit [ aka the riot squad ] in force. They’ll have riot gear on hand [though not necessarily be fully equipped] and lots of busses and command/police vehicles. They do this to try and look intimidating & to fear-monger.

Along with the POU you’ll probably see regular uniformed officers & yellowjackets [in cars, on motorcycles or on foot], the ETF tactical medics, video surveillance officers & marked/unmarked vans.

riot police during G20 Toronto

POU unit/ riot police line

TPS command vehicles

TPS command vehicles

ETF medic

ETF medic

Remember that in these scenarios what you see isn’t always what you get – often times there are reserve forces standing by on busses, down alleys or in vacant buildings etc. [we’re not saying that to induce your activist paranoia, just to inform you – remember, if you’re too paralyzed with fear to attend and be heard, they’ve already won!]

reserve forces, ready to move in

reserve forces, ready to move in


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