Bottles thrown from 35th floor short-term rental 'grossly irresponsible,' Toronto mayor says

Toronto’s mayor is calling an incident where bottles rained down on a busy downtown street from a party in a short-term rental suite 35 floors above among the most “grossly irresponsible acts I’ve seen.”

Police arrested and charged four men criminally, seven for violating COVID emergency orders, and now the city is moving to investigate the owner of the condo for a possible breach of the city’s new short-term rental rules, said John Tory.

“Fortunately, these people who are so beyond the scale of irresponsibility it is almost unimaginable — they are few and far between. But the bottom line has to be no such parties, and we are going to have to take a look at how this fits within the new short-term rental regulations,” Tory said.

Toronto police said they were called around 2:30 p.m. to the Ice Condos at York Street and Lakeshore Boulevard with reports of bottles flying and smashing.

“We’re not talking one or two, there were multiple bottles involved,” said Const. Laura Brabant, adding that when police pulled up to shut down the busy street and protect pedestrians, it felt like they were under attack.

“They themselves became the target of the bottles thrown from the building,” she said.

The party had been going on since the day before. Four people have now been charged criminally with nuisance, mischief endangering life, assaulting an officer, and drug possession.

At court, one of those charged was granted $1,000 bail, with one of the conditions that if he returns to a high-rise, he can’t go above the sixth floor.

Toronto’s short-term rental bylaws prohibit anyone renting their apartment for less than 28 days unless it’s their personal residence and they get a licence from the city.

The city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards told CTV News they have issued five charges so far, including two that had no registered with the city, and three who were not renting their principal residence.

The city’s largest platform, Airbnb, said that it doesn’t have any suites in the Ice Condos on the 35th floor. Attempts by CTV News to reach the building’s management were unsuccessful.

Fairbnb, which has been critical of short-term rental consequences in the city, said they wanted to know whether the unit had also breached a provincial ban on short-term rentals during the pandemic for everyone but those who are in need of housing.

“It’s not just people throwing down bottles, but it’s also an incident of people congregating inside and possibly spreading a deadly virus,” said Thorben Wieditz.

In general, a CTV News Toronto analysis of data scraped from the Airbnb platform by Inside Airbnb seems to show a trend towards compliance with city rules.

In early January, some 1,549 suites were listed for less than 28 days with licence numbers that didn’t correspond to any that had been issued by the city.

As of February 8, that number had dropped to 248, the analysis showed.