I'm such a freaking know-it-all and logistics queen that I've decided that aside from telling you all how they should be handling the crowds downtown, I will also be sending them a letter.
Basically, as a summary, due to the overwhelming mob scene, I was pushed to the ground on several occasions while people flooded towards buses to board them. Sometimes these people didn't even wait for the buses to stop, they swarmed the bus, made it stop and then boarded in areas that they were not supposed to be boarding from. Mackenzie-King bus stop was more or less closed off, which meant that people either boarded in the downtown core and were spirited away to Hurdman before resuming course (smart move), or they boarded at Laurier. I was at Laurier, since it was the only logical place to go from the Market. Close to 10,000 people agreed with me. So basically picture a ton of people spilled onto the road the entire strip between Laurier and the Mackenzie-King Bridge. There was pushing, shoving, screaming, assaults on police and OC Transpo workers, and general mayhem. In my opinion there are two major things that organizers should have done, and should do in the future.
1) The NCC should not just do the fireworks and finish the evening there since this encourages everyone to leave at the exact same time. Okay, so some people are able to walk to their homes, and others opt to go straight to the bars, but most families, teenagers, shiftworkers, and people who have had quite enough to drink that day will form a part of the exodus of the approximately 300,000 people that the NCC estimates attending. Back home in Pickering, the city sees maybe 75,000 people come out to the Canada Day events, and they do something I consider brilliant! They have a band come on after the fireworks. You may ask, "What does this have to do with the price of beans?", but it's logical if you think about it. Some people will have a desire to get the hell out of dodge right after it's done, that's fine, but a roughly proportionate amount of people will have a desire to stay and listen to the band for a bit. People will start to trickle out. It's one of the main motivating factors behind the push to extend public house hours in Britain (http://www.debatabase.org/details.asp?topicID=35
). People have noticed that problems start when you toss a whole bunch of people onto the street at the same time, especially when they are drunk or excitable.
Recap: Provide free entertainment for one hour after the fireworks so that there will be a trend towards trickling out, rather than mobbing the streets.
2) Holy jeebus OCTranspo, it is not the first year you have run the bus service on Canada Day and I cannot imagine the mobscene last night was unique. Have you ever heard of BARRICADES? They are this wonderful invention you can set up to block traffic and people, in this instance, I would have to say that it would be counterproductive to put them up next to the sidewalk, but rather at the edge of the first lane of traffic (out of two in that direction). This means that people would be unable to swarm the bus, police would have to monitor a section of barricade and not have to keep forcing people off of the road, it also means that buses would move faster without having people in front of it, and entry would be slightly more controlled since a person would only be able to board from the end of the barricade. People also behave a little better when they think they are in line.
I believe that had at least #2 had been followed, I would not have been trampled.
Comments and further ideas are definitely welcome, because while I had an enjoyable day, getting home was stupid on a cosmic scale.