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Toronto cancels school trips to City Hall, citing safety worries

Protestors gather outside City Hall calling for the resignation of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Nov. 6, 2013.

MOE DOIRON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

School trips to City Hall scheduled for next week have been cancelled due to "safety concerns," according to city staff.

"School trips to City Hall for Monday and Tuesday have been relocated to the Toronto Archives," said city spokesperson Jackie DeSouza.

"This decision was made due to health and safety concerns around the numbers of people and the degree of activity currently being experienced at City Hall."

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Ms. DeSouza said a decision about future trips to City Hall will be made next week after staff have reconsidered.

City Hall has become a hive of international media and spectators ever since Mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine last week. Since then, the mayor's actions and police documents released have kept the chief magistrate in the headlines daily, and the buzz has yet to die down.

City Councillor Karen Stintz told reporters her children's school had a trip planned for Grade 5 students on Tuesday that was suspended.

"The trip was cancelled because they received a phone call from City Hall saying that it was unsafe," Ms. Stintz said.

When she inquired with city staff, she was told two incidents in particular spurred the decision to change the trips. On one occasion, a child was hit in the head by a camera. On another, students were toured through the mayor's office against the wishes of City Hall staff.

She said the idea that City Hall is not currently safe for children is "appalling."

"If our own staff don't feel that it's safe for the children to come and learn about municipal government then we have to deal with that directly," Ms. Stintz said.

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