July 17th, 2024

Closed patios can reopen, but Montreal faces more questions over F1 weekend problems

By The Canadian Press on June 13, 2024.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, goes through the final chicane on a wet track during the first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix Friday, June 7, 2024 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says restaurants that were ordered to evict some customers during the Grand Prix weekend will be able to reopen their covered outdoor seating areas, even as more questions mount over the management of the major tourist event.

Plante said today that the decision by fire prevention employees to order restaurants to suddenly close their patios on one of the busiest evenings of the year was “unjustifiable.”

She told reporters the city has decided to remove some parking spots so the covered patios can extend into the street while respecting bylaws that require them to be a safe distance from buildings.

The city and race organizers are facing criticism after stormy weather, large crowds and confusing messages during the Canadian Grand Prix events prompted Quebec’s tourism minister to say she was “very embarrassed” for the city and the province.

Racing publications Pole-Position and motorsport.com said the issues included mud and flooding at the race site, fans being turned away from a practice session they were led to believe was cancelled, traffic headaches and fans breaching the track at the end of the race.

Organizers of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix say there were “several challenges” during the 2024 race, and they are carrying out a post-mortem to ensure next year’s event goes smoothly.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024.

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