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A paramedic returns to their ambulance outside the emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images

A historically Jewish Toronto hospital is beefing up security and the Toronto Police Service is investigating what it described as several “incidents” that took place outside the hospital during a pro-Palestinian march along the city’s hospital row on Monday night.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and a slew of other political leaders condemned protesters who allegedly trespassed on Mount Sinai Hospital property during a demonstration bound for the Israeli consulate.

Some allegedly climbed scaffolding in front of the hospital, and at least one was photographed waving a Palestinian flag from atop a ledge over Mount Sinai’s University Avenue entrance.

In a letter published Tuesday evening, the chief executive officers of 14 Greater Toronto Area teaching hospitals and a senior representative of the University of Toronto also denounced the incidents.

“We are profoundly disturbed by this course of events as this protest ran the real risk of disrupting hospital operations and compromising the safety of staff, physicians, learners, patients and visitors – all totally unacceptable.”

Mr. Trudeau called the demonstration “reprehensible” on X. “Hospitals are places for treatment and care, not protests and intimidation. I strongly condemn this display of antisemitism,” he wrote on Tuesday.

The group Toronto4Palestine, one of the organizers of Monday’s march, dismissed the Prime Minister’s message as “misinformation” in its own statement on X, where the group also wrote, “Speaking up against protesters walking by a hospital but not when hospitals are being bombed is peak Western hypocrisy #CancelTrudeau.”

The events outside Mount Sinai are the latest example of tensions over the Israel-Hamas war affecting daily life in Canada’s largest city since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, which killed 1,200. In response, Israel launched bombing and a ground invasion of Gaza, which has killed more than 28,000 people, according to Gaza health officials, and displaced the majority of the population.

Since Oct. 7, Toronto police have overseen more than 300 protests related to the war, Chief Myron Demkiw said last month. Although most events have been peaceful, some became too volatile, Chief Demkiw said, including a long-running pro-Palestinian protest on an overpass near a Jewish neighbourhood. Police have barred demonstrators from that location.

Mount Sinai Hospital was founded as the Hebrew Maternity and Convalescent Hospital just over 100 years ago by four Jewish women who raised money to establish a health care facility that would welcome Jewish doctors and patients at a time when antisemitism was common.

The events of Monday evening were “unacceptable,” the hospital’s CEO, Gary Newton, wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to hospital staff obtained by The Globe and Mail.

“Mount Sinai Hospital was created by the Jewish community of Toronto over a century ago and we know these images are deeply disturbing to members of our founding community.”

Dr. Newton’s message said the hospital was taking steps to protect staff and patients at Mount Sinai and at a sister site, the Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital, a rehabilitation facility east of downtown. The e-mail mentioned Mount Sinai’s University Avenue entrance being closed after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, but it wasn’t clear from the note when those hours took effect.

Toronto police, meanwhile, said they would increase their presence on hospital row, where several large health care facilities are located along University Avenue, and investigate the incidents that happened in front of Mount Sinai and along the demonstration route Monday night.

“As we have said before,” Toronto police spokeswoman Stephanie Sayer said by e-mail, “officers use their discretion during large crowd demonstrations and even if arrests are not deemed safe to make at the time, investigations will continue and charges can be laid at a later date.”

With a report from Mike Hager

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