It was subtle, discreet and effective.
But it was there.
There was quite a security blanket around Toronto’s big venues Friday night.
The elephant in the room was obviously how would Toronto Police and security staff respond here following the egregious, deadly suicide terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
And this was their first challenge.
TFC was playing to a packed house at BMO on the CNE grounds. The Blue Jays were at home for the beginning of a ten game stint at the Rogers Centre.
Then of course there was the concert by Toronto’s own The Weeknd at the Air Canada Centre.
I dropped by all three and was pretty impressed with both the level of security and the professional way it was administered. The police and security companies were all over this problem in a modern way.
Each of the events had heightened security and police presence — some you could see and some you could not.
But the Hangar, obviously, was where it was most notable and noticeable. The Mounted Unit was in several locations at all three venues and uniformed officers were visible at corners outside the gates.
Then there were the dogs, which looked like they were from both police and private security.
The extra security patrolled inside and outside of the venues and was there before the events and again after.
“Someone like the killer in Manchester can show up at anytime,” said one security staffer. “We have to be ready for anything.”
One guy who sure appreciated it was Eric Migacz, one of the many dads who took their precious daughters right to the door of the ACC and was waiting there after the concert ended.
“I would do it anyway but I do admit after Manchester their safety at this concert was on my mind,” said the Milton man. “I am thankful for the increase presence here.”
Daughters Monica, 17 and Ola, 16, have had their tickets for Scarborough’s own Abel Makkonen Tesfaye since November and were shaken by this week’s blast that gutlessly killed 22 people — many young fans just like themselves.
“We felt so bad for the victims,” said Monica. “We attended an Ariana Grande show here so we have a feeling of the atmosphere.”
But did she and Ola consider skipping this Weeknd show, which will have a second performance Saturday night.
“Not a chance,” said Ola. “You live in fear.”
Nobody should have to.
People all over the world and certainly here in the Greater Toronto Area are free — free to attend a soccer match, baseball game or pop concert.
Tens of thousands here did just that safely on Friday night.
With a little help from a strong but quiet effort by law enforcement.