Skip to main content

Businesses frustrated as 'Freedom Convoy' demonstration reaches end of the third week in Ottawa


Business owners and residents living in the downtown core say tensions are rising as the police presence in the area increases around the trucker demonstration.

As the 'Freedom Convoy' demonstration continues for a 21st day, frustration continues to build from weeks of what appears to be inaction on the part of police and governments to clear the convoy out.

Shopping on Sussex Drive comes with the sound of blaring horns and it does not matter whether you’re inside a shop or not, it’s loud. 

For Chantal Biro-Schad, who owns a women’s clothing shop along the capital’s signature street, it’s another daily dose of downtown despair.

"I’ve never felt so agitated in my life and so angry," says Biro-Schad, adding that it’s the businesses paying the price as residents continue to avoid the area.

"Every day we keep hearing rumours today is the day something is going to happen and here we are day 20, 21, and still nothing is happening."

On Thursday, police significantly increased their presence inside the demonstration ‘red-zone’. Metal fences were also installed outside of Parliament Hill along Wellington Street. Highway off-ramps heading towards downtown have been closed, and approximately 100 checkpoints are being set up to prevent entry to the core to those who do not live or work in the area.

"It’s grim, it’s grim I mean we’re three weeks into this," says Biro-Schad. "It’s terrible and I mean two years of the pandemic, then for this on top to have to experience, honestly I don’t know how much more we can take."

Robin Seguin owns a barbershop only steps from the epicentre of the demonstration. 

"Walking into work, there’s people yelling freedom and telling me to take off my mask, enough is enough like common," Seguin says. "I’ve been open and closed off and on, this week I was there all week until today."

Seguin says on Thursday morning, authorities stopped by with a question.

"All I was asked today was how long I was going to be open for and I obviously took that as a, 'No you don’t have to close, but maybe you should just in case,'" Seguin says. "I was also informed that if they intend to use tear gas that I would have to move to upper floors of the building and would have to stay until such time that it was safe to walk outside."

Seguin closed up shop and says she does not plan to re-open until the convoy has been cleared from the city streets. Top Stories

Stay Connected