Residents in a North York neighbourhood that has been deemed a COVID-19 hot spot camped out for hours overnight in order to get their names on a list to receive a vaccine.

The City of Toronto will only administer vaccines to those 50 and up but a number of community agencies and healthcare partners have begun holding pop up vaccine clinics in neighbourhoods with higher levels of transmission, where anyone above the age of 18 is eligible for a shot.

Over the weekend, North York General Hospital North York Toronto Health Partners held two clinics at Parkway Forest Community Centre near Don Mills Road and Sheppard Avenue for residents who live in the M2J postal code.

Those clinics required that people pre-register.

However, the clinic was back in operation today and this time residents were told that they would have to line up to receive an appointment card.

The line began forming outside the community centre after midnight and by early this morning hundreds of people were in line.

The line stretched all the way around the community centre, onto the sidewalk and through several adjacent parking lots.

The hospital says that the first 750 people in line were given a same-day appointment for between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and everyone else was told to leave.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for North York General Hospital said that the decision to require residents to line up was done so out of desire to make vaccines “as accessible as possible to high-risk buildings and people who face barriers going to mass vaccination clinics.”

“Not everyone can travel to an immunization clinic and some people don’t have a computer and have difficulty booking appointments online,” the spokesperson said. “Mobile clinics, brought into people’s neighbourhoods that allow people to walk in to book an appointment, are the most accessible to the highest need populations. This includes some seniors, non-English speaking groups and those without computers.”


Earlier this month, the Ford government released a list of 114 postal codes where residents above the age of 18 would be eligible for a vaccine.

The government, however, was criticized for not initially providing residents with any information about how to receive a shot, leading to widespread confusion as many tried and failed to book vaccinations at city-run clinics.

Speaking with CP24 earlier on Monday, Mayor John Tory said that the pop-up clinic at Parkway Forest Community Centre is part of a “big push” that is now underway to ensure that people in the areas of the city with the highest COVID-19 cases counts can get vaccinated, regardless of their age.

“This is an example of something we are going to be doing more and more of,” he said. “There was one that was put this weekend where more than 1,300 people were vaccinated on Tobermory Drive with the clinic set up on a basketball court. The people in that case were notified by people literally knocking on doors and telling them they can get vaccinated and we are going to be repeating that exercise over and over again.”