Some motorists honked their horns in support of about 100 anti-vaccine protesters who gathered along Georgian Drive outside Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie.
Monday’s demonstration was one of many expected to take place at hospitals across the country.
A group called Canadian Frontline Nurses organized what they said were going to be “silent vigils” to protest vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures.
“This will be a silent vigil to honour those affected by measures put in place over the last year and half,” CFN says on its website. “Our cries and concerns have been ignored for too long. Please join us in creating a memorial tribute, by bringing flowers, pictures, cards, letters to share stories in honour of those affected.”
“Share your loss and grieving, to bring out the truth on what is happening across Canada and why we are taking a stand to tyrannical measures and government overreach.”
Protests were also scheduled to take place at other Ontario hospitals including in Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury and Ottawa.
In a tweet on Sunday, Premier Doug Ford blasted the protests describing such events as “selfish, cowardly and reckless.”
One woman countered the protesters with her own sign in support of mask-wearing.
A number of unions and health-care groups have denounced the demonstrations.
There was also an anti-vaccine protest outside RVH on September 1, the same day the Ford government announced the proof-of-vaccination system that begins later this month.
The next day, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman took to Twitter to condemn the protesters.
It’s completely unacceptable and shameful that health care workers are being harassed, and patients blocked from entering hospitals. Health care workers are nothing short of heros and deserve protection and our loudest support especially after the last 18 months.— Jeff Lehman (@Mayor_Jeff) September 2, 2021
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also vowed to bring forward legislation to create “public health safety zones” in an effort to reduce harassment outside hospitals, though the legislature is not scheduled to sit until October.