One Hells-uva memorial ride rolled into the city Thursday as well over 500 outlaw bikers showed up to honour one of their own.

The ride started early in the morning with a massive gathering in Newmarket, then snaked down Hwy. 404 and the DVP — in tandem lines, as far as the eye could see — making their way into the Toronto in an organized manner.

Hells members, their brother chapters from across Canada, affiliates and friends arrived shortly before noon outside the Route 81 Hells Angels merchandise store and clubhouse on Carlaw Ave. just south of Eastern Ave.

The memorial ride for Donny Petersen, who passed away last December at age 74, coincides with the mandatory Canada Run for the Hells Angels across the country with a massive weekend bash slated for this weekend at the Brooklin Hells chapter — north of Whitby.

one hells-uva memorial ride rolls into toronto

Neighbours like business owner Matthew Plexman, who was out walking his dogs with his wife, said earlier in the week both the Hells and Toronto Police delivered letters about the event.

Plexman said there were “different points of view” to what was happening Thursday.

“Somebody died and we are having a party,” said Plexman. “And the police said it is an unsanctioned event.”

“I was a bit perturbed that this was happening at first, but now glad to see that it is pretty peaceful,” he added.

Neighbours up and down the block stood along the sidewalk excitedly snapping mobile images and videos of the Hells members who thundered up Carlaw Ave. with tunes on their customized Harleys listening to “Southern Fried rock” or the latest rap sensation.

The majority of the bikers wore black armbands with with the name of Donny Petersen embossed on it in recognition of the former Para-Dice Rider biker who patched over to Hells in 2000 during a “patchover” that absorbed four bike gangs — the PDR, Satan’s Choice, Lobos and Last Chance — into the world’s largest biker gang.

A few “Donny for President” T-shirts, which listed all of his achievements and the awards he garnered over the years, could be seen in the crowd.

The back of the T-shirts read, “Donny Petersen — HAMC Toronto World Tour 2019,” and explained his knowledge as an author, an expert mechanic plus video star.

Several Hells members milling about on the street behind barricades were asked to comment on the “ride” and what kind of guy Petersen was to the club, but they politely shrugged their bulky shoulders, smiled and swigged back on bottles of water.

One biker from the Swordsmen MC of Newmarket, named Dave, gave a brief interview to the media before a few Hells members sauntered over, prompting him to clam up.

“We are people who enjoy motorcycles and the MC world,“ said Dave.

Former sergeant of the Surete du Quebec biker enforcement unit Guy Ouellette, who is now a Member of National Assembly for the riding of Chomedey in Laval, north of Montreal, spoke about the memorial and this weekend’s Canada Run.

“They are their to sanitize their image for the public,” said Ouellette.

During a phone interview, Ouellette said he was not surprised at the amount of colours in attendance saying “that is Ontario.”

He went on to explain this weekend’s mandatory membership Canada Run — put on by the Brooklin chapter of the Hells Angels — is to show the general public how gracious they are while showing their colours.

“When the ‘show’ will be over, it will be criminal business as usual,” Ouellette said.

Earlier in the week, Durham Regional Police Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim explained his stance and echoed what Ouellette has always maintained.

“Let me be clear today: they (Hells Angels) are an organized crime group who have consistently proven to be responsible for all manners of crimes including drug trafficking, illegal gambling, human trafficking, firearms and acts of violence perpetrated by their members and/or through support clubs,” Bertrim said.

A few interesting moments occurred as two Hells members were spotted in attendance wearing colours from the Dominican Republic and a small contingent of “puppet gang,” or support, members were seen riding with the Sherbrooke chapter — The Gitans, of Sherbrooke.

To Ouellette this means that the Hells are now re-grouping after several large police operations in Quebec during the early 2000s put the majority of members behind bars after the Biker War in Quebec between the Hells and Rock Machine.

That war saw bombings, assassinations, murders, double dealing and cost numerous lives.

At one point during all the proceedings, a small group of police officers from the Surete du Quebec doing intelligence gathering crossed Carlaw St. through the crowd of bikers into an alleyway just north of the clubhouse after spotting somebody of something.

The were immediately encircled by Hells members and their underlings, but nothing happened.

For police, the Canada Run has always been an intelligence-driven operation to see which longtime members attend the mandatory party and which new members and supporters have been added to their ranks or show up for allegiance.

In Canada alone, there are 43 chapters that stretch from B.C. to the Maritimes: B.C. 10, Alberta 6, Saskatchewan 2, Manitoba, 2, Ontario 17, Quebec 5 and New Brunswick with one chapter.

In Ontario, the chapters stretch from Windsor to a Nomads chapter in the Ottawa region with a large centralization of chapters in the Golden Horseshoe region, with Brooklin gaining its status in 2019 and Belleville most recently in 2020.

The latest update on the Hells Angles worldwide website shows that they are located on five continents, in 59 countries, and have 467 charters or chapters.

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