September 2, 2015
By Tara Deschamps
Roland Barnes was busy cleaning out a crawl space earlier this week when he came across something stowed away that he could never have expected.
Nestled into a dusty enclosure filled with old files and sports equipment at Alexandra Park Community Centre lay three locked ballot boxes.
Whether the faded yellow containers were tied to a government election, no one was certain, but Barnes, a youth ambassador at the centre, said he was worried the missing boxes “might have cost someone an election.”
On Wednesday, police spokesperson Victor Kwong said 14 Division ruled that possibility out, closing the investigation because nothing foul was found.
Though the containers — suspected to be as much as three decades old — were deemed to be election boxes, Kwong said, they weren’t stuffed with any official election materials linked to the government.
Inside, he said, were blank ballots and materials regarding a local housing referendum.
In 1995, tenants in the Alexandra Park area, near Dundas St W. and Bathurst St., voted in a referendum in favour of forming the Atkinson Housing Co-operative. Kwong said he was not sure if the boxes were connected to that referendum.
The boxes were emblazoned with labels marked “Augusta” and “Vanauley” — the name of two nearby Kensington Market streets.
The news was a relief for police detectives who had collected the boxes from the centre, Kwong said. They had been buzz that the boxes might date to the 1997 amalgamation referendum or even a federal election.
Had that been the case, the RCMP might have had to be called in to investigate.
Correction– September 3, 2015: This article was edited from a previous version that included an incorrect headline that said the boxes were from a referendum from 25 years ago.