Massive party of 500 people at Quebec Airbnb; the police decide not to break it

Montreal –

Police responded to a rowdy party at an Airbnb in western Quebec over the weekend that violated public health regulations, but the gathering was so large they say they couldn’t break it up.

Nine busloads of people descended on a newly built rental cabin in the quiet town of La Pêche, along the Gatineau River.

Police, who were called after 911 calls about the noise, estimate there were 500 people at the party Saturday night.

Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors in the province, but police say there were simply too many people to start handing out $1,500 bills.

“Unfortunately, we had to positively identify ourselves, like all of these individuals with ID, which was physically impossible to do that night,” the sergeant said. Martin Fournel, spokesperson for the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

“There was a security issue for the officers. Half a dozen officers against, you know, 500 people – we don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

Fournel said the party took place in a new chalet that had been built in the past few months and was the largest illegal gathering he had heard of in the territory since the start of the pandemic.

Officers monitored the event until 2 a.m. when revelers boarded school buses to return to Ottawa, he said.

Most of the illegal gatherings officers have seen at cottages in western Quebec have been held at short-term rentals from services like Airbnb, Fournel said, adding that rental platforms make it difficult to verify how guests will use the property.

“They lie about it. They say… ‘Oh, we’re going to be two couples, three couples max.’ it is therefore difficult for the owner to validate this information and ensure that he will not show up with nine school buses and 500 people,” said Fournel.

Police say their investigation is not complete and the city may issue fines at a later date.

In a statement, Airbnb said it was “appalled by the blatant disregard for this host’s home and neighborhood” and that the party took place without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

“We are currently working with this host to support them through our Host Guarantee process. We have removed this guest from the platform,” the company said.

The office of La Pêche mayor Guillaume Lamoureux did not respond to a request for comment from CTV Montreal.

Comments are closed.