TORONTO - TORONTO - With the eviction process on hold, it was business as usual between the City of Toronto and Occupy Toronto Wednesday.
A day after serving eviction notices, city officials say relations with the month-long economic protest are "status quo" until a court decision, which may not come until 6 p.m. Saturday.
City spokesman Margaret Dougherty said the city will be in court Friday defending its decision to evict protesters camped out in St. James Park. Tuesday night, a judge placed a hold on the eviction until Friday's hearing and his subsequent decision.
"Everything is status quo (until then)," Dougherty said Wednesday.
City officials were still going into the park as they have done since the protest began.
Staff from Toronto Fire, Toronto Public Health, solid waste, parks and shelter support and housing were all still visiting the site, she said.
The court order prevents the city from evicting protesters but also prevents protesters from bolstering their ranks or putting up more tents.
City officials said that as of Tuesday night, protesters had 176 tents and other assorted structures in the park.
After the eviction notices were served, an estimated 15 to 20 smaller tents were taken down, official said.
Occupy protesters are planning an "Evict Rob Ford march" for Saturday afternoon.
The group is also planning to open its 'Toronto free library' inside one of the yurts on the site this Saturday.
"We are inviting the Toronto community to visit our library as well as donate literature," Occupy stated in a news release.
Occupy protesters were also meeting Wednesday with officials from St. James Cathedral, Toronto Police, city staff and Councillor Pam McConnell's office.
A statement from Dean Douglas Stoute, the rector of St. James Cathedral, issued Tuesday said the church is continuing to take part in conversations with all parties involved. Part of the park protest is on the church's property.
"Our primary concern is for the safety of the most vulnerable members of the Occupy Toronto movement," Stoute stated. "We are also looking to find a way to continue the conversation around the issues raised by the movement."
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he spoke with the city solicitor Wednesday.
"We feel we are on legal grounds," he said.
If the court doesn't uphold the city's eviction, Holyday worried it would set a precedent across Canada that would allow anyone to camp indefinitely in the country's parks.
Occupy sites elsewhere across Canada all seemed to be on hold Wednesday.
In Winnipeg, where the protesters have set up a scattering of tents in Memorial Park, the province has not given any indication it plans to move in.
It's the same thing in Montreal, where protesters are actually praising the municipal government for leaving them alone.
In Calgary, where bylaw officers handed out notices Tuesday, telling protesters to remove tents and bikes among other property within 24 hours, the city said it is more than happy to let the situation run through the courts.
In Vacouver, the mayor has only indicated his wish for the camp to be gone by the time the Grey Cup rolls into town on Nov. 27, as protesters and the city exchange time in court over the legality of the small Occupy camp.
Even if camps are eventually dismantled in Canadian cities, Ottawa protester Darren Noftall said many protesters will likely just create new sites elsewhere.
"It's kind of sad, but I hope that (we're) strong enough that (we) can recover and re-occupy somewhere else - it's not just occupy one part, it's occupy that city, so we can move on."
- with files from Larissa Cahute