The major police operation that took place in Montreal at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard and St-Viateur Street, in the Mile End neighbourhood near the offices of video game company Ubisoft, was caused by a hoax, according to TVA.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) carried out checks in the large building after receiving a call that a robbery was occurring on Friday afternoon.
At 3:50 pm, the SPVM announced that “no threat has been detected so far.” The building was still being evacuated.
No injuries have been reported, noted the police in another tweet.
At the start of the operation, a source at Ubisoft indicated it was likely a hostage-taking situation, but that all employees were safe, according to The Canadian Press. There were not many employees in the office since many have been working remotely since the pandemic.
A large security perimeter had been established in the neighbourhood.
On videos posted on social media, police officers from the intervention tactical group can be seen in the area.
Dozens of people gathered on the roof of the building housing Ubisoft’s offices, as images from TVA and Radio-Canada showed. The doors seemed barricaded.
The SPVM had asked the public to avoid the area.
The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, indicated that her team was in close communication with the SPVM and that she was monitoring the situation closely.
Benoit Godin is the owner of the Vertuose decor store on St-Laurent Boulevard, a few doors down from Ubisoft.
He told the Canadian Press that a customer entered his store at around 1:15 p.m., saying that the police had asked him to take refuge inside.
“There were customers inside and other people came to take refuge in the shop, a little anxious,” he explained.
He added that police officers warned customers they could leave the store around 2 p.m., through the side door.
“There are a lot of police and ambulance,” said the owner of the store.
With files from the Canadian Press
More to come.