The Toronto Star spoke with members of the public outside the entrance of the Ontario Court of Justice at Old City Hall Monday as day one of the Ghomeshi trial began.
Connie King visited Old City Hall to catch a glimpse of “the man with a beautiful voice” to whom she used to listen on the radio.
“All of a sudden, he was off the air and I couldn’t believe it,” she said before climbing up the courthouse steps to find a seat inside.
John Cassidy made the trek downtown to witness first-hand what he considered to be a “historic moment in Toronto’s history.”
“The fact this trial is being held at Old City Hall is kind of iconic,” he said. “Usually these court things go on in obscure places.”
Cassidy compared the “spectacle and scandal” to ongoing celebrity court proceedings south of the border.
“It’s a circus, everyone showing up here for one person,” he said, “Just like Bill Cosby.”
Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi said she “was more appalled than shocked” when she first learned the former CBC mogul faced sexual assault allegations.
“You hear about this stuff in the media all of the time, but it still disgusts you,” she said.
The fourth-year Ryerson journalism student recalled how her professors relied on old episodes of Ghomeshi’s CBC radio program Q as a teaching tool.
In particular, the radio host’s questioning style represented “a good example of how to interview people,” she said.
The media frenzy gathered outside the downtown courthouse initially caught Alain Bartleman by surprise.
While the criminal defence lawyer is not involved in the case, he predicted the trial will be “very drawn out, not like a 1-2 punch.”
“I think he’s hired the best lawyers in the country, and it’s going be a very tough fight,” said Bartleman.
Yan Lee arrived at Old City Hall about 20 minutes too late Monday morning. The recreational photographer had hoped to add some photographs of Ghomeshi to his collection of Toronto celebrity sightings.
“Someone is gonna make a movie about him,” Lee said.