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The Hells Angels, a notorious motorcycle club with members around the world, held a memorial ride Thursday for Robert Donald Peterson, a 74-year-old former member of the club who recently died and had lived in the Oshawa area.

The ride began at 11 a.m. and departed from Davis Drive in Newmarket. The estimated 800-plus riders travelled down Highway 404 to a destination in Toronto around Carlaw and Eastern avenues.

Earlier in the morning, prior to the run, patched members of the Hells Angels along with many other motorcycle clubs from across Canada gathered at a staging area just off Highway 404 near Davis Drive at a business park in an industrial area.

Hugs, high-fives and fist-bumps greeted heavily tattooed bikers as they arrived at the location. The group seemed to be mostly between the ages of 40 to 60 years old, with a smattering of 20- and 30-somethings rounding out the attendance.

There was a heavy police presence with officers milling about across the street from the location, wielding cameras and collecting information as a gathering of this size can be a boon for police monitoring and investigating the motorcycle clubs, as the Hells Angels is considered a criminal organization by the province of Ontario.

There were different police departments from across Canada on site to watch and gather intelligence on members. A few of the officers could be heard discussing with each other the names and home provinces of the bikers they knew as they spotted them in the crowd and upon their arrival at their gathering point.


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