Fact Check: The UN is NOT Guarding a Pharmaceutical Company in Toronto

Fact Check

  • by: Chandler Friedman
Fact Check: The UN is NOT Guarding a Pharmaceutical Company in Toronto Wrong Tenant

Did the U.N. station armored vehicles outside a pharmaceutical company in Canada? No, that's not true: the tenant of the building has changed and the armored vehicles are parked at a company that builds and maintains armored vehicles, which are not part of a military operation in Canada.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Facebook on July 18, 2021. It opened:

My close friend just confirmed......"just saw these vehicles in Toronto at 440 Garyray Drive."

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jul 19 17:00:00 2021 UTC)

The appearance of armored military vehicles can concern people, but this is a case of a photo or videos leading to incorrect leaps of logic to conclude something scary is imminent.

Images of the vehicle were shared along with the address of a warehouse at 440 Garyray Drive in North York, a district of the city of Toronto after the city amalgamated its six municipalities in 1998. That warehouse was previously occupied by pharmaceutical company Apotex, and Google Maps shows an Apotex sign out front as recently as July 2018. INKAS announced the acquisition of a new plant in Toronto at the start of 2020 and an image from Google Maps in September 2020 shows the INKAS flag flying in front of the building.

INKAS says on its website that its armored vehicle manufacturing arm "is a world-leading producer of a wide range of special purpose vehicles, including executive SUVs, luxury sedans, personnel carriers, cash-in-transit vehicles, and others."

INKAS confirmed to Lead Stories on July 19, 2021, that the vehicles in the photos were parked outside the company's facility, and that Apotex is no longer located there. Arthur Yurovitsky, vice president of marketing and business development at INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing, explained what was going on over email:

In reality, these are simply vehicles that we've manufactured for a law enforcement agency outside of Canada - in a totally different continent actually.

They're being stored until we get the go-ahead to ship them out.

While it's true that these vehicles will be used in UN peacekeeping efforts, they have absolutely nothing to do with Canada, besides the fact that they were proudly made in Canada.

Yurovitsky referred to a page on the company's website for details about its armored vehicle and added:

I can't share too many details regarding the specific contract only that these vehicles are for a law enforcement agency abroad to be used in UN peacekeeping efforts outside of North America.

Lead Stories has covered instances in the past where images or videos of military vehicles in a parking lot, or on a train has led people to conclude the imminence of military action. In those cases as well as in this story, though the appearance of military equipment is common, some people make the false leap in logic that it is a sign of pending military action. While the truth in this case is far less inflammatory, spinning a tale of imminent attack is a more effective way to build that currency of social media: attention in the form of clicks, links, and likes.

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  Chandler Friedman

Chandler Friedman is a fact checker and 'dupe sniper' at Lead Stories.  He is a former local and network level assignment editor with nearly 15 years of experience, most recently in Atlanta. 

Read more about or contact Chandler Friedman

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