The COVID-19 pandemic through the world into lockdown almost literally hours before St. Patrick’s Day 2020. Now, two years later, with hopes high that the pandemic is nearly over, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day might more closely resemble March 17 festivities of years’ past. Here in Guelph, both the City and the Police Service are ready for just such an eventuality.
The City of Guelph will initiating measures similar to September’s Safe Semester program. The closure, according to the City, is meant to “support a safe and enjoyable environment downtown for businesses, residents and students.”
Macdonell Street will be closed between the Macdonell parking lot and the West Parkade, and Wyndham Street will be closed between Carden Street and Cork Street. Also, Macdonell and Wyndham streets in downtown Guelph will be closed on Thursday night starting at 8 pm and that intersection will remain closed until 4 am. No parking will be allowed in the closed off area for the duration, and any cars parked there after 9 pm will be towed at the owner’s expense.
As for the police, they said in their own release that they will be “implementing a number of measures Thursday in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.”
Those measures will include additional officers deployed not just downtown, but across the city. A brief search of events on social media show some official parties at venues like Trapper’s Ally and the Palace or Shoeless Joe’s, but there will likely be a lot of private parties around town as well. Anyone wishing to report a noise complaint or nuisance party during the day should call police dispatch at 519-824-1212, and any concerns about parking issues can be reported to the city’s bylaw department at 519-837-2529 or bylaw [at] guelph.ca.
Many eyes will be focused on what happens up the road in Waterloo. The annual unauthorized street party on Ezra Avenue has long been an attractive nuisance to the area sandwiched between Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, but the pandemic has called off the frivolity these last two years. Mayor Dave Jaworsky told CBC last week that he hopes the chilled atmosphere continues on Ezra even now as party goers are returning.
“We’ve learned a lot more respect in these past two years,” Jaworsky said. “I’m hoping for respectful, collegial, maybe some celebrations with friends or in some of our beautiful bars in uptown Waterloo. We’re hoping for the best but we always have all the plans in place.”
“I want to assure you and the community that we will have high visibility, ample staff and unique approaches to ensure people celebrate responsibly and manage unsanctioned events,” Waterloo Police Chief Bryan Larkin said at a Waterloo Police Board meeting last week.