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LETTER: Joyful downtown celebration mixed with sadness

'Impossible to be unaware of the serious troubles some residents, both housed and unhoused, are struggling with,' reader says
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GuelphToday received the following letter to the editor from reader Maria Case.

The organizers of the Christmas market and the Santa Claus parade did a terrific job delivering a family friendly gathering to celebrate the season! The huts dressed up the square and provided an opportunity for small businesses to sell their wares. It felt safe and enjoyable, was festive and appealing. I have worked and lived in and near the downtown for many decades and it was so satisfying to see it come alive this way!

It’s reasonable to expect that people from all walks of life should feel comfortable and safe when congregating in public spaces and that using these spaces for family friendly occasions should be welcome and encouraged. It is also reasonable to expect that the organizers should be able to provide the resources required to host such events. Furthermore, fostering events that invite all sorts of people to experience our beautiful downtown creates a sense of community for participating citizens and visitors alike.

On a sad note, anyone spending time in the downtown core will find it near impossible to be unaware of the serious troubles some residents, both housed and unhoused, are struggling with. Groups are often gathered in various locations to access services and for companionship. Tents are set up on the square as housing for some.

Many organizations and government agencies are working tirelessly to solve this painful crisis, which has proven to be very difficult to overcome.

I can’t authoritatively comment on a recently published letter to the editor, in which the vendor huts used at the market were proposed as a housing solution for the unhoused, other than to note that generally, complex problems beckon complex solutions. I will say I am grateful to live in a community where citizen engagement is practiced freely, providing insights and suggestions.

The Christmas market and seasonal events that took place on the weekend brought a lot of vitality and joy to the downtown and uplifted the spirits of many in attendance. It was fun and community building and I look forward to it in years to come.

Maria Case