The City of Guelph unveiled the long-awaited rainbow crosswalk on Norfolk Street Thursday morning.
City councillors, community members, mayor Cam Guthrie and MPP Mike Schreiner were all in attendance to celebrate the completed crosswalk, many sharing their admiration for it.
For councillor Erin Caton in particular, the crosswalk means a lot.
“As a non-binary person, this means a lot to me,” Caton said. “Having moved to Guelph because I thought it was one of the more inclusive cities outside Toronto, that kind of validates my choice.”
Nearby resident Angela, who asked not to use her last name, took time out of her morning to walk by with her dog, making sure there weren’t any protesters.
She said she’s thrilled it’s in her neighbourhood so she can walk across it often.
“This makes somebody feel better and welcome in their city, especially with all the hate going around in southern Ontario. We need this. The queer citizens need this to feel safe, especially the kids,” she said.
“It's just a great symbol of inclusivity in the city,” said Cameron Grant, a community partner who had a hand in making the crosswalk happen. “I think it just shows that Guelph is a great inclusive place.”
But this is just the first step forward.
“There's a lot more work that can be done,” he said, and not necessarily in the form of crosswalks.
“I think this is a great visual symbol. But I think there’s always a lot of things behind the scenes, a lot of work that can still be done to support queer people,” Grant said.
For instance, he said working with the city to find new programs and new sources of funding for other queer initiatives.
The crosswalk had met some backlash online, causing the city to briefly make their Twitter account private.
“There's always people who are going to hate on what you do, and you just can't let them stop you. Because if we did, then things like this wouldn't happen,” Grant said.
“They can say what they want on Twitter, but this still happened,” he said, adding that for too long queer people have let others get them down.
“So this is a step of, we’re here, we’re queer, deal with it,” he said.
This is the second rainbow crosswalk in Guelph, but the first on city property. The other crosswalk is located at Stone Road Mall.