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(Guelph's top 10 stories of the year) #2: Downtown banner causes a flap

A historic banner depicting the mug shots of the infamous Woods brothers caused an uproar
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This banner caused an uproar last June, with many feeling it was insensitive to the victim and her family. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

(Starting Dec. 22 and ending Dec. 31, GuelphToday will count down its top 10 stories of 2017.)

The Downtown Guelph Business Association had the best of intentions with 151 banners showing highlights of Guelph's history erected on light poles in the Downtown Area in June.

But one of the banners, which were part of Canada 150 celebrations, caused quite a stir.

That particular banner on Norfolk Stree showed the mug shots of the notorious Woods brothers, convicted in 1986 for their roles in the 1984 murder of a Guelph woman named Karen Thomson.

Many were outraged, including Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, who criticized the banner on social media, calling it "insensitive, ill-conceived and should be removed."

"Public displays that remind residents of vicious murders and violence against women is unacceptable," said the mayor.

The DGBA initially defended the banner as showing part of Guelph's history, warts and all. But as public outcry got louder, the DGBA chose to remove the banner.

DGBA Executive Director Marty Williams said the association didn't want the controversy over one banner to detract from the overall good of the project.

"If this was going to detract from all that, then we need to pull it and move on," he said. "It was never our intent to hurt anybody's feelings."