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If you were thinking of getting rowdy tomorrow night, think again

Police are going to be keeping an extra close eye on St. Patrick's Day revellers this year
st patricks drinks
If you're planning to whoop it up like these people, at least be safe about it

Guelph Police will step up enforcement efforts to ensure the safety of citizens and property during tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The occasion tends to be a rowdy one in the city. 

“St. Patrick’s Day is a significant event in Guelph and does indeed cause a higher than normal level of calls for service,” police spokesperson Const. Christopher Probst said in an email response to questions. 

“Guelph Police works with other community partners to take a proactive role with St. Patrick ’s Day to help ensure that it’s a safe celebration for all,” he added. 

St. Patrick’s Day reverie generally starts in the afternoon and goes to the wee hours of the following morning. The downtown is the hub of the celebratory scene, and there have been numerous incidents and charges in the past stemming particularly from public drunkenness.

“The biggest concern for police is making sure celebrations occur in a safe manner,” Probst added. “All the planning and coordinated enforcement is to ensure that everyone enjoys St. Patrick’s Day in a safe and respectful manner.”

Guelph Police, along with partners at the City of Guelph and University of Guelph’s Campus Community Police are eager to remind the public to drink responsibly, and to not get behind the wheel after drinking. Anyone witnessing a drunk driving incident should call 911.

“Guelph Police are already working with various licensed establishments in a community partnership,” Probst said.  “If someone is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Party, it’s important that the host is responsible to ensure their guests have a safe way home.” 

While St. Patrick’s Day revelers tend to flow fluidly in large groups through the downtown and other areas, Guelph Police wants pedestrians for their own safety to cross streets at designated locations. The police service is asking motorists to be especially mindful of pedestrians on roads.

People at bars and private parties should not leave drinks unattended.

Once again this year, Guelph Police will be live-tweeting from various locations in the city, disseminating safety tips, crowd management information, and updates on enforcement efforts. Access the tweets at #safestpattys.

Foot and vehicle patrols will be carried out throughout the day and night tomorrow. Enforcement efforts will be concentrated primarily in the downtown core and in the south end. And active R.I.D.E. program will be operational, with checkpoints throughout the city.  

Statistics from St. Patrick’s Day enforcement efforts over the past two years are representative of the extent of alcohol-related offenses surrounding the occasion. In 2014, there were 34 open liquor violations, nine public intoxication charges, and eight charges for the unlawful sale of alcohol.  And last year there were 25 open liquor charges, six for public intoxication, and none for unlawful sale.

While the revelry tends to focus on the bar scene, there are widespread and diverse St. Patrick’s Day offerings on the occasion. There’s the Lady’s Open St. Patrick’s Day Bonspiel happening at the Guelph Curling Club beginning in the morning. And Grammy winning reggae artist Sean Paul is in town for a performance at Guelph Concert Theatre.

Numerous businesses celebrate all things Irish this time of year. With the Grain bakery and café at 294-295 Woolwich Street has a number of Irish-themed treats on the menu, including Irish soda bread, lucky lime cheesecake squares, and Irish Beef Stew, and Candies of Merritt at 344 Speedvale Avenue E. is offering Irish cream and Irish coffee fudge. Borealis Grille and Bar is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Revel Cider Dinner beginning at 6 p.m. 


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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