St. Patrick’s Day brings thousands back to Ezra

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

The streets were full of green this Thursday as people of the Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University area came to celebrate one of the most chaotic holidays of the year — St. Patrick’s Day.

From noon to the early evening, students and visitors flooded Ezra Avenue while officers from the Waterloo Regional Police Service managed the area.

Throughout the day, officers were seen guarding private residences, making sure students were drinking responsibly and keeping open alcohol off the streets.

“Police remove at least two kegs from an address on Hickory Street in Waterloo. #illegalsaleofalcohol #StPatricksDay,” the WRPS wrote on their Twitter account.

According to CTV Kitchener, police estimated over 5,000 people were on Ezra by mid-afternoon. The Seagram Drive tent party, which was introduced two years ago, did not go on this year, which may have accounted for the larger crowd. Instead, a smaller tent was placed behind The Pub on King on King Street.

An ambulance was called onto the Ezra-Clayfield area in the afternoon. A woman was later taken out on a stretcher. According to CTV, the woman was not seriously injured.

At Laurier, security officers navigated the campus throughout the day making sure there was no trouble.

“[There was] lots of activity but so far the reports have been positive. Students appear to have heard and responded to the messages about respect and safety,” said Kevin Crowley, director of communications and public affairs in an email to The Cord.

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Around 6 p.m., an ambulance was seen on campus, with witnesses claiming the fire alarm was pulled in the Peters Building.

Partygoers were also in for a surprise when a flash mob broke out on Ezra at 1:02 p.m. in honour of Gaby Barsky, a student from the University of Waterloo who passed away in December.

“I know that out of everyone that was here, I know the only person missing was Gaby. He would’ve had an amazing time and everybody was here for him,” said Sabrina Barsky, Gaby’s sister.

When asked why the flash mob was planned for St. Patrick’s Day, Barksy told The Cord it was to commemorate everything Gaby loved: “Drinking, girls, good times, friends, laughter, excitement, dancing, [and] everything that’s positive about university, about enjoying life, everything that is good and happy with this world is right here, right on Ezra.”

Among those participating in the flash mob were Gaby’s friends, family and loved ones, including his parents.

“It wouldn’t be the same thing if my parents weren’t here because as much as Gaby’s my twin, they’re his parents, he’s their son and this is just as big of a deal for them as it is for me and for all of his friends,” said Barksy.

WRPS will continue to monitor streets into the night.

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

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