The community weighs in on St. Patrick’s Day

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Graphic by Alan Li

Ahh mid-March!

A time when the not-Irish and stressed university students come together to drink belligerently and fill the streets of Ezra.

The pressure of making “Ezra great again” might be high this year due to the fear in some students instilled by Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS).

There has been an increase in buzz of stricter regulations this year and to my knowledge WRPS are seeking help from the Peel region.

The divide between what the city wants versus the students is quite unanimous so I thought it would be a good opportunity to go and see what the local businesses thought of the celebrations.

Laurier is very well known for their street parties and promotes heaps of students from not only institutions in Waterloo, but all post-secondary institutions.

Personally, I believe that it is a day where students should have the freedom to have a responsible fun time after a long stressful year with finals right around the corner.

I am worried about the backlash these rules might promote which would ultimately end up in an unsafe environment for the entire community.

In order to understand how the celebrations effect local businesses, I spoke with Alexis Faulkner (A) from the Harmony Lunch and Laurie Hannoush (L) from Bare Essentials, both located in Uptown Waterloo.

1.Do you think the St. Patrick’s day celebration is getting out of hand and should there be tighter controls in place?

A. This will be my first time in Uptown for St. Patrick’s day.

Through my past experience, I don’t believe that it needs to go to the extreme that it usually goes to.

L. I feel like it does get out of hand due to the police watching on Ezra. For the most part we do a majority of the people watching and we see it all the time.

Oktoberfest gets hectic but St. Patrick’s does have a large stigma directed to it.

I hear of stories and sometimes the desire to drink on this holiday is what makes people want to go overboard.

2. If you could implement your own regulations for the day what would they be?

A. Even though this is already a law I would say no drinking in public areas and keeping it in a private space.

L. No public drinking. As a driver in the area I need to be extra careful of someone who is unaware. [The intersection of] Albert and King Street is very dangerous for me and the public walking around intoxicated.

3.Does your business reap any benefits or is it bad for business?

A. It is beneficial! We are doing a green milkshake deal served with alcohol. Students are able to come here and uptown is always busy.

L. We get busy from customers who want to prep for the parties.

4.Would you like to see other celebrations in the city or uptown Waterloo? 

A. Yes, I want to see more on King Street. My past experience in Paris, Ontario, they would frequently do many street celebrations such as a Santa Claus Parade and I thought it was awesome.

L. Events for the community are good in a safe manner. We always see people every month due to the heavy traffic of events in the community.

The previous closures in Uptown slowed down business for a bit, but it reopening has helped to pick up speed again.

With this in mind we thank the small businesses of Waterloo who tolerate the responsible and not so responsible students. It’s important to be respectful of the community where the university is located while you are visiting.

As a final note, I would like to wish you all a very happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

I would also like to extend the luck of my own Irish background in hopes that you find your own pot of gold this weekend, or at least that you don’t get any tickets.

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