Community Politics

City allowing car parades to continue, emphasizing caution

A memo was sent to city council.

The frequent vehicle parades taking place across Guelph will be allowed to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic but city officials caution that physical distancing requirements should be followed in a memo to city councillors on Tuesday.

Vehicles part of a birthday parade in April, 2020. /Eli Ridder

Though encouraging residents to celebrate special occasions in a “virtual, non-contact way”, the city acknowledged the drive-by parades that have become popular for birthdays and retirement homes and reminded the public to follow guidelines.

“If people have arranged for a drive by celebration, we remind everyone to follow Public Health’s guidelines regarding social and physical distancing, as well as ensure that all vehicles are obeying the rules and requirements of the roadway,” the memo said.

The memo was shared by east end Ward 1 Coun. Dan Gibson who posted the email from city hall executives to councillors on Twitter.

Similar parades have been limited in other Ontario cities.

Many of the Royal City’s parades have been organized through the Guelph Kids Social Distancing Parade Facebook group and are happening on a near-daily basis.

One of the organizers, Jennifer Lynn, said that the parades have a positive impact on mental health.

“Mental health is overlooked in our society as it is — even more so during a pandemic and really needs to be addressed,” Lynn told GuelphWire on Tuesday.

“These parades make so many members of the community happy,” she explained, whether it be “the kids receiving them, the people participating in them [or] people on the streets waving and cheering us on.”

Lynn pointed to the 350 per cent increase in calls to the Kids Helpline, adding that children “absolutely need a little bit of cheering up.”

(Reporting by Eli Ridder)