Tickets, fines issued at large Guelph gathering on Homecoming weekend
Tickets and fines were handed out at a large gathering in Guelph over Homecoming weekend.
The gathering was outside an off-campus student housing complex on Saturday night.
The University of Guelph and the city's mayor both expressed disappointment over the large gathering because of COVID-19 concerns.
Guelph police said hundreds of people came to the party on Chancellors Way, and there were more than 1,000 people at certain points of the night.
"It was just a big party blockade, it was sort of hard to avoid especially since I love on this street," said Carson Wilson, who witnessed the party.
In a statement, U of G president Charlotte Yates said she was disappointed by the size of the gathering and some of the behaviours that took place. She also thanked emergency services for their efforts. She said the university will be working collaboratively to find solutions.
The university also said there were reports of litter, people in shopping carts and vehicles being unable to leave the area because of the crowd. Officials also said there were incidents of bottles being thrown, hitting people and vehicles.
The University of Guelph's Campus Safety Office responded to other gatherings on campus on both Friday and Saturday, where tickets were issued for trespassing, alcohol consumption and other violations.
Mayor Cam Guthrie expressed his displeasure on social media, saying the participant were only thinking of themselves and put many at-risk, including emergency service staff.
"I was disappointed, especially the large gathering that was illegal happened a mere steps from the front door of our public health unit," he said in an interview with CTV News. "We still have public health guidelines and many of the students that are here you are guests in our city, we are one of the most vaccinated cities in Canada but it doesn’t mean you flaunt the rules."
The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph health unit said large gatherings like the one held on the weekend can "lead to a surge" of COVID-19 cases.
"WDG Public Health is aware of the unsanctioned gathering that took place on Chancellors Way this weekend. Large events that ignore public health guidelines put attendees and the wider community at risk," the health unit said in a statement. "We urge anyone who attended this gathering to avoid unnecessary contacts, monitor themselves for symptoms and get tested if symptoms appear.”
Many students who spoke to CTV Kitchener said they understand concerns about the pandemic, but also know that students want to party.