Happy Thanksgiving! My eldest son moved to Kitchener-Waterloo last year to pursue his education. When he returns home for holidays or a visit, we often end up talking about how great it is in Guelph. Isn’t it funny that we have to hear it from someone outside the city to appreciate what a truly fabulous community we have?
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:
1. Caring citizens. Neighbours helping neighbours and the army of volunteers, organizations and charities who give so much and enrich the lives of those who need our help. We are the “most caring community in Canada” amd I am thankful for that.
2. Trees, parks and green space. I am thankful for Royal City Park, the Royal Recreational Trail, Riverside Park, Hanlon Creek Conservation Area, Preservation Park, and the “James Street to Barber Scout camp” trail where the city disappears and I can be reminded that Mother Nature will reclaim her territory when given any opportunity.
3. Art, music and dance. I am thankful to live in a city where creative minds are nurtured from a young age and allowed to shine. Thank you for the Guelph Studio Tour, Youth Music Centre, Hillside, Jazz Festival, Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, River Run Centre and the endless concerts in the park, art galleries, studios and street performers.
4. Clean water. Thank you to our city forefathers who secured a pristine water source for future generations, and to the current generation for conserving and protecting this valuable resource for the next generation.
5. Heritage Architecture. Thank you to the builders and developers of long ago who invested in quality structures to withstand the test of time. Our architecture is a physical link to the past and our buildings tell amazing stories. I am thankful for the citizens who preserve them, and those who stand up when our cultural icons are at risk.
6. Local business and labour. Thank you to the local businesses, large and small, who have made a conscious decision to call Guelph home. Our labour force is top-notch, our businesses give back to the community, and our economy has weathered a great storm this year because local businesses and workers stayed in the game.
7. Seniors and Youth. I am so thankful we live in a community that values all demographics — sports and recreation programs, educational programs, neighbourhood afterschool programs, the GW Seniors Association, the Youth Council, Kids Can Play and so many volunteer groups who provide opportunities for all ages to experience a high quality of life.
8. Public Safety. Thank you to the Guelph Police Service, the Fire Department and Land Ambulance services, for keeping us safe and secure. As the “saftest community in Canada”, we all play a role in working with our service providers to keep watch over our neighbourhoods.
9. The Farmer’s Market. I am thankful for the farmers who grow the food we eat and provide us with local produce, for the craftspeople and performers who make the weekly market a cultural experience.
10. Guelph’s founders. Everything we have today was handed to us by a previous generation. Our town plan, our railroad, our rivers, our university, industry, parks, ground water, even our newer subdivisions, came from careful planning and long-term vision.
I am thankful to be part of a continuum of excellence that, one hundred years from now, others might find cause to give thanks.
I could go on, but 10 is enough for one day. Happy Thanksgiving !