5 days ago
Waterloo Regional Police ready for St. Patrick’s party Arts & Entertainment, Lifestyle
By Linda Huynh
Waterloo Regional Police are gearing up for thousands of students expected to flood the streets around Wilfred Laurier University in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
“We’ve been working all year-round for this, we know it’s coming,” said Cherri Greeno, Media Relations Coordinator for Waterloo Regional Police.
Waterloo, home of Wilfred Laurier University and Waterloo University, is known for its infamous street party on Ezra Street where thousands of students dressed in green, celebrate the holiday. Greeno said to her understanding, that despite the unpredictable weather, the party is still going forward.
“Our main goal is safety and respect. We want people to have fun but are aiming to be proactive and make sure people show respect for the community. Not everyone is a student in that neighborhood, there are older residents so we just want to make sure people have respect for that,” said Greeno.
Last year police estimated over 5000 people attended and laid a total of 256 charges, mostly consisting open alcohol and underage drinking. Although the police presence was well known in Waterloo with multiple cruisers and officers patrolling the streets, students continued to celebrate in their own way.
Greeno said they have been working with by-law officials, fire department, first responders and Wilfred Laurier University itself.
“It’s a team effort, tomorrow will be all hands on deck,” she said.
The party begins anywhere from noon to about five or six in the evening on the street but continues in the bars and nightclubs said Laura Franco, Security Supervisor of The Bombshelter Pub, known as “Bomber” in Waterloo.
“Last year was hectic, I didn’t leave work until about 4 a.m. because there was so much paperwork,” said Franco.
Lines extended outside popular bars and clubs beginning as early as 8 p.m. last year. Franco said Bomber is well prepared for the crowd and the higher risk of alcohol consumption before entering the pub.
“It’s not something new around Waterloo during this time so the best we can do is prepare our team for any possible situation. For the most part, it’s just a time for students to celebrate with hundreds of other students looking to have a good time, and I’m happy I have a part in ensuring everyone does so safely,” she said.
With less than 24 hours left until St. Patrick’s day hits, students are preparing for the chaos, juggling between school and the party.
“I have a class at 10 a.m but have no plans of missing the party,” said Monica Januszek, third year, Business Administration student at Laurier. Originally from Waterloo, Januszek has not missed the past three years on the infamous street of Ezra and does not regret it one bit.
“It’s just always a good time. Everyone always comes down for it, so I always see people I haven’t seen since high school,” she said.
Growing each year, arguably the largest street party for St. Patrick’s Day, it is nothing out of the ordinary for the community in Waterloo.