Wow! It’s hard to believe that December is upon us, and before you know it, we will be saying goodbye to 2021 and welcoming the new year 2022! It goes without saying that the past year, and in fact the past 20+ months have been challenging for all of us as we have adjusted our lives in response to the realities of the COVID-19 global pandemic. But despite these challenges, 2021 saw the arrival of the vaccine and as we look forward to putting aspects of this year behind us, we do so knowing that almost 90% of us in Waterloo region are vaccinated, and vaccinations started this past weekend for those between 5 and 11 years of age.
As we look forward to the end of the year, I do want to thank Carrie and Helen and their small Kitchener Citizen team for providing the mechanism to stay in contact with you over the past year with community focused updates from myself and members of Council. I also want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your continued support and guidance over the past year as our community navigated the new realities that the pandemic brought upon us. On behalf of myself, Kitchener City Council and our staff – I wish each of you and your families all the best during the upcoming holiday season. May 2022 bring health, happiness, success and a continued return to normal for all of us. Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year 2022!
HOLIDAY SEASON COMES ALIVE IN DOWNTOWN KITCHENER
This coming weekend, Downtown Kitchener will welcome the 25th anniversary of the Christkindl Market. While COVID-19, coupled with the ongoing construction of Carl Zehr Square doesn’t allow things to return quite to normal yet – the festival committee has organized the 25th celebrations in a hybrid manner with some online activities, as well as an outdoor street presence with some of your favourite retailers on Gaukel Street at the entrance to Victoria Park. Please join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this beloved Christmas tradition, and look forward to returning to a more traditional festival back in Carl Zehr Square for Christmas 2022.
This Saturday, December 4th, Christmas Fantasy also returns to Victoria Park in Downtown Kitchener and runs through until Orthodox Christmas in January. View a spectacular display of festive lights that adorn the trees, buildings, and bridges of Victoria Park. It’s free to enjoy nightly throughout the holiday season.
For the first time ever, we are also planning some Christmas Artisan Markets at the Kitchener Market. Running the weekends of December 11/12 and 18/19 from 10-4 each day, please join us for a curated selection of some of the best artisan vendors in Waterloo Region, along with delicious food and drinks from local vendors and restaurants. Holiday entertainment, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a synthetic ice surface are there for all to enjoy.
And check out www.kitchener.ca/events, closer to New Year’s Eve, to find out details about this year’s City of Kitchener’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
NEW YEAR’S LEVEE 2022
This year, the City of Kitchener will once again be hosting a New Year’s Levee, but due to COVID-19, it will be primarily outdoors, with some indoor components and it will be located at the Kitchener Market. Food, entertainment and activities will take place. Planned for Sunday January 23rd, please check out www.kitchener.ca/events for details.
FCM RELEASES “PARTNERS FOR CANADA’S RECOVERY” – PROPOSALS FOR THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF CANADA’S NEW PARLIAMENT
Last week, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board met in person for the first time since March 2020 and presented a vision for Canada’s recovery to the federal government and opposition parties. As the 44th Parliament begins its work and looking forward to a potential Federal Fall Economic Statement and the 2022 Federal Budget, municipal leaders are putting forward local solutions to pressing national challenges.
The last 20 months have showed what is possible when governments work together and as we come out of the pandemic, all orders of government need to continue working together as we focus on driving the kind of inclusive, sustainable recovery Kitchener residents and all Canadians need and deserve. The City of Kitchener stands ready to work with the federal government and all political parties by providing local solutions to national challenges because we know that many of Canada’s biggest challenges can be addressed first, fastest and most effectively at the local government level. From affordable housing to climate change, and economic renewal to transit and so much more, our solutions can deliver results directly in the communities from coast to coast to coast where people live, work and raise their families.
The document, titled Partners for Canada’s Recovery, puts forward nonpartisan local solutions that create jobs and tackle some of Canada’s biggest recovery challenges. They include:
· Secure, affordable housing
· Accelerating climate action
· Safe and healthy communities
In the New Year, FCM board and committee members, together with some members of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus will be meeting with MP’s and Ministers to advocate for the priorities important to Canada’s cities and communities like Kitchener and all the municipalities within our region.