Guelph roller skater goes viral online in video spreading 'good vibes'

Joshua Harper was out for an afternoon skate this week in front of Guelph’s city hall when his smooth moves caught the attention of Mayor Cam Guthrie, who posted the video online.

“I see a lot of interesting things out my window at city hall, but when I was working there that afternoon and I saw him skating I was just like 'this is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time,'” Guthrie said.

Two days later the video has tens of thousands of views on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Harper said he is overwhelmed by the positive response.

“It was just a positive feeling knowing that people were feeling my energy,” said Harper. “That's all I ever want, is to just spread good vibes. That’s what skating has always been about for me.”

According to Harper, roller skating initially began as a way to pass the time during the pandemic, but it has quickly become a passion and a way to connect to the global roller skating community, including a crew in Guelph.

Jared Kerr, a fellow skater and member of Harper's crew, said every time they are out for a skate they notice people stopping and smiling.

“The older people look at it with nostalgia, younger people look at it with wonder," he said. "And a lot of people will see it and their initial thought is 'oh roller skating I want to try that.'”

According to the owners of Retro Rollers Inc. in Wellesley, thanks to videos like the one featuring Harper, classic roller skates have been flying off the shelves

“It’s been a resurgence for sure. It’s always been around but now there's been a heightened interest in it for sure,” said Philip Morris, one of the co-founders.

Harper said he hopes to inspire more people to pick up a pair of skates and hopes to work with the city to host skating events down the road, to spread joy and get everyone rocking and rolling.