Reopening of Timmins Urban Park Market brings a sense of hope and optimism

As a celebration of Timmins' resilience against a harsh wave of COVID-19, local medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton took the honour of ringing in the Downtown BIA’s annual Urban Park Market.

Joined by emergency services officials and the city's mayor, Catton said it's a time to congratulate people for their efforts in battling the virus by enjoying a sense of normalcy.

"It’s great to see people out once again and (it’s) really a testament to the hard work of all of our community members and this excellent group here to really get our community through this pandemic," Catton said.

Daily case counts have slowed to single digits in the last week, which Timmins Mayor George Pirie said brings a sense of positivity, security and optimism to this year's market.

"Everybody’s ready for this. The city’s ready for this," Pirie said. "It’s just very nice to see people out in the streets, even with following all the safety protocols ... have the chance to have some good conversations."

From vendors catching up with customers to visitors reconnecting with people they may not have seen in person for months, to families enjoying the time outside — some said it’s a moment of levity in a lengthy global crisis.

"Everybody’s just happy to get out and see other people," said Betty Johnston, who came out to experience the first day of the market.

Catton noted that this doesn’t mean the fight is over, vaccination rates still need to rise and word from the province about further reopening steps are still needed, but she said people deserve to enjoy a local tradition in a COVID-safe way.

"I think it’s a strong testament to our northern resilience and ability to work together and rally around one another," she said.