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LETTER: Banning morning walkers a mean move, Upper Canada Mall

Ending walking, moms with strollers programs reveals hypocrisy of Newmarket mall's value statement — it 'recognizes the importance of the community,' they just don’t care to support it, letter writer says  
2021 07 06 Upper Canada Mall
Upper Canada Mall

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Re: Letter to the editor, Newmarket mall no longer a community gathering place, March 29, 2023.

I agree with Linda Boyle and her recent letter commenting that Upper Canada Mall has stopped being a caring community partner in Newmarket as it has banned certain no-cost social activities (for example, morning mall walking and stroller moms gatherings) that previously took place on its property.

Honestly, a mean move, Upper Canada Mall, to ban early morning mall walkers and moms with strollers from pre-opening gatherings, and the mall should be called out on this one. 

When my wife and I retired, for about two years we walked in Upper Canada Mall for exercise almost every day at 7 a.m. before stores opened. We met others who had been getting their early-morning exercise this way for more than 20 years. We also met younger people still in the workforce who were knocking off their power walk before they headed to work. Sadly, when COVID-19 hit, all such gatherings necessarily had to stop. 

It is good to see things opening up again. But we are surprised that Upper Canada Mall has decided to hold onto one sad legacy of the pandemic: no community gatherings here, please. I guess they don’t see any profit in it. I imagine the chief accountant intoning, mall walkers and moms with your strollers, be gone!

That early morning mall walking was good not only for us and other walkers but also for merchants. Even though we were in the mall before stores opened, we became keenly aware of what merchant was where and what stores had something we should come back for later in the day. And we did. So did many of the friends we made during those years of early morning mall walks. 

I am struck by … sorry to say… the corporate hypocrisy of the high-toned value statement that Upper Canada Mall publishes on its website about community: (I quote) “Upper Canada Mall recognizes the importance of the community.” I guess they “recognize” it. They just don’t care to support it. 

If you’re an early morning mall walker and check out what Upper Canada Mall has for you on its website, it amounts to… just go away. (You are directed to a third-party website from a not-for-profit where you can give money.) If you’re a mom with a stroller hoping to meet other moms for walks at this mall, you’re just told to go away period. Upper Canada Mall helpfully advises the stroller mom to go “online” and look for something somewhere else. 

I have called the mall administration office several times over the last year and asked them to reinstate the important community programs they used to support. They staff were polite but I was told basically the same message you get on the website about these activities: please go away. OK, message received. And we will (go away, that is). And we won’t shop there anymore either.

Rick Butts & Vicki McBryde