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LETTER: Newmarket mall no longer a community gathering place

Post pandemic, it's 'deplorable' Upper Canada Mall is no longer fostering community activities and social interaction with walking programs cancelled, hours and parking limited
File photo/Greg King for NewmarketToday

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Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Upper Canada Mall was a venue that fostered community activities and social interaction. Now, with new management, the Sole Mates Walking program no longer exists. The Thursday fitness program for Moms and their babies in strollers is gone. The tai chi program is gone. All these activities promoted the importance of fitness but also fostered social interactions among seniors, new moms etc.

After people had finished their programs, they stayed in the food court to network with other participants and, of course, bought coffee/breakfast/lunch there. Many people made new friendships and looked forward, not only to their fitness programs, but also to meeting up with fitness friends. Afterwards many participants stayed to shop when the stores opened.

In addition to these fitness programs, a nurse came in each Wednesday to take blood pressures. Often, topics of particular importance to seniors and caregivers were presented, such as information about retirement homes in the community, reverse mortgages, how to retire in your own home etc.

The mall used to open at 6:30 a.m. to accommodate the walkers. Many of us would walk at that time each day and then proceed to our jobs.

Now, however, all these programs no longer exist. People who do want to walk at the mall can only do so at 8:30 a.m. The parking lot in front of the Market and Starbucks has been blocked by orange cones daily but is opened at 10 a.m. Seniors need to park in a lot that is close to the entrance. That parking lot fits the bill.

Having lived in Newmarket for more than 40 years, I find it deplorable that, in a time, post COVID, when people need socialization and fitness even more, management of the Upper Canada Mall has made the mall a very cold and unwelcoming place.

Linda Boyle