First Summer Pedestrian Mall

By John Swartz

The tables were out on the street and hungry people came to sit at them. Friday night’s closing of Mississaga Street and the Arts District block of Peter drew a few hundred people, which by sidewalk sale standards is pretty poor, but for the purpose intended – to give businesses and restaurants a fighting chance at having some business – was just about right.

Nobody wanted thousands of people to flock downtown. Physical distancing worked because there was enough space to wander around, or sit and have a meal.

Several Arts District galleries also had staked space on the street – until the rain came, and went.

A surprise was the reopening of the Orillia Museum of Art and History. Only one main-floor gallery was open, showing work by Toronto artist, Sadko Hadzihasanovic (has had works in previous OMAH exhibits and donated several pieces to the gallery).

OMAH exhibit of Sadko Hadzihasanovic’s art.

When it came down to it, the entire stretch of Mississaga wasn’t closed as council authorized. Only the blocks between Matchedash and Peter, and West and Andrew were closed.  Some businesses weren’t ready to go out on the road, so those other blocks were kept open to traffic.

Hannah and Stacey Gray at OMAH

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(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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