Thank You Ward 2

I enjoyed it.

Thank you neighbours and friends for your encouragement and support from beginning to end of this journey.

Thank you to strangers who became encouraging friends and supporters.

Thank you for welcoming me at your door and on your porches, doorsteps, driveways, yards, garages and sheds.

Thank you for being polite even if you were busy, disinterested, or committed to other candidates.

Thank you for your questions which I did my best to answer, plainly and honestly.

Thank you for your interest in Guelph and how things work, and why things are the way they are.   Plainly and honestly – the more I learned before and during this campaign, the more I realized how complex and interconnected the city’s affairs really are.

Thank you for voting and showing the value of civic engagement.

Thank you for voting for me, and the confidence you showed in me and my approach.  I believe Ward 2’s new counsellors will serve us well.  I still care deeply about Guelph and the challenges we face, and will continue to participate in my community.  I hope you will too.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.  I hope we meet again soon.


Mary wave


The Ward 2 Debate

Oct 10 Debate on Rogers Community TV

Watch here .  We were asked to address a number of issues affecting Ward 2 and Guelph, including

  • development
  • transportation
  • crime and policing
  • cannabis
  • campaign styles
  • where we live

I enjoyed this opportunity to provide you with my approach to some of the issues the next Council will be dealing with.  If you have any questions or concerns, I’d be happy to address them.

Vote Monday, October 22.



Are you a tenant? Here’s why you need to vote on October 22.

Wasp Nest

Because you can

If you’re over 18 and a Canadian citizen and live here, you can vote in the Guelph municipal elections.

Fortunately, the right to vote in Canada is not tied to land ownership, but to citizenship.  Don’t be put off by politicians who talk about ‘taxpayers’.  If you’re here, one way or another, you’re paying taxes.  You pay property taxes in the city through your rent and with every local purchase – because part of what you are paying for pays the overhead that pays the taxes.

Because its in your best interests

Think Guelph city politics don’t matter to you?

Here are some of the issues that have been debated in this election and are going to be showing up (yet again) at City Hall:

  • Transit
  • Parking
  • Parks and trails
  • Garbage and recycling
  • Crime
  • Housing affordability
  • Cannabis

Your next City Council will be deciding these issues and more – and they are the things that affect everyday quality of life.

If you want your interests addressed, you have to show an interest.

Tenants’ voices can protect rental housing.

The next City council will vote on affordable housing strategy, including new and secondary units.  One issue that has not been addressed is how to protect existing rental stock while we already have low vacancy numbers, and housing affordability continues to deteriorate.

Because you should

Voting is easy, doesn’t take a lot of time and it makes you feel good about being Canadian. Voting is the one thing you are asked to do every four years or so to keep democracy alive.

Voter turnout in Ward  2 in the last election was 48% – which was the highest in the city – and that was with online voting.  Overall, city turnout was 45%.  Demographically, only 26% of the votes were cast by people under 39.  This means that City politics is decided in the majority by homeowners age from 40 to 100 or more.   (You can see the 2014 voter statistic data here.)

Here’s the when and where

Monday, October 22, 2018 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

If you didn’t get a voter card in the mail, or the one that showed up at your door had the wrong name, you can vote with ID and something that has your Guelph address on it – it could be a utility bill, or  anything from this long list (although please do not use your health card as ID for this or anything else – its a privacy risk).

In Ward 2 you can vote any of these handy locations:

Brant Avenue Public School                                                         62 Brant Avenue

Ecole Guelph Lake Public School                           595 Watson Parkway North

Evergreen Seniors Community Centre                              683 Woolwich Street

First Baptist Church                                                                255 Woolwich Street

New Life Christian Reformed Church                         400 Victoria Road North

The Village of Riverside Glen                                         60 Woodlawn Road East

Trinity United Church                                                400 Stevenson Street North

Each location is accessible and has plenty of parking.

If you need a ride to the polls, please let me know – volunteers are standing by!

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Reflections from the Ward 2 campaign trail



60% of 10,000 postcards or door-hangers personally delivered – just about every one with a knock on the door.  Thank you Ward 2 for your kindness, encouragement, and very, very interesting conversations.  Hoping to get the next 4,000 done in the next two weeks – that’s a lot of walking and talking and I’m looking forward to it – meeting and hearing from you is the best part of this journey.

Questions asked and answered:

  • where I live
  • candidates’ affiliations and electoral ‘slates’
  • crime
  • transit
  • garbage and recycling
  • traffic, parking and bike routes
  • trees, parks and trails
  • infrastructure and city construction programs
  • housing
  • cannabis

Elect Mary Thring Ward 2 Campaign Sign


75% of 100 signs installed.  Boulevards and front yards await these last few!  Better out there with you than my living room.

I’ve answered emails and filled out surveys on everything from water to the arts to the Humane Society.  I’ve filled out questionnaires for Guelph Today, the Guelph Mercury Tribune, Guelph Politico  and been interviewed by Open Sources Guelph, community radio.

Meetings, meetings, meetings:

In September I went to London, Ont to attend a day-long seminar on municipal finance designed for candidates.  Fun fact:  The convenor (an Ottawa-based expert in the field) has conducted this service (which I paid for from my campaign) for the last three municipal elections.  He invited 255 candidates from across south-western Ontario – and there were 17 of us at the table – with only one other candidate from Guelph. I learned that municipal finance is extremely complex, and that it is vital to understand how our city’s budget process works and our true financial situation.  Guelph is a $500 million a year corporation, limited in its funding options and virtually dependent on its residential tax revenue.  Counsellors can’t afford to act like Barbie and say “math is hard” and leave the City’s finances up to staff and seat-of-the-pants decision making.

I attended the City’s meeting to learn staff’s solution for the proposed Speedvale underpass.  There was a large turnout of interested people and four Ward 2 candidates in attendance  There remain a lot of unknowns about this project.

I attended a neighbourhood community safety meeting, and heard residents share their experiences, concerns and potential solutions (short and long-term) with me and three other candidates.

I accepted an invitation to tour the Nestle water plant in Aberfoyle, subject of such controversy in Guelph.  I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about the water issue from Nestle’s point of view, along with candidates from neighbouring townships.  Only two other candidates from Guelph attended – both from Ward 2.

I had the opportunity to tour the Cityview Village Habitat for Humanity project with other candidates, and was so impressed by these new homes.  I wish we had many more similar projects across the City.

I attended the “meet and greet” for candidates before the mayoral debate at the Italian Canadian Club and met more folks from Ward 2, including former counsellors Ian Findlay and Vicki Beard.  People are committed and interested in this election and I find that very exciting.  We have a potential for real change on October 22.

We will be meeting this week to finalize the topics for the Ward 2 all-candidates debate on Wednesday Oct. 10 and I’ll be doing my homework and debate prep.

Also on the schedule – a long-delayed meeting with Mike Schreiner, Guelph’s MPP.  I’m hoping to gain some insight from him on provincial – municipal issues, and where we can find solutions to some of our more pressing issues (see questions asked and answered above).

And also coming up, a meet-up with the Guelph Committee for Active Transportation.  I won’t be joining the cycling portion of the program, but do look forward to meeting and learning more from this group.

Now, more door knocking and sign planting, meeting and greeting, and listening to what you have to say.  Like I said, that’s the best part.

Mary wave



Ward 2 All Candidates Debate is Set

Wednesday, Oct 10:  7:30 p.m.  First Baptist Church

I’m looking forward to this – a chance for all the Ward 2 candidates to share their thoughts and visions for a role on Guelph City Council.

Are there questions you would like addressed?  We will be meeting on October 4 to work out topics and format.  Please let me know.

Alternatively, there will be time devoted for audience questions.

Short of voting, this is as close as it gets to participatory democracy, folks.  I hope to see a great turnout.

Ward 2 All Candidates Debate Wed Oct 10

The signs are here!

Coming soon to a boulevard or a front yard in Ward 2!

Elect Mary Thring Ward 2 Campaign Sign

They may not be pretty, but they sure are eye-catching.

If you’d like one let me know: ASAP delivery and retrieval after Oct. 22 guaranteed.


Mary Thring Candidate for Ward 2 Guelph

I am excited and honoured to be your candidate for Ward 2.  I love Guelph and I love my neighbourhood, and I’m sure you do too.  From the edge of downtown through river trails, major thoroughfares and buildings that range from national historic sites to modern classics, Ward 2 has it all.   No love is perfect, however.

There is always room for improvement.  In Guelph, the hows and whys of City Hall can be truly head-scratching.  Taxes are high, priorities are ill-defined and vision is in short supply.

Things can be done differently.

Over the next few weeks, here and in conversations with you,  I will be sharing my views on the issues confronting Guelph, and how we can approach solutions.

You can help me by telling me your concerns and ideas.

I’m not running to run things.  I’m running to take the interests of the people in Ward 2 to City Hall.

Your thoughts and opinions matter.  Your vote matters.  Ward 2 matters.




Accountability means that elected officials and those who are paid by the public purse are absolutely responsible to the people who entrust them with the stewardship of their interests.  A city councillor should balance the viewpoints of all stakeholders and should not represent any particular special interest or advocacy group.  Guelph needs greater transparency in its finances and a commitment to responsibly managing its resources and services for the benefit of all residents.

As councillor for Ward 2, I will be

  • Responsible
  • Independent
  • Sensible
  • Effective

See how here

“Is removing the snow a right-wing or left-wing idea? Is fixing the potholes more New Democrat or Conservative?” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi

Quality of Life

I would like all of us to feel safe in our homes, have access to green space and have a sense of stability and optimism about our neighbourhoods and communities.

These are the issues that we need to address:

  • Crime and Community Policing
  • The Opioid Crisis
  • The Environment
  • Growth
  • Housing
  • Jobs

You can read more about my platform and approach here

Goldie Mill: How Guelph manages parks, heritage and construction

A cautionary tale in ruins

Spare a thought for Goldie Mill, the imprisoned jewel of Wolfond Park.  It is a romantic ruin that speaks of Guelph’s industrial past.  It was the site of Guelph’s first saw mill, opened in 1827. Early maps clearly show the mill pond in the Speed and today’s topography, with the up and down of the trail and remaining stone walls along the river. Over the years it became a flour mill, a distillery, a tannery and a piggery, intensive uses we can be grateful have been zoned far beyond the residential core of the city.  Goldie Mill is designated by the City of Guelph under the Provincial Heritage Act. You can learn more about its history from the registry of Canada’s Historic Places.

Goldie Mill has been a popular landmark, hired out by the City for weddings and festivals, serving as an outdoor performance space for music and theatre.  Enlightened teachers bring classes here to learn about Guelph’s important industrial history.

It featured modest but tidy gardens that included heritage roses and native species.  It’s a particularly popular spot with finches and sparrows, and their nesting songs are a welcome harbinger of spring.

Over the past decade or so, sink holes began to appear in the paved path at the north end of the mill.  The response was to periodically dump more asphalt into the holes and thus repair the path.

(As an aside, the location of these holes, and their counterparts on the other side of the river, suggest that they are part of the original water channel to drive the mill.  With some imaginative archival engineering, the channel could be daylighted and fitted with a secure steel grate, creating a teaching tool to illustrate the river’s importance to the mill.)

In 2016, the reappearance of the sink holes forced a more thoughtful response from the City and GRCA.  The first and immediate response was to fence off a portion of the mill and path, thus closing a useful trail loop.  In 2017, soils tests were conducted and revealed potential toxins.  The immediate response was to expand the fencing around the mill and further restrict access, including to parks maintenance workers.  In 2018, test results in hand, the City and GRCA devised a plan that would involve capping the toxic soils on the site, as well as doing some repairs to the Mill itself.

According to the City of Guelph’s latest updates this work is to be completed by late summer or early fall 2018, with bookings to resume for spring / summer 2019.  It is now September 2018.  Work has yet to commence, beyond yet another expansion of fencing.

There is one other piece to this: In 2011, demolition of two city properties adjacent to the Baker Street lot was delayed in order to accommodate chimney swifts, migratory birds that are a threatened species.  After careful study, it was determined that the birds could find a new roost in the chimney at Goldie Mill.  The demolition on Wyndham Street was delayed until the birds departed, usually anticipated as late September.

The original announcement for the 2018 work at Goldie Mill would have had heavy equipment on site through late summer into early fall.  Perhaps the delay was for the chimney swifts?

Or perhaps it’s a Guelph approach to problem-solving:  put a fence around it, keep the people out, and, if they ask, tell them ‘we’re working on it.’

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