Vandalism in Minden’s downtown comes at time of elevated stress
By Jenn Watt
*See end of article for update
Each morning, Janine Harrison likes to take a walk through Minden’s downtown, making her way to Canadian Tire and back. She’s familiar with the local streetscape, so on Wednesday, April 29, she easily spotted new posters pasted on buildings along her route.
Although she didn’t immediately go up to read them closely, she said she could tell they were calling the coronavirus pandemic a hoax.
On her way back home, she took extra time on Bobcaygeon Road, documenting some of the posters and later uploading them to Facebook. Topics include coronavirus, 5G, and the media, among others.
While she said everyone has a right to their opinions, she was upset by the disregard for local businesses.
“Everybody has their own beliefs, I get it, but it was more the vandalized aspect of it that bothered me. I don’t know what [the posters are] stuck up there with. If you look at them, there’s something plastered all over them and then on the windows. I just thought that was what bothered me most. The stuff that they’re spouting, you’re going to find that no matter what’s going on in the world,” Harrison said.
Dana Mann, front shop manager at Pharmasave, said the posters brought additional stress to an already busy day for the pharmacy’s staff. Five posters were stuck to the front of their store.
“They were [stuck] on with some kind of substance that we were almost afraid to touch,” she said.
Although Pharmasave has a camera, Mann said she thinks cold temperatures frosted the lens and they do not have any images of who glued the posters to the store. She said she hopes someone along the street has a video.
Mike McKeon, one of the owners of Up River Trading Co., also spent time removing a poster from his window on Wednesday morning. He said he did not want anyone to think he agreed with the COVID-19 hoax messaging.
“We don’t agree with the statement. We are happy to close in the public’s best interest hoping to re-open as soon as it’s safe. People are allowed to have a voice, but please not on my property implying that I in any way agree,” he said.
He hoped attention given to the act of vandalism did not give a louder voice to whoever put the posters up.
“Although someone’s entitled to an opinion, I don’t want to give a voice to vandalists’ acts. This is real. This thing’s not a hoax. It’s real. … A lot of people have died from this and a lot more would have died had we not taken these measures,” he said.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, as of April 29, worldwide more than 224,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 and more than three million people have contracted the virus.
*Update (April 30): This incident is currently under investigation by the Haliburton Highlands OPP. Video of the street obtained by police to date is not clear enough to identify suspects, a spokesperson for the OPP said. The investigation is ongoing.