Longtime Listowel crossing guard retires from Main Street post

·2 min read

NORTH PERTH – It was with mixed emotions Christine Ghesquire was helping children cross a busy Main Street on their way home from school on April 1.

“I don’t want to go now,” she said.

Ghesquire is retiring, hanging up her stop sign to move on to a new chapter in her life.

“I will still be a backup but I’m looking forward to the next chapter,” she said. “I’m going to miss the children – saying ‘good morning’ to them all and ‘have a good day.’”

Even the people who drive by each morning and afternoon, she has come to recognize them over the past eight years, three as a backup and five full-time, and she says she is going to miss that interaction as well.

She has got to know many students who have crossed the road at her intersection, Main Street and Nichol Avenue, on their way to school each day.

“We get to see them grow,” said Ghesquire. “They get taller and taller every year.”

Standing at the crosswalk in winter is something she said she won’t miss. She remembered a stretch of bitter winter days a year or two ago where the temperature was about minus-34 every morning – even though she was bundled up for the weather she recalled having to run to her car for warm-up breaks when she was waiting for kids.

It has been a job dealing with weather extremes from the very cold winter days to extremely hot summer days.

“Sometimes it rains the whole time you are here, standing out and you’re just soaked,” said Rick Elg, supervisor of operations for North Perth, who had shown up during her final shift to offer thanks on behalf of the municipality. He said that except for a few days off for medical appointments she never missed a day.

“I lived in Cambridge my whole life and I worked in the school system as a custodian – then we moved here,” she said. “I had always wanted to be a crossing guard and I never seemed to get hired on.”

Within a few months of moving to North Perth, the opportunity arose and she had her chance to become a crossing guard.

It was a good way to get to know people in a community where she was new.

Her parting message to the people she has grown so used to helping is to be careful when crossing the street at Main and Nichol.

“It’s a very busy intersection – be safe,” she said.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner