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Updated: Apr 5, 2023

November 10, 2022

Waterloo Region, Ontario. A proposal is on the table to convert a former senior’s care home in thecommunity of Maryhill into a guesthouse for Ukrainian families fleeing their war-torn country. This 13-unit property would operate in a similar manner to the existing Woolwich Guest House for Ukrainian Refugees in Transition located in the town of St. Jacobs, also in Woolwich township.

Owner Karen Martin has generously offered to set up this new guesthouse on her large property that sits adjacent to St. Boniface Church in Maryhill, but she needs a minor variance from Woolwich township to move forward. MINOR VARIANCE APPLICATION A 31/2022 – Karen Martin, 44 St. Charles Street East, Maryhill has been initiated, “requesting relief from [Zoning] Section 2.55, definition of a Group Home, to suspend the licensing requirement for a group home in order to permit specialized housing needs for a broader range of people (i.e., refugees and /or other individuals requiring group living).  No exterior changes to the property or the building are proposed.” Woolwich Committee of Adjustment meets on November 15, 2022 to make their decision regarding the minor variation.

Ukrainian families continue to arrive in the Region and are in desperate need of short-term

accommodation that could be provided by this proposed guesthouse. One such family is Vitaly, 29 years old, and his wife Evgenia, 28 years old, along with their 3 young children who fled Ukraine on day 100 of the war because they were struggling to find diapers and milk for their children. Vitaly and Evgenia are highly educated but have been stranded for months as refugees in Italy awaiting permission to arrive in Canada. Vitaly, who is fluent in English, has been working 15hrs a day as a dishwasher and part-time cook and has recently taken work in a metal fitting painting factory to support his family. They have been living in small 430sqft apartment where Evgenia takes care of their 4yr old son and 1yr old twins on her own. Amazingly enough, Vitaly remains positive and is eager to find work and shelter when his family arrives in the Region.

Waterloo Region Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis (WRGR) is a group of residents in Waterloo Region who are helping support displaced people fleeing the War in Ukraine. We are looking for anyone in the community of Maryhill, Woolwich Township, or in Waterloo Region to send a message of support to the Woolwich Committee of Adjustment for the creation of this new space for displaced Ukrainians. WRGR will be partnering with the owner and creating a team to support this transitional guesthouse project.

Please email as soon as possible, referencing support for Variance

Application A 31/2022. WRGR can be contacted at or 519-242-8524.

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October 31, 2022 Waterloo Region, Ontario. Ukrainian families are still coming into Waterloo Region. Some have recently arrived and although they may have found employment they are often still in need


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