Residents in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood are breathing a sigh of relief Monday after the truck convoy protest draws to an end.

Sarah Mack lives in Centretown and describes the past three weeks as ‘tortuous’ and ‘traumatizing.’

“I felt like I was a hostage in my own home for three weeks,” Mack explained. She says she was harassed and insulted by people parked outside her building and she had severe safety concerns, which forced her to stay somewhere else.

She says for the first time on Sunday, she felt comfortable leaving her home.

“I feel like I can actually walk around my streets, do groceries, without experiencing some kind of adrenaline rush trying to do so.”

Mack says she hopes the police operation is successful and protesters don’t return. She says she is “very happy to have my life back, my space back and my routine back on track.”

Streets like Lyon, Albert, Metcalfe, and Bank that were once lined with trucks and protesters are now near empty.

Residents say they are finally enjoying silence. Talia Ko is a first-year university student at the University of Ottawa. She says, “I feel so much better honestly. It was just so chaotic, even getting groceries. I am happy that it is quiet again.”

Ko is looking forward to getting back to in-person learning after reading week this week. Last week, the university switched to online learning and asked students not to come to campus for safety reasons.

Tim Abray lives in Centretown. He says he is feeling “a lot better than I was three weeks ago, relief! I think like most people in this neighbourhood I am feeling a ton of relief that we are past the crisis of it, and I think we are going to be pretty reflective in their neighbourhood for a while.”

Abray says it will take residents a while to fully recover from the occupation. “The big event, if you want to call it that, the occupation is over, but it has left such a bit mark on the community that people are going to be thinking about it and effected by it for quick some time.”

Traveling around the downtown core still involves passing police checkpoints, and there are still many detours on public transit bus routes; however, the O-Train resumed service through downtown.

The emotions of what has taken place right in front of people’s homes is still very raw. Gary Powell describes seeing RCMP officers walking on Somerset Street. He says, “I could see and woman walking the other way. I noticed that she stopped and thanked them. And I am sure they really appreciated it. And as she was walking by, she was wiping tears, and that’s the kind of relief that people are feeling.”