--- Gatineau renews winter programming
Wanting to provide locals with something fun to do during the coldest season of the year despite the pandemic, the city of Gatineau has announced its programming for the winter of 2020-21. According to a press release issued by the city on December 8, municipal activities will be adapted to conform to the provincial government’s COVID-19 safety standards to keep everyone involved safe. To respect the currently recommended safety measures, the city said its indoor and outdoor culture and leisure winter programming will be cancelled this year. So, the Services des loisirs, des sports, et du développement Communautaire, the Services des Arts, de la culture, et des lettres are working on a different set of activities to engage the population this winter.
For indoor activities, the city intends to maintain the same number of available hours for free-participation activities as last fall, despite culture and leisure programming being cancelled.
Outdoors, the city intends on providing a wide variety of free, accessible and safe activities for residents and 79 local outdoor rinks, 14 sliding hills, and two outdoor activity hubs are expected to be open this winter.
Due to COVID-19, activities can only feature a maximum of 25 participants and people are encouraged to participate alone or in pairs. The Ruisseau de la Brasserie and Parc Lac-Beauchamp outdoor rinks will have augmented capacities. While no specific timeline has been established – all weather dependent – the city intends to place a couple of hockey nets at each outdoor rink once they’re ready for use.
Local pavilions for outdoor activity hubs are currently open, but only to allow participants to rent equipment and use the bathrooms. A number of cultural and online activities will also be rolled out this winter, which are currently being established to provide residents with access to artistic and cultural events. The local library network will feature virtual activities and services to keep people entertained in the comfort of their homes, including reading clubs, crafting clubs, and escape games.
People can access free-participation activities on Fridays starting at 9 am by registering online via the city’s Citizen Portal platform under the Cultural activities tab. Each category of activities includes a separate sign-up period and a valid Gatineau Accès or Accès + card is required to register. In addition, a special type of programming should be unveiled for people to enjoy during the holidays. More details about programming and activities are expected to be announced throughout the season, and all the information will be posted on the city’s website.
The President of Gatineau’s Executive Committee and Hull-Wright district councillor, Cédric Tessier, stressed that cancelling the culture and leisure program’s activities was for the purpose of fighting COVID-19, and that other activities will be organized in a secure setting. “The measures put in place for indoor, outdoor and cultural activities respect public health safety recommendations,” Tessier said. “The proposed activities will allow residents to enjoy winter differently.”