A summer like no other with music festivals, events and gatherings cancelled, asTulip Festival, Canada Day, Councillor Jan Harder, Ottawa City
It will be a summer like no other with music festivals, events and gatherings cancelled.
Physical distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic means we won’t be able to go back to our old way of life for at least a while, and it’s having an impact on our daily lives and economy.
In Ottawa, the Tulip Festival, Canada Day on the Hill, Race Weekend, Bluesfest and the Pride Parade, are just some of the events which have been cancelled this year, with many going virtual for the first time.
The Tulip Festival
The Tulip Festival, for example, has no signs up this year promoting the event, and no food stations or public washrooms set up in its many key parks. They remain open to walk through traffic, however, but park rangers are on patrol to ensure everyone keeps moving and are practicing physical distancing.
If you want to learn more about the festival — which is even more prominent this year because of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, you can visit tulipfestival.ca.
There you will learn about sacrifices made by Canadians during World War ll and about the Dutch Royal family’s connection to Ottawa during this time. You can also take a virtual tour of the tulip beds, and take part in interactive activities.
Unfortunately, Canada Day celebrations all across the city this year have had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. The annual celebration on Parliament Hill which was supposed to be moved to Major Hills Park this year has been cancelled, with most of its activities going online as well.
The annual Canada Day in Barrhaven festivities has also been cancelled, with all groups and public gatherings being cancelled in the city until at least the beginning of July. Organizers say even if restrictions are lifted then, they wouldn’t have enough time to set up the event which takes a year of planning and weeks of set up.
But if physical distancing measures are relaxed and public gatherings can resume in the fall, plans are in the works for an event sometime in September.
Darrell Bartraw who organizes Canada Day in Barrhaven, says it would be a scaled-down version of the former ‘Barrhaven Days’ and would include breakfast, lunch, entertainment and fun.
If we all continue to follow and practice the guidelines and restrictions which are in place now, we will be one step closer to having events like this happen again.
The economy has been hit hard due to the impacts of the virus, and the cancelling of festivals has meant a huge decrease in revenue for the city. With all unnecessary travel being restricted, we haven’t seen visitors flocking to our many amazing sites, and it will most likely be quite some time before that can resume.
All of that has had a negative impact on our economy and businesses, but there are things you can do to help support it. When possible, remember to buy local from your neighbourhood mom and pop type businesses.
With many stores now allowed to re-open for curbside pickup, it’s easier now than ever to make this happen.
And if you feel like taking a break from cooking, there are many fantastic restaurants right here in Barrhaven which you can support. The Barrhaven BIA has compiled a great list of what this community has to offer during the pandemic. It can be found at barrhavenbia.ca
For most, it’s been nine weeks of self-isolating from those you love. Grandparents are unable to see their grandchildren and many children were not able to see their parents over Mother’s Day.
It’s been over two months of having our routines turned upside down, and many are finding it difficult. For those who already suffered from mental illness like anxiety and depression, it’s becoming even harder with many support services closed due to the pandemic.
But there are still many resources and activities out there to help you find some enjoyment at this time where the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far. If you feel like you need to talk with someone, you can always call the Distress Centre of Ottawa at 613-238-3311(distress line) or 613-722-6914 (crisis line). They can offer a listening ear, or provide you with additional resources to lead you in the right direction.
It’s also important to ensure you’re staying physically fit. Going for a run, walk or bike ride can be a great way to clear your head and bring you some peace. Ottawa has many great parks, bike paths and walking trails that are open to walk through traffic as long as you maintain physical distance, staying at least six feet apart from one another.
You are still not allowed to gather in groups larger than five people, and all playground equipment, benches, sports fields and stores remain closed. You are however able to use the greenspace around the park to have a picnic lunch on the grass, kick around a soccer ball with your family, or fly a kite.
So no matter what you’re doing to stay motivated during this health crisis, remember to stay healthy, look after your mental health and support local businesses.
For latest info on City and Covid19: www.janharder.ca