Tag Archives: COVID19

South Glengarry officially shutters all rec facilities, programs through the summer

It’s official: sports and recreation facilities, along with all programming, will be shuttered through the end of the summer in the township of South Glengarry.

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The closure means that all township-organized sports leagues, summer camps, and recreation programs are cancelled through to September 1. As well, facilities are closed and will not be accepting bookings.

The township’s notice indicated they had received 1000 registrations to date for various programs.

From the announcement…

“Township staff relied on guidance from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which ensures municipalities are meeting, or exceeding, the orders issued by the Province of Ontario. The Township’s summer camp and programs, as originally planned, would not presently meet COVID-19 prevention and control measures for physical distancing requirements, participant ratios, and access to facilities,” explained Rick Ladouceur, director of recreation and facilities with the Township of South Glengarry.

May 28, 2020 statement from the Township of South Glengarry

Refunds will be issued to those who had already paid for programming.

The township notes that while organized programming has been cancelled, outdoor facilities are open and available for use, with some restrictions.

Trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, and ball diamonds are open, though residents are reminded to follow physical distancing guidelines set by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the Ford government.

Closed in the township are the splash pad in Williamstown, play structures, picnic areas, and all indoor facilities.

Taxpayers shouldn’t be expecting a positive impact to the township’s budget, though.

As Lachlan McDonald, South Glengarry’s treasurer and general manager of corporate services, explains to me that “we have deployed a lot of those resources to maintenance items, and with halls/facilities closed it is the optimal time to re-fresh – coat of paint, plaster holes, etc. The interesting thing, when thinking about soccer, is that despite no soccer/parks, we are still keeping the grass cut.”

As well, full staff continue to work, though have been “deployed somewhat differently.”

Budget-wise, the recreation and facilities line went from $1,428,030 in 2019 to $1,759,800 for 2020. McDonald adds, “I’m hoping some of the efficiencies found during these times of austerity will have an afterglow in budget 2021 and onward.”

North Glengarry and Cornwall

In Cornwall, recreation programs remain suspended. As for facilities, the city has closed the aquatic centre, the multi-sport complex, the civic complex, the BMX track in Guindon Park, play structures, picnic areas, the outdoor gym, splash pads, and outdoor pools.

Meanwhile, outdoor recreational facilities, such as fields, ball diamonds, the skatepark, and tennis courts, are “open for low-contact, single-competitor sports. No team play is permitted. Clubhouses and change rooms remain closed.”

Some of the the city’s public washrooms at recreational areas are open, though.

Also open are Marina 200, boat launches, and trails.

North Glengarry continues to follow recommendations from the Ontario government, mayor Jamie MacDonald tells me. The township hasn’t made any decisions regarding the summer, as of yet, though.

As the North Glengarry website notes, “At this time playground equipment and bathrooms remain closed until further notice. Users are asked to respect Public Health safety recommendations while using any park installations.”

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Great Raisin River Footrace goes virtual for 2020

Back in April, with concern over the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, organizers of the 2020 edition of the Great Raisin River Footrace took the unprecedented step of halting registrations for the run, scheduled for August. This week, the group went a step further, cancelling the in-person race and switching to a virtual format instead, as a number of other runs across the region have done.

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The 2020 Footrace is the 42nd edition of the run in Williamstown, and again this year, it is being organized by Beyond 21, with Jane McLaren telling me, “We really want to maintain the tradition of this race, but with the COVID-19 cancellations of most events … well, it has been a challenge. So we are going virtual!”

She adds, “The race continues to be a fundraiser in support of The Hub for Beyond 21 Foundation (we provide services for adults with developmental disabilities in S. D. & G.). For more information on the work of Beyond 21, please see their website.

As for the now modified Footrace, participants can walk or run either an 11 km or 5 km distance on August 7, 8, or 9, and then upload their times to the results tracking site.

Registration is ongoing online here.

For your entry, you will receive a custom running buff (first 125 registrants who complete either the 5K or 11K), a handmade race medallion created by Beyond 21 participants (for the first 60 registrants in the 11K only), a virtual race bib, and “bragging rights to say you were a part of history – the only time the Great Raisin River Footrace has run a virtual edition.”

Organizers plan to host a pick up day in Cornwall for buffs and medallions. Those out of town or unable to attend will receive their buffs and medallions by mail. Pick-up and mailing will take place a few weeks after the race weekend.

Organizers not this year there will be no age group / division prizes due to the race being virtual.

More general information on the Great Raisin River Footrace can be found on their Facebook page.

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Williamstown runner completes virtual marathon

Williamstown’s Wendell Lafave, a marathoner who’s completed runs in every Canadian province, every U.S. state, and many other places around the world (including Antarctica), finished the Ottawa Virtual Marathon on Sunday.

The event was organized following last month’s cancellation of Race Weekend in the nation’s capital due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual Ottawa Marathon is a popular course for many from our region, with some using it as a qualifier for the storied Boston Marathon. The Boston run, along with the St. Lawrence Marathon (Cornwall) are among other 2020 events that have been cancelled.

As described on the Ottawa Virtual Marathon website, organizers have chosen to go virtual this year, extending the participation opportunity through to September 7.

“CANADA’S BIGGEST MARATHON WEEKEND HAS GONE VIRTUAL!”

Athletes are encouraged to “run your race at your pace while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines provided by your local public health agencies … Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend 2020 participants will receive all the amenities of a live, in-person event: a customizable race bib, commemorative finisher medal and T-shirt, option to upload finish times to the Sportstats results platform, plus a few surprises from our event partners.”

Participants will also receive a 50 percent entry fee reduction for the 2021 run, which hopefully will return to the streets of Ottawa.

In addition to the marathon distance, there are shorter runs available (half marathon, 10 km, 5 km, 2 km), as well as a kids run of 1.2 km.

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Minor soccer officially cancelled by the GSL

It’s now official: there will be no minor soccer season this year in the Glengarry Soccer League, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sport’s governing body had been extending no-play orders month-by-month, with the latest restricting activity through the end of June.

At the time of that announcement on May 11, the GSL stated that it would convene its board and committee members to explore options. Yesterday, the league announced there would be no minor soccer for the 2020 season.

“The Glengarry Soccer League has made the difficult decision to cancel the Outdoor 2020 season for the MINOR division. An email will be sent out to all participants with information regarding refunds. At this time, a decision has not been made for the Senior and Tier 2 divisions.”

GSL announcement, May 24

Matthew Houlzet, who serves at the GSL referee assignor and GSL minor referee-in-chief and works as a soccer official himself, tells me that the league is still hoping that there will be adult soccer in some form, though the schedule will have to be adjusted and/or compressed.

Typically, senior soccer begins in the latter stages of May, concluding in August. At best, this year, play could begin in July, unless Ontario Soccer extends the prohibition on play through that month.

The GSL will be looking at various schedule options that could see play (if it happens at all) extend into the fall, perhaps as late as October.

The only certainty at this point is that there will be no youth matches in the Glengarry Soccer League this summer.

In terms of other area leagues, today the Cornwall-based Seaway Valley Soccer Club announced the cancellation of its house league and Coyotes (semi-competitive, all-star program) seasons.

“Due in part to the closure of facilities, the uncertainty of distancing orders surrounding recreational programming, the amount of time it would take to properly organize a recreational soccer program, SVSC must in the best interest of all, unfortunately, cancel its House League and Coyotes programs for spring/summer 2020. It should be noted that this decision did not come lightly, but the safety for all is the most important to the club and we appreciate the patience from parents, players, coaches, and officials.

Should the situation change with current conditions of COVID-19, SVSC will be looking at other options to provide possible soccer training activities once it is deemed safe to do so.”

Seaway Valley Soccer Club statement, May 25

At this time, the East Region Soccer League, the top competitive youth loop in this area, continues to explore options for a 2020 season. The GSL via Glengarry Hearts and the SVSC through its Cornwall Blazers teams participate in this league.

The ERSL has not cancelled play for this summer, but has suspended all in-person activities per direction from Ontario Soccer. Updates on modifications to rules and potential play can be followed on their website here.

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Racing to return to Cornwall Motor Speedway in June, without spectators

Originally scheduled to begin last Sunday, the green flag is now set to fly on the 2020 season at the Cornwall Motor Speedway on June 6, though the event will be for drivers and race teams only. No spectators will be permitted.

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All of this, of course, is due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Speedway and stock car drivers have been impacted, just as other sports and events have.

The June 6 event, billed as “Back To The Track 50” will run on Saturday, June 6, with 50 laps for both Modified and Sportsman classes. Due to current Ontario government guidelines, no spectators will be permitted to attend. Race fans can take in the action online, via the 360nitro.tv platform (purchase required).

Strict rules will be enforced for race teams, which will be limited in number to the driver and four support members. Up to 30 cars will take to the track in each of the two scheduled events.

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2020 edition of Williamstown Fair cancelled due to COVID-19

As the stream of COVID-19-related cancellations has mounted this year, it seemed inevitable that the county’s second-largest summer event (after the Glengarry Highland Games) would be disrupted, and this week the news became official: there will be no Williamstown Fair in 2020, at least not this summer.

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The official statement began, “With great regret, the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society, organizer of Canada’s oldest annual fair, announces the postponement of the traditional 209th edition of the Williamstown Fair (August 7-8-9, 2020) due to the ongoing pandemic.”

The Maxville Fair, scheduled for late June, was cancelled back in April (see my story about this here), and the Glengarry Highland Games, the county’s biggest summer celebration, was nixed last month (story here).

Despite the slight relaxing of government and health regulations recently, conditions remain as such that the holding of large events this summer simply won’t be possible.

“In light of directives from the government and public health officials, we have taken this difficult decision. Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our volunteers, community partners, and fairgoers, and we thank the public for their understanding and support.”

Michael Seguin, president of the St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

The Williamstown Fair is Glengarry County’s annual celebration of agriculture and more, with a number of sports events featured over the course of the three-day gathering. Among these over the years have been competitions of tug of war, Highland Games, beach volleyball, and farmer olympics. The Great Raisin River Footrace has also been associated with the Fair each summer, too, though a few years back its route was adjusted to remain on the south side of the river, using the Sir John Johnson Manor House as its base.

On the 2020 Fair, at this point, organizers are deeming the action a “postponement.” The statement notes that “the Fair Board is committed to celebrating the community and its agricultural heritage and will be looking at ways of holding an alternative fair later this year.”

“Generations of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to organize this beloved annual event and the current situation is only one of the many challenges the Fair has faced since its inception in 1812.”

St. Lawrence Valley Agricultural Society

At this time, a final decision on holding the Great Raisin River Footrace has not yet been made. The organizers, Beyond 21, have stated that an official announcement will come in early June.

On April 5, the committee announced, “With the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to suspend registration for the 2020 Great Raisin River Footrace.” However, the race was and has not been cancelled, at least not yet. Officially, the run is slated for Sunday, August 9. This year will mark its 42nd edition.

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Spring youth tackle football season officially scrapped for 2020

This year’s spring season of community youth tackle football has been officially cancelled, as a result of health precautions in the fight with the COVID-19 virus.

The Cornwall Wildcats and Glengarry Gaels football clubs broke the news to their players and families, via social media.

Gaels club president Ian Parent stated, “Our spring program was due to start in the next few weeks, but the Ontario Football Alliance has suspended all activities for the month of May, forcing us to cancel our season.”

The club will be processing refunds in the coming weeks for anyone who had previously registered and paid.

Parent added in his announcement, “We will keep you informed of all further developments and are hopeful to be able to field our Varsity [high school] team in the fall. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for possible club events and fundraising activities.”

The Glengarry organization, based at GDHS in Alexandria, typically fields a spring team at each level, providing gridiron football for boys and girls aged 7 through 15.

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The announcement from the Cornwall Wildcats: “Our Seaway Valley Spring House League was due to start playing games in early May. Registration numbers have been strong, but the Ontario Football Alliance, which is the governing body of football in Ontario, has suspended all football activities in May. THIS NOW FORCES US TO CANCEL THE 2020 SPRING SEASON.”

“We are hopeful for a 2020 NCAFA season. Traditionally try-outs begin in late July, with the season starting third week of August. We will continue to look to Football Canada and Ontario Football Alliance for guidance on start dates.”

Cornwall Wildcats announcement

The Wildcats recommend that athletes “continue to be active and to stay in shape,” adding, “We will be back on the field at some point and we want to be ready! Thank you to CROSSFIT CORNWALL and coach KYLE LABELLE for his great workouts on social media.”

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