Physical activity is good for mental well-being, and that’s important now more than ever. While many sports and activities have had to adjust to the safety measures necessary during a pandemic, there are still many ways to stay active.
The Town of Huntsville’s community services department has been working hard to provide a variety of options for residents of all ages.
“We are focused on recovery, reinvention and resilience. We are modifying programs to meet restricted numbers placed on us by COVID regulations and instruction letters from the health unit,” says Simone Babineau, the municipality’s director of community services. “It’s important that people have these opportunities for physical and mental well-being. These programs were essential to our community before COVID; they are even more important now.”
Make a splash
Aquatics programs are a great way to get the whole family moving.
Red Cross winter swim registration opened December 15 so that kids can keep up with their lessons.
“Our fall session went well and our instructors have been creative in teaching classes with social distancing, and they’re ready to go for the winter session,” says Morven Barnes, manager of aquatics.
There are also lap swim and leisure swim times available as well as aquatic fitness classes like Body Blast and Hydrorider. Registration is required for all programs; drop-ins are not permitted.
Be sure to book your times early. Most days classes are full and have a waiting list, notes Barnes, adding that they are working to increase capacity safely.
The pool is also available to rent on Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. for birthday parties and family activities at a reduced rate.
Register for all aquatic programs here.
“This is a great place to exercise,” says Barnes. “For many people it’s the only place they can exercise because of joint problems or pain. We are doing our best to keep it open for the people that need it.”
Take a walk
If terra firma is more your thing, the indoor walking track at the Don Lough Arena remains open Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. It’s free to use but advance registration is required. Book online or call the Customer Service desk at 705-789-6421 up to seven days in advance.
Track sessions are 45 minutes long and are for walking only—running is not permitted. Users must wear a mask or face-covering when moving through the facility, but can remove it when actively using the track.
Camp in a Bag
The kids don’t have to miss out on the camp experience this year. Although holiday camps aren’t available, Town staff have created a Camp in a Bag alternative.
“It’s something they can do at home with their families and still take part in a camp activity,” says Jessica Smith, recreation and leisure coordinator.
For just $23, take home cool swag, and fun crafts and activities. Each package is personalized to the child. Purchase yours online here.
Take winter (or summer) indoors
Both of the arenas at the Canada Summit Centre are open for activities (by registration) and for rentals.
At the Don Lough Arena, both a parent and tot skate and an adult skate are available on weekdays—prebook your time here. While staff are disappointed that the traditional family holiday skates have been cancelled due to the pandemic, there will be opportunities in the new year for families to rent the ice by the hour, particularly on weekdays and Saturday evenings. Call 705-789-6421 for more information.
Over at the Jack Bionda Arena, the floor remains ice-free, and can also be rented for use by a variety of groups starting January 18, COVID restrictions permitting.
“This could allow both indoor sports as well as sports played primarily outside in the summer to come inside and have a large area in which to play or practise,” says Greg Pilling, the Town’s manager of sales and customer service. Contact him prior to January 4, 2020 with requests for your group at email@example.com or 705-789-6421 ext. 3027.
Pickleball has also returned to the floor of the Jack. The next eight-week sessions for beginner, intermediate and advanced players begin in mid-January, three days per week. There will also be a learn-to-play pickleball session available on Thursdays. Register for all pickleball sessions here.
“We are COVID-friendly and safe,” notes Pilling. “We have precautions and enhanced cleaning procedures in place to ensure that everyone is safe.”
For more information on the Canada Summit Centre Re-Opening Guidelines, click here.
And stay tuned to huntsville.ca for future programming, says Smith. “We are making plans to bring even more options to Huntsville residents in the new year that are COVID-safe.”
Note that the Canada Summit Centre will close registered programs and services from noon on December 24, 2020 to January 1, 2021.
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