C Bay community picnic a spirit raiser

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

CONSTANCE BAY – With vaccine rates soaring, and COVID-19 cases dipping (hopefully), it’s time to celebrate community in the form of a free picnic scheduled in Constance Bay for Saturday, Aug. 14.

The event is being spearheaded by the Carp Ridge Learning Centre, the charitable arm of the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre, with help from the Constance Bay Buckham’s Bay Community Association, Constance Bay Pharmacy, Happy Times Pizza, Inner Compass Education and the West Carleton Royal Canadian Legion.

The project started with a survey the learning centre distributed last April focusing on Constance Bay and its community’s needs.

“What we noticed was a need and desire for mindful yoga, nature and programs for youth,” the learning centre’s Ruth Li told West Carleton Online Tuesday (Aug. 3) from the NorthWind Wireless Fibre Centre. “We developed some mindfulness courses that we will be offering later in fall and at the same time we learned there was a need for connection, and that’s where the picnic came in.”

So, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the beautiful fields of the Constance Bay community centre (262 Len Purcell Dr.), the above-mentioned organizations and businesses, will be hosting a free community picnic.

There will be hamburgers, live music, storytelling, sack races, kids’ entertainment and a fun family-friendly time.

Some of the volunteers working on the project helped out during the 2017 volunteer appreciation picnic held to honour those who helped the community during the devastating flood that spring.

“We want the picnic to look like that because it was so successful,” volunteer organizer and CBBCA board member Denise Damecour said.

Of course, the one difference between 2017 and 2021 is COVID-19. Ontario is supposed to enter Step Four of the provincial’s re-opening plan on Friday, Aug. 13, which could open up the picnic even more.

As it stands now, outdoor gatherings are not to exceed 100 people. The organizing group has plans to deal with all COVID-19 situations.

“We’re exploring that today,” the CBBCA’s Janette Edwards said as the volunteer organizing committee was set to meet after speaking with West Carleton Online. “We’re not expecting people to be here all day. A schedule will go out soon so people can plan their visit.”

The organizers are ordering roughly 500 hamburgers, so they are expecting a good showing. If regulations remain as they are today (Aug. 5), the plan is to schedule participants in so there is no more than 100 on the picnic grounds at a time. If Ontario does enter Step Four, there will be no restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings.

“We know there’s going to be a lot of new Constance Bay residents coming,” Damecour said.

The picnic also plans to host several local organizations that will set up information kiosks to inform the community of their services. The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, the Rural Root Theatre Company, West Carleton’s Savvy Seconds which will have a selection of free back to school clothes available, Constance Bay’s pickleball club, the Constance Bay branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and other local organizations are expected to attend.

“All these different parts of the community are joining in and it’s amazing to witness that,” Li said.

“It’s a way to wake up a sleeping community,” Constance Bay Pharmacy owner and CBBCA board member Tamara Awada said.

“It’s awesome,” Savvy Seconds’ founder Vera Jones said. “What a relief to be able to invite people together again.”

For more information on the Constance Bay Community Picnic and for the latest updates, visit their Facebook event page here.

The event would love a few more volunteers to help out the day of (high school volunteer hours will be credited, for those volunteers still in high school), and if you are interested, you can email Denise Damecour at denise.damecour@gmail.com.

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