Although the Town of Banff Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) closed playgrounds, the skateboard park and basketball and tennis courts for safety reasons during the COVID pandemic, the Town has launched a number of innovative online programs to keep people healthy and connected while at home. Programs include live and interactive activities such as online yoga, fitness, cooking, theatre and music.
For those seeking activities away from the computer screen, the Town has a lending library of sports and recreation equipment, games and leisure kits for all ages.
“Prolonged isolation can be very difficult for many people, and problematic for our community’s overall health,” said Amanda Arbuckle, Manager of Recreation for the Town of Banff. “We are providing free and safe options to keep residents active and connected, fostering physical and mental well-being.”
The virtual programs and lending library listed at banff.ca/active are all free.
The ECC closed the basketball and tennis courts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus when participants pass the ball or come in contact. The playgrounds and skateboard park was closed to deter gatherings, avoid close contact, transmission and reduce the risk of injury at a time when health services are focussed mainly on combating COVID-19.
At the same time, the Town encourages activity inside or close to home, such as using townsite trails while maintaining social distancing, and cycling or skateboarding around town on the recently swept streets.
New programs offered include:
- Online meetups: offered three times a week with Banff’s Resident Youth Recreation Leader
- Online meetups include arts and crafts, sports tricks and challenges and more.
- All materials are provided by the Town and delivered directly to residents’ doors.
- Online story time and sing-along: in partnership with the Banff Public Library
- Videos are filmed within the community to provide a backyard connection for children
- Family fun kits and sports/leisure equipment lending
- Kits/equipment is sanitized and delivered
- Yoga Kits include mat, strap and blocks
- Family fun kits include items such as: seeds to grow a house garden, family scavenger hunts, board games, sidewalk chalk, outdoor activity equipment and more.
- Sports equipment ranges from skateboards to weights, and soccer balls to badminton rackets
- DIY skateboard practice
- Free online fitness, cooking, theatre and music programs
- Programs for those 14 years and older.
- Music equipment lending to commence in the next few weeks.
Programs are led by local instructors and equipment is available to be borrowed for those who may require computers or other materials. Delivery of resource kits is available anywhere in Banff and select areas in Lake Louise.
Many of the programs have been developed to create a balance between structured and unstructured activities, which is particularly important for children.
“In the past few weeks, there has been increased attention on what to do during isolation in COVID times. This can make us feel the pressure to create lists of ideas, resources and activities to help fill our days. Our programs are intended to find a balance between keeping to a schedule and simply having fun,” said Arbuckle. “We encourage our residents to try a new activity or learn a new skill through some of our unique online offerings.”
With the launch of the program this past weekend, the Town experienced more than 900 views of its dedicated webpage and almost 1,500 views of videos have been loaded to date (i.e. equipment rentals, recreation programs and story time).
Additional classes offered by local instructors listed under “Recreation” at Banff.ca/COVIDhelp and are available for a fee. However, should any participant have a financial barrier and cannot afford the class fee at this time, attendance is free of for a reduced fee if arranged ahead of the session.
For more information or to register for programs, visit www.banff.ca/active.