In a move that definitely sends a message that we’ll be dealing with COVID-19 for the long haul, the City of Guelph has cancelled all events and programs at city facilities through to July 5. Although the facilities themselves are still closed until April 30, the City will be hosting no events, concerts, or gatherings at those building until well after Canada Day.
“The situation is still changing, and we will continue sharing updates with our community in the coming weeks. We will reopen facilities and restore City programs and services based on advice from local health officials,” said Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart in a statement.
If you’ve already paid the City for recreation programs, the rental of a sports field, or have booked a City facility for any time from now until July 6, you will received a full refund if the City of Guelph has your credit card info on file, and if they do not, your account will get a credit that you can use for future programs. If you’re concerned about your refund or account, or if you have any questions, you can get it touch with the City at recreation [at] guelph.ca or 519-837-5699.
Among the major events effected is Art on the Street, the annual street fair that celebrates local arts and artisans was supposed to take place on Saturday June 20, but now the Downtown Guelph Business Association has been postponed it until further notice.
For now, it seems like Hillside Festival is still looking to proceed as scheduled. Organizers have cancelled or postponed one-off shows, but the main festival on Guelph Lake Island is still scheduled for July 24-26. Guelph Lake, of course, is under the jurisdiction of the Grand River Conservation Authority, whose restrictions in operations and closures is currently in effect until April 13, though that may be extended.
Another unintended casualty is the upcoming sophomore season of the Guelph Nighthawks. The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) team plays at the Sleeman Centre, which is among the City facilities affected by Tuesday’s announcement.
“Yesterday afternoon we were advised of this decision by our venue operators at the Sleeman Centre,” said Cameron Kusch in an email to Guelph Politico. Kusch is the president of Guelph Nighthawks.
“As we had previously shared with our fans, the team and league are preparing for a delay to the start of the 2020 CEBL season and are developing various contingency plans,” Kusch added. “Given this most recent update from the City we are thoroughly examining our options and finalizing those plans for our ticket holders, partners and passionate fans and will be in a position to announce those plans shortly.”
In other cultural news today, more area events have been cancelled or postponed, and these are festivals that are much further afield than the next several weeks.
In Toronto, the annual Fringe Festival has been cancelled because of Toronto Public Health’s determination that social distancing needs to continue for 12 weeks from April 1, which would run right up against the start of Toronto Fringe on July 1.
“The Fringe is a platform for so many, especially for those who do not always have access to present their work,” said executive director Lucy Eveleigh. “It is so disappointing that these folks will not get to share their stories this year. We know we will be back to provide that platform again, along with many other festivals, events, and theatres that have had to pause. But for now we are going to be sad for a little bit, along with all of you.”
Artists with works that were going to be performed at the 2020 festival will be given first right of refusal to take part in the 2021 festival according to Fringe’s media statement.
Just up the road in Elora, the annual celebration of vocal, choral and chamber music that makes up the Elora Festival has been postponed from its scheduled dates of July 11 to 26 to a new time to-be-determined later. According to the artistic director and interim executive director anyone with tickets will be allowed a full refund, a gift certificate for the value of their tickets, or to turn their ticket purchases into a tax-deductible donation to the festival.