Across Quebec, organizations accustomed to offering summer day camps quickly set up the teams necessary to welcome young people during strike days. “We said to ourselves that it was an opportunity to help the cause by looking after the children,” says Majorie Marcotte, co-owner of the Le Rond-point amusement center in Gatineau. She points out that many parents, including teachers, thanked the team for offering this service. In Mascouche, the “crazy” response from families confirmed to Martin Bélanger, co-owner of the Bloc Action climbing center, the relevance of a day camp. He is even considering the possibility of adding places, because they sell out quickly. Mélanie Babin, owner of Studio Dancing, in Sainte-Julie, is also considering this option. For children to attend a camp this November, parents should expect to pay $50 to $100 per day, according to the dozen sites consulted by La Presse.
Many libraries have enhanced their weekday activities in an effort to entertain children during the strike. “It is certain that the library is not going to replace the school. […] But it is the social role of libraries to be present for their community,” underlines Eve Lagacé, general director of the Association of Public Libraries of Quebec. Film screenings, building block games, animal discoveries with the Éducazoo team and artistic creations are on the program in Longueuil. On the Laval side, techno workshops, story times and activities to raise awareness of mathematics and reading are offered. In Montreal too, the offer has been increased. The City invites citizens to consult the website of their local library. In all these places and elsewhere in Quebec, parents can telework while their child participates in an organized activity or browses books.
Accustomed to welcoming teenagers (and sometimes pre-teens), some youth centers organize special activities during walkout days. An example ? At La Marginale, in Quebec, high school students, with the help of the on-site team, will receive fourth, fifth and sixth grade children free of charge, on the afternoons of November 21 to 23, dinner included. “Our goal is not to replace the school or the daycare services that already existed, but it is really to try to give parents a break because we know that it is complicated for them with the teleworking”, explains Amélie Aubet, general director of La Marginale.
Quebec families experienced this during the pandemic, when teleworking was compulsory for many people. Sometimes, an hour or two break changes the minds of the whole household, which creates a more serene climate afterwards. Parents to whom employers allow such flexibility can take advantage of city sports facilities, such as swimming pools and arenas. In Montreal and Longueuil, the hours of open swimming and skating have not been increased, as the offer is already large. For its part, Laval is evaluating the option of adding time slots in certain municipal arenas. It is also possible to go skating at Place Bell, underlines the City of Laval.
Due to the strike days, theater performances intended for school audiences were canceled. However, since private schools will be open this week, certain dates are maintained and seats are available. This is the case at the Maison Théâtre in Montreal, which is currently presenting the play 176 pas, intended for 6 to 10 year olds. Elsewhere in the metropolitan region, you can see Celle qui marche loin, a play designed for ages 8 and up, at the Maison des arts de Laval, as well as Le roi danse, which should appeal to teenagers, at the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier , to Montreal.
We sometimes forget it, but municipalities often have cultural places where they host exhibitions or various activities. For parents who will be taking time off or who have a flexible work schedule, this can be a great option for an outing close to home. In Montreal, for example, the Maison de la culture Mercier is hosting an exhibition bringing together more than 140 old toys, while at the Maison de la culture in Verdun, it is the works of youth illustrator Cara Carmina and her clever rabbits which are featured. In Laval, the Salle Alfred-Pellan offers parents and children the chance to discover the abstract paintings of artist Marcel Saint-Pierre. Note also the holding of the Montreal Book Fair, at the Palais des congrès, where those under 16 and their chaperones are welcomed free of charge on November 22, 23 and 24.