MONTREAL — A Montreal camping event that generated backlash from homeless advocates is going ahead after Parks Canada and its critics agreed to work together.
The urban camping event will take place tonight along the Lachine Canal in the heart of Montreal, with protesters’ tents pitched alongside those of paying customers.
The series of events, dubbed learn-to-camp, are described as an opportunity to learn basic camping skills for the price of over $100 per tent.
The events drew backlash from advocates who pointed out that homeless people who try to camp on public lands often see their tents dismantled by authorities.
Parks Canada spokesman Simon Saint-Germain said the federal agency wanted to work with community advocates to create dialogue and education around homelessness.
A representative of the homeless advocates says Parks Canada agreed to provide water and bathroom access to protesters, and to allow them to hold an event this evening to raise awareness about what the most vulnerable Montrealers are facing.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2022.
This story is part of a series from CBC’s Eskasoni Community Bureau. This series comes from weeks of conversations with community members about what they feel is important to see, hear and read on CBC’s platforms.
Jay Denny wasn’t sure what type of ceremonial dress would be appropriate for this weekend’s community powwow in Eskasoni, N.S.
But the 21-year-old eventually settled on a buttoned-down shirt coupled with a ribbon skirt.
The two-spirit activist says Canadian powwows are often defined by male and female outfits and competitions, but not everyone fits into either category.
“Some two-spirits don’t feel comfortable [donning] women’s regalia or men’s regalia,” said Denny.
She works as a two-spirit community educator for the non-profit Cape Breton Youth Project.
She defines two-spirit as an Indigenous person who bridges the gap between male and female. Being two-spirit is not only sexuality or gender identity, but is limited to Indigenous people through their cultural and spiritual identity.
Although two-spirits were long revered by the Mi’kmaq as “warriors of love,” Denny said the influence of Canada’s white majority means the concept was lost over time.
“A lot of our traditions and our ideals were muddied when colonization and residential schools happened. We got a lot of instilled, internalized homophobia,” she said.
Denny said although Eskasoni doesn’t advertise it, two-spirit competitors will be offered gender fluidity as organizers accept blended styles of dress and entrance into either men’s or women’s competitions.
Denny would like to see powwow organizers across the country make events more inclusive by acknowledging two-spirits as being welcomed into these spaces.
“It makes all the difference, honestly, just these tiny acts of allyship,” Denny said.
How to make powwows more inclusive
“Even just taking ‘men’ and ‘women’ out of the categories … it makes it so that we don’t feel othered. It makes us so that we don’t feel out of place. And it’s such a small change that’ll help with so many different people.”
Ceilidh Isadore is a two-spirit artist who grew up in Wagmatcook, N.S., and Ottawa.
They say a lot of work is underway to broaden gender inclusively at various Indigenous events, including powwows.
“I’ve seen two-spirit people … really push this narrative that we deserve to be in any category or any spaces, the way that we want to be,” they said.
Both Denny and Isadore say that one way organizers can help is by simply acknowledging and welcoming two-spirit people on their posters and flyers.
One of Vancouver’s pitch and putt golf courses replaced golf balls with flying discs on Saturday to showcase a sport that advocates say has been growing in popularity — especially over the pandemic — and needs more space in the city.
The Van City United Disc Golf Club partnered with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to create a temporary disc golf course at the Rupert Park Pitch and Putt.
Club member Gagan Singh said the 192 Saturday tee times available at the course for $20 per player were booked up in less than 10 minutes after online reservations went live.
“There is huge demand,” he said about the sport which has players aim and throw discs at poles or steel-chain baskets.
The goal of the sport is to hit a pole or land the disc in the basket with as few throws as possible, just like golf.
The sport is known for its low barriers such as reasonable cost and easy-to-acquire skill level.
“It’s a sport that you can play for free. It’s actually very low cost,” said Singh. “It’s a sport that people can play together in the sense that you can play with your kids.”
At the Rupert Pitch and Putt course on Saturday many players said they were drawn to the sport during the pandemic began because it’s a low-stress activity that lets them safely gather with other people outside .
“It’s a lifelong addiction,” said Chris Robson who has been playing for 22 years.
WATCH | Disc golfers crowd Vancouver pitch and putt to showcase sport:
Disc golf players in Vancouver want the city to add more courses to meet demand 2:17
Vancouver has three free disc golf public courses: Jericho Hill on the grounds of the Jericho Hill Community Centre, Little Mountain in Queen Elizabeth Park and Quilchena on Magnolia Street.
Disc golf proponents like Singh and Robson say that development plans are threatening the future of the Jericho Hill course and Quilchena is outdated because the course is set along park pathway which can create unsafe conditions for walkers, cyclists and other people using the park.
Meet-Ups for Eldercare Caregivers and Advocates (MECCA) is a virtual peer support program offered through Healthy Workplace. MECCA is a 6-week, virtual peer support program that provides working caregivers with a forum through which to share their experiences, gain information and understanding about the caregiver journey, and to give and receive knowledge and support with other caregivers. The sessions will be facilitated by Jennifer Moir, Eldercare Consultation with AgeWell Solutions.
What does MECCA offer participants?
A relaxed and welcoming forum for discussion
Guided information exchange to enhance skill set and understanding
A chance to give and receive knowledge and support from other caregivers
Confidence and reassurance that you are not alone
Who is MECCA for?
For adult children, family members or anyone with an aging or vulnerable loved one and who is preparing to become a caregiver, or is an active caregiver already and interested in improving their caregiving experience by learning and sharing helpful tips, tools and coping strategies.
How to participate?
Register here to save your spot and receive your calendar update to attend upcoming sessions. To offer maximum support, the peer support session will close registration after the 2nd session. This is to allow caregivers to develop relationships and to build on weekly lessons. If you are interested in participating, please register early!
When is the MECCA program taking place?
Beginning Tuesday, April 5 and ending Tuesday, June 14, the program consists of 6 group, on-line meet-up sessions, held over 12 weeks. Sessions take place once every two weeks, are one hour in length, with each session designed to build upon earlier ones.
Dates and Times:
Tuesday, April 5 (Noon – 1pm)
Tuesday, April 19 (Noon – 1pm)
Tuesday, May 3 (Noon – 1pm)
Tuesday, May 17 (Noon – 1pm)
Tuesday, May 31 (Noon – 1pm)
Tuesday, June 14 (Noon – 1pm)
60-minute virtual meeting format:
10 minute: welcome and round table introductions
15 minutes to explore the weekly topic and theme: learning, skill building
25 minutes for participants to share experiences, give and receive knowledge and support
5-10 minute wrap up including a review of additional resources, and introduction of the following week’s topic
Week 1 – Caregiver spotlight and journey (April 5)
Week 2 – How stress impacts caregivers, response mechanisms and coping pathways (April 19)