There's no need to be bored in the Times of Quarantine. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to spend more time at home and less time in the community doing the things we love, most clubs and organizations in town have shifted gears to turn Fort St. John into a virtual city.
Here is a running guide of events and activities happening online that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Have something to add? Email Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.
Gone through your entire book shelf already? So have we.
The library has a digital library phone app called LIBBY to connect readers with a library card to e-books and audiobooks.
“The library is more than just a physical place to borrow books," said library director Karlene Duncan. "We connect people with information and we bridge the digital divide with our services and programs.
An online book subscription service called TumbleBooks has also been made available to readers through the library's website. It has a wide variety of children's books and math books, and novels for young adults.
The library has also extended the due date for all items to May 1, and asks readers to hold on to them until the library re-opens.
Library staff are working remotely, but are still available to help: email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Learn local history
The museum is posting daily history lessons for the community.
From videos explaining the history of Alexander Mackenzie and the Northwest Company, to posts of trucks and equipment in 1939 used to help build Fort St. John into what it is today, there's something for everyone to learn.
Watch and learn
If you're looking for new and fun learning opportunities while the kids are home from school, the National Film Board of Canada has made most of its collection free for families and teachers. The NFB Education screening room is showing different films and documentaries each day, for kids from Kindergartent to Grade 12. Parents can find curated video collections and lessons, categorized by topic, in the screening room.
In addition, the NFB has made CAMPUS, its collection of 1,300 films and documentaries, available for free to all K-12 teachers and classrooms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fort St. John dance clubs are providing free online videos to encourage members and others to keep moving during isolation.
Alchemy Dance Collective is posting daily challenge videos each day, such as Technique Tuesdays where instructors provide a short lesson, and Wildcard Wednesdays, where dancers share a new video challenge with people to participate in. These can be found here.
Other dance clubs have been giving and developing virtual classes for their students.
Virtual bike races
The Blizzard Bike Club held its first virtual race, the Purex Cup 40km Race, on March 29, with riders recording times on their indoor exercise bikes due to the cold weather, and submitting them for placing.
Blizzard has since held a second race on April 5, and is proceeding with the Covid Cup Spring Indoor Series, beginning April 10. It will be a seven-race virtual-ride series, replacing the annual Spring Stage Series. Go to the Blizzard Bike Club's Facebook page for the dates and ditance of each ride. Then, on the day of, record your time for that distance on your trainer or roller indoor bike, and submit it on the page.
Write the Great Pandemic Novel
Isolated with your thoughts? Put them down on paper because self-isolation and social distancing has given many of us the time to write that great dystopian novel or memoir we've always wanted.
Join the #Stayhomewrimo group on Facebook to share what you're working on with other local writers, and trade daily encouragement and support.
"We want to offer support for people with their writing projects in this time, and give them a place to chat with each other about what they're working on and what's going on in their lives," said Morgan Churchill, the library's programs co-ordinator.
There will be weekly meetings on Zoom for writers to talk about their projects. Email Churchill at email@example.com for more details, and join the group's Facebook page.
Seeking a sense of calm to soothe your soul? Fort St. John yoga centres have been sharing live yoga sessions throughout the week, providing people with a chance to put their mind at ease and get some exercise at the same time.
Tammy Still is livestreaming five times a week on Facebook, and will be on Zoom for those who want a more inclusive experience.
"This is for anyone interested, even those who wouldn't normally go into a yoga studio. We have everything, from more advanced classes to chair yoga classes," said Still.
Candace Soderberg is also livestreaming classes once a week through Facebook.
"Lots of people need yoga right now. People are coming in who have told us they would normally be too intimidated to come," said Soderberg.
Tighten that core
While some gyms and fitness centres remain open, most in Fort St. John have closed their doors.
Tosha Mytron is posting daily fitness workouts online for anyone who wants to take part. The workouts are centred more around bodyweight and exercise than combat sports, and given by coach Sarah Barker. They are also posting techniques and tips on the combat side of things that athletes can work on while they're stuck at home.
"A huge part of what we do is building that connection with the students and members, and these videos help us stay connected, and for those that are new to us, that's great," said Mytron. "A lot of people are starting to avoid going online because of all the news and negativity coming at them, but there is a lot of good and positive stuff happening around town right now."
Caitlyn Bellamy has also has been hosting daily livestream workouts.
"Everbody's kind of feeling scattered wtih what is going on. The gym closed so suddenly and so many people are used to that routine, it helps them be motivated, and exercise is proven to improve your mood so we wanted to do what we can to give people that option," said Bellamy.
"We've had nothing but positive feedback, people are really excited to have a fitness instructor back in front of them, and it gives the instructors a chance to workout as well," said Bellamy.
The cultural centre is busy working on new ways to bring the arts to the community. For now, there are crafts and activities families can do together on Facebook, while the Art Stars video series has launched, with local artists sharing more about about their art forms.
"We're inviting people who were set to perform here, to perform as a solo act or familiy unit, and we'll record them with lights and sound mixing, edit it together with an interview, and put it out online for everyone to enjoy," said Operations Manager Oliver Hachmeister.
Artists can perform are any that exist as a solo unit or perform with their family, whether that be poetry reading, solo instrumentalists, or family dance groups.
"We can't be what we were, but maybe we can be the next best thing," said Hachmeister.
The next Art Stars video will be a live interview with Ted Sloan live on Facebook or Youtube on April 9 at 7:30 p.m.