When the COVID-19 pandemic hit over a year ago, organizations like the Cummings Centre were faced with a real challenge. After all, its headquarters on Westbury Avenue in Snowdon served as a hub of activity, as did off-site locations in St. Laurent, Chomedey, Westmount, Côte Saint-Luc and the West Island.
Serving the 50-plus community in the Greater Montreal area via a wide range of activities, the Cummings Centre quickly adjusted to the new normal and pivoted to online programming. Needless to say, it has been a big success.
“We really did not know what to expect,” said Director of Programming and Communications Brenda Yuen. “But many of our members adapted to the online platform. It has gone so well that when the pandemic is over we are looking at continuing with a hybrid model.”
Registration recently began for over 170 programs in the spring and summer session. Members and newcomers are invited to enjoy their favourite Cummings Centre programs and teachers online and access live classes, lectures and events via Zoom from their computers, tablets, smart phones or even by calling a regular telephone.
There are a number if highlights. On April 28, they will present Meet the El Salomons, A Love Story. This feature presentation takes a comedic look at the lives of a married Jewish-Palestinian lesbian couple. On May 5, Yehouda Chaki, one of Canada’s most successful and celebrated artists, shows the true power of the creative spirit while battling through Parkinson. On May 19, Montrealers Craig Morrison and Samantha Borgel will host an entertaining evening of musical memories at Craig Morrison in Concert live, online from the popular Wheel Club.
In addition to virtual travel and creative arts opportunities, the spring lineup will also headline speakers such as myself on May 5, lawyer Julius Grey on Freedom of Expression May 13, and legendary traffic reporter and investor relations guru Rick Leckner on June 2.
Art Eclectic, the annual art exhibition, moves online and it will features artwork by the students of the Cummings Centre Fine Arts & Crafts Department on May 5 (5 p.m.).
The iPad for Beginners course starts April 26 with another three-part session set to go May 21. “That one is very popular,” acknowledges Yuen.
Among the popular wellness programs are aerobic dance, total strength, cardio, and brain training intervals. New offerings include Pedal Power and Cardio Lite. Also being offered are fitness assessments or one-on-one personal training live on Zoom.
As well, Adapted Programs will continue to provide the needed support and functional movement exercise options to those who are adjusting to life with a long-term condition.
Member Beatrice Lewis is thankful to the Cummings Centre for keeping her busy, fit and educated.
“I look forward to starting my day with my exercise classes,” she says. “I love the classes and the accompanying music. The teachers are wonderful and everyone has adapted so well to the Zoom platform. There is also an opportunity in advance of the class to log in and talk among participants and share stories. There is a sense of friendship and support for one another and this is heartwarming.”
Lewis has also participated in the Centre’s virtual travel program among other online program opportunities.
“If you cannot travel, this is the next best thing to see the world,” she said. “I have travelled virtually to many corners of the world and have listened to many interesting and engaging speakers. I am most appreciative of the Cummings Centre for providing me with so many energizing and stimulating experiences and activities.”
Spring/Summer registration is on for all courses and programs. For more information visit cummingscentre.org or call 514-343-3510.