Summer is here and with restrictions loosening up, people are looking ahead at what to do. With that said, here are some activities and events in Windsor-Essex that you can do this summer to get you out of the house and doing something fun with the family. Read our list and plan some summer fun!
Just a heads up, due to Covid-19, these events/activities may get postponed, cancelled or run with restricted hours. Remember that social distancing and mask wearing still applies.
Spend some time outdoors:
Take a drive to Point Pelee or to the beach at Seacliff in Leamington
Take advantage of the nice weather and spend the day outdoors at the beach or in nature at Point Pelee.
There’s plenty of downtown markets to stroll, eat on the patio, and shop this summer. Here are a few:
Downtown Windsor Farmers - shop for local produce, food and artisanal vendors and more at Pelissier Street and Maiden Lane on Saturdays from 8AM - 1PM
Kingsville Open Market: Located at Main and Division, stroll the streets of downtown Kingsville this summer on Saturdays 4:00 pm-10:30 pm.
Amherstburg Open Air Weekends
Every Friday from 4-11pm and Saturdays beginning at 4pm till Sunday at 11pm, the streets of Downtown Amherstburg are open for visitors to experience outdoor patios, cafes and shops.
The Boonies Drive In:
With theaters closed, why not take a trip to Tilbury for a double feature of this summer’s latest blockbusters in the comfort of your car? With a concession stand filled with delicious treats, support this family owned and operated business right in our area.
For more information visit: thebooniesdrivein.com
Lakeshore, 4625 Richardson Side Rd, Tilbury, ON N0P 2L0, Canada
Drive In Attractions at Rock Star Music Hall
Rockstar | Live. Music. (rockstarplatinum.com)
Pick your time, pack your car and treat your family to an amazing and safe experience. Each show is 25 minutes long with special shows such as SteamPunk Circus coming up in July, make sure you check out their showtimes for other upcoming events throughout the summer.
Art by the River:
10 AM - 5PM
Support local artists with Art by the River. $5 to enter, free for children 12 and under.
Fort Malden Historical Site / August 28th and August 29th.
Written by a F.A.B.U Contributor
In 2004, author Brent Hartinger released a book titled The Geography Club about a group of queer high school students who form an after-school club to discuss what they're all going through. So naturally, they decided to call it The Geography Club, a club so dull, it wouldn't draw any unnecessary attention to itself. And besides, who wants to join a Geography Club, anyway?
Even though attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community have changed over the past 17 years, it still teaches how relevant safe spaces are for LGBTQ+ youth. It brings together other LGBTQ+ students who can lean on each other to share their experiences.
High school is a time of self-discovery. It's a time of finding out where you fit in, who your true friends are, peer pressure, etc. It can be a pretty lonely time, especially if you're LGBTQ+ or questioning.
During this time of self-discovery, having a safe space can give youth comfort and a place to turn to with no judgement, even if meetings only run once a week. It's also necessary for those students who haven't come out yet.
In my high school, this safe space took the form of a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) that met during lunchtime once a week. These meetings were not only meant for students who identified as LGBTQ+ but also for their straight allies. The club had five teachers who came to every meeting and made it their mission to accept every student who came through the door. It created a welcoming school community to support students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The point of the club was also to spread positivity and tolerance in the school, which my school desperately needed. It wasn't long after the club was established that it was soon dubbed "The Gay Club". The club was never the target for harassment or hazing, but it wasn't without its instances.
The club did get an eye roll whenever it was brought up during the morning announcements. "What do they do in The Gay Club?" I remember a student in my homeroom ask, to which their friend lazily retorted, "gay stuff". This was when I knew the club was written off and deemed "uncool".
The club once decorated the halls with balloons to spread kindness. But, unfortunately, those balloons were taken down by a student as soon as they were put up.
During Spirit Day - a day to wear purple to show support against bullying and bullying-related suicide – the GSA organized a potluck during lunch. Anyone could participate in the potluck as long as they wore purple. Two male students wearing purple showed up for the free food, but once they found out it was organized by "the Gay Club," they turned down the food and left. They laughed as they walked away and called the club a homophobic slur.
Those few instances of passive homophobia were why students started the GSA to begin with. Even though some students wrote off the club, it was not written off by the members that did attend every meeting. It was a place you could go to make sure you weren't in the crossfire of a slur or an eye roll just for being who you are.
In 2021, people might think there might not be a need for GSA's anymore, because tolerance is promoted everywhere, there is still a need now more than ever.
Even though Gen Z is considered more progressive than older generations by being more open to different identities, interests, and modes of self-expression, high school can still be dangerous for students who are different.
We've all heard the phrase "times may change, but high school stays the same".
Unfortunately, putting teenagers with clashing personalities in one location can still lead to an unsafe environment.
This is more relevant due to the rise in cyberbullying, where high schoolers use many social media platforms to harass their peers. Students now call out and tease their peers in video game live streams, Instagram, and TikTok videos for other classmates to see and comment on. They'll even go as far as posting humiliating videos without their consent.
In terms of Gen Z students bullying their LGBTQ+ peers, CBC reported that "in 2019, one in four students who attended high schools in the Greater Toronto Area, say they have been called hateful names or have been subjected to comments that are homophobic or transphobic."
Schools that have established safe spaces or GSA's have proven to create positive impacts on LGBTQ+ students. It allows those students to build trust and relationships with their peers. It can make a place of comfort and safety and be used to identify which supportive adults they can turn to for guidance. All this ultimately leads to a better learning environment where students have higher self-confidence levels and better grades, which benefits students in the long run.
Overall, everyone wins when there's a safe space where students can attend whenever they feel like there's nowhere else to go. In addition, GSA's provide an area of support so students know which teachers and peers to turn to if things get tough, either at school or at home. When students feel supported, it can impact their grades and their overall self-esteem.
High school can be a vulnerable time. The world might not be a kind place, but a little support and some kind faces can go a long way.
LGBTQ+ students belong.
If you’re a student or a teacher, here are some resources on GSA’s and how to start one in your school.
Written by Julianna Bonnett
Over the past decade, the idea that we are "born this way" has become increasingly important. Coming out as a person that is a part of the LGBTQ+ community is a very personal and life-altering journey.
Regardless of the circumstances, there is no right or wrong way to come out to the people you love. Some people of the LGBT community choose to come out in a public way, some just to family and friends, where others choose not to share their stories out of fear of judgment or not being accepted based on the public's view on sexuality.
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest, which attracts over 7,000 people each year to the downtown core and takes place in August this year, many people are still wondering if the event will take place or if it will go virtually due to Covid-19
24-year-old Elijah Gauthier, who recently came out about his sexuality almost two years ago, said he's never been to Pride and was looking forward to it.
"I just came out to my family and some friends a while ago, I've never been to Pride, but it would have been something I would have loved to have gone to."
Gauthier, who discovered when he was eight-years-old that he was attracted to the same sex, expressed that over the years, he felt the need to hide his sexuality due to his religion and the fear that people would look at him differently.
"Growing up in a Christian household while also attending a Christian school, I was constantly told that homosexuality was a sin, and that was all I was surrounded by," shared Gauthier. "I was so fearful of my family kicking me out or never talking to me again."
Even though the significant changes in the laws and norms surrounding same-sex marriage have changed over the years, public acceptance of homosexuality remains divided throughout countries, races and religions.
After Gauthier came out to his family and friends, he felt a complete shift in his confidence and regardless of the acceptance people had towards his sexuality, he was tired of hiding who he was.
"My advice is to come out when you're ready," explained Gauthier. "There are so many people that have a past and are embarrassed about it, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about, it's your sexuality, and you should take full pride in it."