This is Alumni Weekend at Queen’s University in Kingston.
However the school has moved homecoming activities on-line.
Usually there would be thousands of people back in town. But covid has put a stop to that at least for this year. What a difference a year and a pandemic make. Usually alumni weekend or homecoming if you will would see a campus bustling with activity. But that wasn’t the case on Saturday in fact it was pretty quiet. The parking lot at George Richardson Memorial Stadium where the football Gaels play was empty and so were the stands. The Associate Vice-Principal Alumni Relations Leigh Kalin says the school asked alumni to stay home.
“We have been guided by public health regulations through-out the pandemic. The university has taken our cues and advice from public health. When we announced that there wouldn’t be any in person events our alumni were incredibly of the decision but I know they’re really disappointed.”
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Brad Elberg always comes back to Kingston for this special event.
“Planned to come — I’m a pretty easy mark for homecoming weekend and football alumni weekend but I understand the restrictions that have been put in place.”
Elberg was a big part of the 1992 Vanier Cup winning football team. Living and working in Toronto, the now lawyer decided to heed the warning.
“Those large gatherings have to be eliminated to try to get things under control. I can’t see another way that we’re going to get back to whatever the new normal is going to look like we can have football again and we can have other gatherings again.”
There are plenty of on-line activities this weekend. In fact Kalin says doing it virtually gives the school a much larger reach.
“We have three times as many alumni coming from outside of Canada. We have alumni from all over the world — and have heard from them that this year they’re extremely excited because this is the first year they’ve been able to participate in homecoming.
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Aberdeen Street the site of many a street party was very quiet on Saturday afternoon. Kingston Police as well as city officials say they’ll be out in full force making sure there aren’t any large groups gathering. Police say Friday night was also quiet. And all involved are hoping that will continue through-out the weekend.
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