MONTREAL - As part of its BLEU BLANC BOUGE program launched back in September 2008, the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation proudly announces that its 11th and 12th refrigerated community outdoor rinks will be built in the cities of Joliette and Val-d'Or. The Foundation thus carries on with the expansion of its flagship program outside the greater Montreal area. In Joliette, construction will get underway in the summer of 2019 in the large green space on rue Lépine facing Barthélemy-Joliette High School, for an opening scheduled in time for winter 2019. For the City of Val-d'Or, the Foundation plans to start work in the summer of 2020 so that the rink can accommodate its first skaters that winter.
The BLEU BLANC BOUGE program, presented by the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation, consists of building high-quality outdoor multipurpose and refrigerated community rinks to provide kids from underprivileged areas with infrastructure aimed at giving them a reason to discover the benefits of healthy living and a physically active lifestyle.
"These new BLEU BLANC BOUGE community outdoor rinks represent another significant step for the Foundation towards the implementation of sports infrastructure outside of the greater Montreal area. The rinks will provide the citizens of these communities with a modern playground for kids and their families, and help them discover the pleasures and benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle throughout the year," stated Canadiens owner, president and CEO, Mr. Geoff Molson.
The City of Joliette is home to an important number of elementary and high schools which have a high deprivation index. The need for local and accessible sports facilities is great. The existing multi-sector groups and the mobilization structures established based on healthy challenges and lifestyles for young people, as demonstrated by the history of successful concerted projects by the Communauté d'action jeunesse de la MRC de Joliette (CAJOL), provide the region's youth more opportunities to be active and improve their health.
"It is on behalf of the youth of Joliette that I sincerely wish to thank the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation. I can already imagine the bright eyes of those who will benefit next year," said Mr. Alain Beaudry, mayor of the City of Joliette. "The needs of our community are so real that the City of Joliette will enhance the generous contribution of the Foundation by adding a roof and any other necessary amenities nearby. This new infrastructure will serve to get our families to be more active and support our community organizations. This is amazing news, a new chapter begins where beautiful stories and beautiful memories will be created for life ... in Bleu Blanc Bouge!''
For its part, Val-d'Or also stands out with a significant number of schools with a high deprivation index which serve a large population and a large territory, as well as significant needs for investment in sports infrastructure. The community also demonstrates a committed commitment to the development of healthy lifestyles through organizations such as Énergie Famille, Programme Accès Loisirs and Agir-Tôt.
''The City of Val-d'Or is excited about this great news! This project will be added to the collection of sports and leisure facilities that have been built in Val-d'Or in the past six years. The rink will meet the community needs and increase opportunities for youth and their families to be more active. We thank the Foundation for selecting Val-d'Or for the construction and gift of this 12th rink; it will make a big difference in achieving our goal to have an active and healthy population," said Mr. Pierre Corbeil, mayor of Val-d'Or.
To ensure the success of this program in terms of both activation and adoption, the Foundation formed a dynamic partnership with Québec en Forme, sharing the ultimate goal of improving the health of children living in underprivileged areas. It works closely with the Foundation in selecting community partners and districts to efficiently implement the program and assess the impact of this initiative.
About the BLEU BLANC BOUGE programme
The BLEU BLANC BOUGE rinks are built in accordance with NHL standards and dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet) and feature ice quality that meets the highest professional rinks standards, while offering the versatility to enjoy other sports over the course of the year. The skating season takes place from the end of November until mid-March, while various types of ball games like basketball, soccer, in-line hockey and various other sporting activities are being played in the spring, summer and fall months. Since 2009, six community outdoor rinks have been built on the island of Montreal, in the boroughs of Villeray-St-Michel-Parc-Extension, Montreal North, Verdun, Lasalle, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Ahuntsic-Cartierville as well as in Longueuil, Laval, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières. The rinks set to be completed in Joliette and in Val-d'Or will bring the total to 12.
About the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation
The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation provides assistance and support to children in need. Since its inception in August 2000, the Foundation has donated close to $30 million to over 800 charitable endeavours from across the province of Quebec working towards the well-being of underprivileged children. The Foundation fulfills its mandate in two ways: first, through a unique flagship project - the BLEU BLANC BOUGE program - which consists of building community refrigerated and multisport rinks, secondly by providing financial support to organizations whose projects and programs allow children to adopt healthy lifestyles by being more active.