Take a break in the Carleton Café tent

- August 30, 2021

Welcome to the Carleton tent! (Nick Pearce photos)
Welcome to the Carleton tent! (Nick Pearce photos)

When students, faculty and staff return to the Dal campus in the coming days, it’ll be hard to miss a large, new addition to the Carleton Quad. The Faculties of Health and Medicine have created an innovative, temporary solution to reduced gathering spaces on Carleton — a large, wedding-style tent open to anyone in the Dal Health and Med communities.

The tent is primarily for Dal Health and Med students to use between classes or to grab a snack or coffee, but faculty and staff are also welcome to use the tent for a lunch break or host a quick meeting in the space. Food and drink are not provided but people are encouraged to bring their own.


“We had the idea for the tent, recognizing that Carleton buildings might not be able to accommodate students in as many lounges and gathering spaces as before the pandemic, due to poor ventilation, occupancy limits or construction,” says Brenda Merritt, dean of the Faculty of Health. “We put our heads together to come up with ideas for what we can do quickly for the immediate return to campus. A tent seemed to be a great solution as a safe, open and well-ventilated gathering space.”

The tent’s secondary purpose is to provide an outdoor spot to accommodate some orientation events. It has a capacity of 80 people according to current COVID rules, and the faculties have arranged a security presence to be on-site after hours.

People are welcome to use the tent throughout the month of September on a first come, first served basis as long as there is seating available, and the tent is not being used for an approved event.

“If you’re in the tent, you’re expected to be using one of the seats — if there is no seating available, the tent is considered full,” says Dr. Merritt. “We’re confident that our Dal Health and Medicine communities will use the honour system, be courteous and share the space equitably,” Dr. Merritt says.

The faculties offer talks to the Facilities Management team, Dal Security, and Environmental Health & Safety for their support in making this project happen.

The tent can be booked for special events (after 4 pm) by contacting Cheryl Brown, Assistant to the Dean at cheryl.brown@dal.ca

Tent guidelines

  • No alcohol is permitted in the tent at any time
  • Please limit your time in the tent to accommodate a food or between-class break
  • If you’ve been in the tent for a while and see a line-up, please consider giving up your seat to share the space.
  • If you are in the tent, you are expected to be seated. If there are no seats available, the tent is at capacity
  • Furniture must not be removed from the tent
  • Please use the garbage and recycling facilities
  • The tent cannot be occupied when wind is at or exceeding 40km/hr
  • Please do not enter the tent when the Keep Out signs are posted
  • No smoking or open flames at any time
  • Please use the hand sanitizer when entering   the tent
  • Dalhousie University and Public Health COVID-19 protocols must be followed, for example:
    • Masks must be worn inside the tent except when eating
    • You must stay in your seat if you are unmasked and eating
  • Current capacity for the tent is 80 people (this is subject to change as public health recommendations are updated)


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