École élémentaire catholique Curé-Labrosse in St-Eugène recently had a visit from the Véhicube.  It’s a big bus owned by Le grand défi Pierre-Lavoie (Pierre Lavoie’s Big Challenge).  Lavoie is a strong promoter of physical fitness from the Saguenay-Lac St-Jean region of Québec.  He began the yearly challenge, which is like the Ironman race, in 2008 to raise money for lactic acidosis research after losing his 10-year-old daughter to the disease in 1999.

The Véhicube brings the spirit of the challenge to elementary schools as a way of not only raising money, but also promoting physical activity and healthy eating.  Students take on the challenge of earning energy cubes for staying active—both on their own and as a school.

Assistant Principal Yves Joanette said that most of the schools outside Québec that are involved with the challenge are francophone schools.  He compared Pierre-Lavoie’s efforts to the Terry Fox runs that take place in communities and schools across Canada.

Students at Curé Labrosse started the day off with a Zumba session in the gymnasium, led by a team from Le grand défi Pierre-Lavoie.  Then, each grade had a turn aboard the Véhicube, which was parked on the playground.  Those sessions started off with a discussion about healthy eating, nutrition, and staying active.  Then, the groups moved to a trailer behind the bus which was outfitted with stationery bikes.  Each student hopped on a bike and followed an animated path on a video screen where they could race toward and catch energy cubes along the way.

Curé Labrosse is not the only local school which has participated in the Vehicube from Le grand défi Pierre-Lavoie.  The top two Ontario schools that participated in 2018 were École élémentaire publique Nouvel-Horizon in Hawkesbury, and École élémentaire catholique Sacré-Cœur in Bourget.

Grades 5 and 6 before boarding the bus. Photo: James Morgan

Pedal power for energy cubes. Photo: James Morgan