Happy Canada Day to my readers!
This is a time to celebrate our country and today I’m especially proud to be a Canadian.
I’m celebrating how well our country has done well in dealing with the pandemic. While the virus is still here, the curve has flattened. Daily reports of numbers of people infected and numbers of deaths no longer frighten me. The small outbreaks that occur are contained with quarantine orders.
In rounded numbers, Canada has a population of 37.6 million. Of the population, 104,000 people got sick; 67,000 people recovered; and 8,600 died.
When the pandemic hit, people were concerned — for themselves and also for others. The country shut down in mid-March. Nobody quite believed it when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into self-quarantine after Sophie Gregoire, his wife got sick on return from a trip to Britain. It sent a strong message about staying home.
Trudeau began holding daily press conferences on the steps of his home in Ottawa. Almost immediately, the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit was put into place to support Canadians who needed financial assistance after millions lost their jobs. Schools and daycare centres closed. Businesses, large and small, closed. Borders were closed.
Canadians adhered to stay-at-home recommendations from public health. Everyone made sacrifices.
Celebrations will be Different
This year there will be no parades, no marching bands, no family reunions, no community concerts and no celebration on parliament hill. Most provinces have strict limits on the number of people allowed to gather. In Ontario, where I live, gatherings are limited to 10 people.
I will miss our small community beach parade with children on decorated bicycles, farm tractors, antique cars and trucks, and people dressed in red and white to show their patriotism. After the parade, we usually enjoy the beach and then have a family barbecue.
It’s our tradition to gather on the beach after dinner, wait for sunset, and then marvel at the annual display of spectacular fireworks over Lake Huron. The fireworks usually draw crowds between 50 and 60 thousand. Because physical distancing would be impossible at such an event, the mayor postponed the fireworks. It’s disappointing, but why would a community support such a risk during the pandemic?
This year, my husband and I will quietly mark Canada Day. We plan on some beach time and dinner for two of planked salmon on the barbeque. If the sky is clear this evening, we’ll sit on the deck, watch the stars, and count our blessings.
I hope all Canadian readers take a moment to reflect on the past few months and celebrate how well our country has done in coping with the virus. Happy Canada Day!