I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been riding a roller coaster of emotion since this pandemic began. Some days when I’m not worrying about how to pay the bills and I can get out for a ride on my bike, I feel an overwhelming sense of optimism.
But then there are the other days, when the realism of the pandemic and the damage that is being done to our economy, not just in the present but for months and possibly years to come, that I feel an overwhelming sense of depression and anxiety.
And the fact that we have so very little to look foward to this summer doesn’t help.
This was supposed to be the summer that the boys and I were going to travel to Europe together. Not happening.
I’m also a big festival guy and June is normally festival month in Ottawa. There’s the Ribfest, the Franco-Ontarien Festival, Carivibe, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Jazz Festival, the Italian Festival, Glowfest, the Fringe Festival, the Orléans Craft Beer Festival and the Latin Sparks Festival.
One year, I went to five festivals in one day – Carivibe, the Ribfest, Italian Week, Glowfest and a festival that was being held in Navan.
They’ve all been cancelled this year – every single one of them, thanks to COVID-19. As has the Lebanese Festival, Greekfest, Chamberfest, the Hope Beach Volleyball Summerfest, the International Buskerfest, Ottawa Beer Fest and Joyfest.
The Summer of 2020 will forever be known as the summer of COVID-19. The summer that fun forgot.
There will be no warm summer nights catching the Redblacks play at TD Place or relaxing on a patio enjoying a glass of white wine, unless they let patios to operate at 50 per cent capacity. Even if they do, you can expect line-ups that would put the queues at Walmart and the LCBO to shame.
I’m not sure what I’m going to miss most – enjoying a bowl of gelato as I check out the Ferraris lined up along Preston Street or checking out the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
COVID-19 has even forced the cancel-lation of the Navan Fair for the first time in it’s 74-year history.
Finding things to do to fill the void left by all the cancellations will be no easy task. I have a feeling I’m going to be putting a lot of miles on the old Victory Gunner. The kayak should get a lot of extra work as well, but it won’t be the same.
If things ease up enough, I might take a trip down east to see my brother and go cruising up the Cabot Trail and possibly hope over to Prince Edward Island. The lobster supper houses will likely all be closed, but cruising along the island’s back roads, or along the Nova Scotia shoreline from Gainsborough to Dartmouth would be a welcome respite from the pandemic.
If you are lucky enough to own a cottage, consider yourself among the very fortunate. At least you can escape from the monotony of suburbia in the age of COVID-19. Having a pool in the back yard would rate a close second.
I especially feel for the kids who will have to spend the summer without the distraction of being able to go to camp. All of sleep-over camps have been forced to remain closed during the summer and most of the day camps won’t be able to get enough kids to be viable.
By the time Labour Day rolls around they’ll be chomping at the bit to go back to school, assuming the schools will be able to open.
For the rest of us, every week will seem like the last with nothing to look forward to except a potential vaccine.
There is the hope of travel further afield with some airlines already putting protocols in place to accept passengers. The only problem is there aren’t a whole lot of countries to go to. And when some countries do open up, a one-week vacation will have to be accompanied by 14 days of self isolation.
Try selling that to the boss. “Excuse me sir, but I’d like to take three weeks off for a vacation. One week for my trip and two weeks to stay at home.”
Chances are there won’t be a whole lot of people jetting off to Europe this summer.
Then again, it might help tourism here in Canada. A number of countries in Europe are already encouraging their residents to vacation at home to help revitalize their own tourism industries. We would be wise to do the same here in Canada as long as we’re able to practice safe distancing and pack a bottle of hand sanitizer beside the sunscreen. Anything to help get us through the next three months while keeping our sanity intact.
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