Got the pandemic blahs? Here's how 28 Canadians found their bliss

Artists from Manitoba and across the East Coast create their happy places in dance, poetry, film, audio essays, illustrations, and photos in this national CBC Creator Network collaboration.

Find your own antidote to ennui with these 17 inspiring stories

Dance, sing, write, create your way to happiness

1 year ago
Duration 1:00
How 28 Canadians unlocked their happy places during the pandemic. Video: Arden Ong

A sidewalk dance party for one; the voices of friends and family; a make-believe island; and a dog named Dexter.

These are some of the happy places — real and imaginary — that Canadians have embraced as we head into a very challenging second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Finding joy and creating happiness was at the heart of series of personal stories, art projects and short films produced in collaboration with CBC's Creator Network, which works with independent producers to tell their stories.

In December 2020, CBC Manitoba and CBC East Coast called on Canadians to show us their happy place. There were no rules — we wanted their imaginations guide them. A happy place could be a person, place or thing, and something in the past, present or future. 

Seventeen projects — including audio essays, short films, a comic, illustrations, photos and personal essays — were produced by 28 storytellers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, and released over the past several months. 

The final project, a short video that celebrates the Canadian landscape through dance, poetry and film, was co-produced by artists in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. You can see that by following this link:

Check out all the other projects below. 

VIDEO: Crocheting salves the wounds and worries of pandemic

Crocheting helps filmmaker Samantha Don with pandemic uncertainty. (Submitted by Samantha Don and Alexander Decebal-Cuza)

VIDEO:  'If you doubt yourself, you fall': A climber finds freedom in the fear

'It’s all about trust, trust between the rock and your body,' says Devon Pennick-Reilly. (Brendon Wilson for CBC)

AUDIO ESSAY: Speak to me! How familiar voices bring one writer joy in uncertain times

Amy Grace's story is part of our Happy Place series. (Beth Freeman for CBC)

COMIC: Your cart has 50 items: Online shopping a pandemic pancea — or is it? 

Matea Radic is a Winnipeg artist and illustrator. (Submitted by Matea Radic)

PERSONAL ESSAY: 'Alive. That's the feeling the ocean gives you': A surfer's reflection

Brett Bedecki grew up on Cape Breton Island and now calls Halifax home. (Carolina Andrade for CBC)

STORY: He followed a dog named Dexter from Toronto to Nova Scotia and found his happy place

'Occupying a big chunk of my heart, Dexter has kept me very sane the past year, in my otherwise anxious and stressful life,' says Yogi Sundaravadanam. (Carolina Andrade for CBC)

VIDEO: Parks, playgrounds and sidewalks — Winnipeg dancer gets her outdoor groove on

Dancer, DJ, choreographer and teacher Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera has turned to dancing outdoors in Winnipeg during the pandemic. She was featured in a recent Creator Network video in Manitoba. (Submitted by Maribeth (Kilusan) Tabanera)

VIDEO: Steaming away the stress: Garage-sauna is a Nova Scotia photographer's happy place 

Claire Fraser in her happy place. (Claire Fraser)

VIDEO This artist's happy place is an island of memories and make-believe

'These animations are a way for me to play, and merge all the different parts of the art that I make,' says Briana Corr Scott. (Briana Corr Scott)

VIDEO: Let's dance! Animated friends connect in virtual dance party

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, filmmakers at Just TV created Happy Place projects. (Submitted by Emmanuel Bongar )

AUDIO ESSAY: Happiness chased is never captured

Photographer Jessie Redmond tells Michelle Hébert's story in this photo composition. 'Sitting in an intimate yet dark, baron room, Michelle focuses on the light and butterflies. She has opened a box that has always been with her, carrying the happiness she has within,' says Redmond. (Photo composition by Jessie Redmond)

PHOTO ESSAY: Create your own pandemic happy place with these tips from artist and filmmaker

A queen sits on her throne. (Joanne Roberts)

AUDIO ESSAY: Memories of an old loft apartment return writer to happy place

Anna Quon is on the right in this artistic version of her magical space. 'Celebrating with friends in the little loft apartment where, for a brief time in my late 40s, I reclaimed my healthy, happy, hopeful life deferred by madness/mental illness in my 20s.' (Anna Quon for CBC)

ILLUSTRATED ESSAY: Artist finds joy in embracing their identity

(Cyril Chen for CBC)

STORY: One sign and its message for his mom transformed a man's life

Daniel Atkins is discovering new creativity. This one required a borrowed bunny suit. (Submitted by Daniel Atkins )

ESSAY: Inspired by her daughter, this Antigonish writer left her desk for the CrossFit gym

Anne Simpson with fitness coach Chad Fraser at Crossfit Actuate in Antigonish, N.S. (Warren Robertson for CBC)