New Brunswick

Waiting is the hardest part: 3 New Brunswickers pine for reopening of Atlantic bubble

The opening of the Atlantic bubble last summer allowed families and friends to reunite across Atlantic Canada. But that reunion was short lived as COVID-19 numbers increased and provincial governments were again forced to implement stricter travel protocols.

Last year's Atlantic bubble was welcomed by many New Brunswickers. Here are three people looking for a repeat

The opening of the Atlantic bubble last year led to hours long waits at the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. (Brett Ruskin/CBC News file photo)

The opening of the Atlantic bubble last summer allowed families and friends to reunite across Atlantic Canada.

But as COVID-19 numbers increased, provincial governments were again forced to implement stricter travel protocols.

Many are hoping the bubble can open again.  In fact, the four Atlantic premiers had planned to reopen already.

But as the unofficial start of the summer tourism season arrives with the Victoria Day long weekend, there's no sign that's going to happen anytime soon.

Waiting to say goodbye

Ross White's father died in January, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

White wasn't able to visit him in Nova Scotia during his final days because of the protocols in place.

"That was the tough part, not being able to be there with my mother and my three sisters, you know, when he passed away," said White.

White wants to join his family this summer to say goodbye to his dad.

"My mom has my dad's ashes sitting in the china cabinet at home in a safe spot," said White. 

"She's waiting for me and my wife to be able to get down to Nova Scotia, hopefully this summer. And then we'll have a proper burial ceremony for my dad."

A new chapter

Anna Lingley is also hoping for a quick return of the Atlantic bubble.

She's graduating from Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton in June and wants her grandparents, who live in Nova Scotia, to be able to attend.

"I've been really close with my grandparents my whole life, and I know that it's something – graduating – that's only going to happen once in a lifetime," said Lingley. 

"It would really mean the world if they were able to come down, because I know that this is a big event that they're here for and they could be here for."

Still, even with her grandparents in attendance, graduation won't be exactly what she had in mind.

Several graduation adjacent events aren't going ahead, and she said that's left her disappointed.

"It's our whole school career that's kind of coming to an end and to feel like we're not going to get a proper end to that chapter is really heartbreaking," said Lingley.

Together, apart

Michael Bourgeois hopes the bubble can open soon so he can witness his sister begin a new chapter in her life.

She was supposed to get married last July in Newfoundland, but the pandemic put an end to those plans.

The wedding was postponed for a year, but Bourgeois wonders if he'll be able to go.

"We've been watching the bubble with bated breath for quite a while," said Bourgeois.

"Our excitement for it opening again is definitely taking a beating."

Bourgeois said his sister has made multiple changes to her wedding, including having the family perform some extra functions to take better advantage of capacity limitations.

"With the limited numbers of capacity in the room during the event, they're looking to friends and family to do some of the proceedings," said Bourgeois. 

"So, no longer hiring a soloist to sing a song, it's a friend, a family member doing those things and trying to keep as many people in the room as close [a friend or relative] as possible, rather than waste a number on someone they don't actually know."

Bourgeois's family is originally from New Brunswick, so a lot of family members will miss the wedding if the bubble isn't reopened.

"I think the consensus is ... if there's no Atlantic bubble, they're getting married, you know, no matter what," said Bourgeois. 

"If it's just them in a room, they'll get it done this year."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?