PEI

How Islanders are staying occupied during P.E.I.'s new lockdown

It’s the first weekend of the new two-week lockdown on P.E.I. and Islanders are trying to find ways to stay occupied both at home and out in nature.

‘We've been baking, decorating, crafting, singing, watching movies’

Baking and going for walks are common activities among Islanders these days. Lori Poirier Lapointe's daughter Emily was decorating sugar cookies, Janet Doiron took a solo walk on the beach, and Sarah Fletcher's son Dylan also took on a baking project. (Submitted by Lori Poirier Laplante, Janet Doiron, and Mae Sarah/Facebook)

It's the first weekend of the new two-week lockdown on P.E.I., and with gatherings curtailed, Islanders are trying to find ways to stay occupied both at home and out in nature.

While retail stores are still open at limited capacity, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison has recommended that Islanders stay home as much as possible and only leave the house for essentials.

So how are people spending their hours at home? That's the question we asked readers on the CBC P.E.I. Facebook page.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

'Anything to keep the cheer around'

"The kids and I have been keeping busy with schoolwork (I home school) and getting ready for Christmas alone as a family," Lori Poirier Lapointe commented.

"We've been baking, decorating, crafting, singing, watching movies, creating gifts and wrapping them, playing games. Anything to keep the cheer around for each other during these otherwise crazy times."

Lori Poirier Lapointe shared this photo of her child doing a holiday craft at home. (Submitted by Lori Poirier Laplante/Facebook )

Maureen Evans is taking a practical approach to the lockdown.

"Since everything in the outside world is cancelled, I'm getting a lot of Christmas preparations done," wrote Evans. 

"Now, will anyone be able to come and celebrate, that's the question. Until I find out for sure, I will concentrate on the cleaning. Baking will not start until I know for sure!"

Maureen Doiron has been baking, along with taking daily walks. (Submitted by Maureen Doiron/Facebook)

Cameron Ross is staying busy with woodworking. 

He wrote, "Working in my shop. Making a chest for a little girl."

Cameron Ross is busy working on this wooden chest as a gift. (Submitted by Cameron Ross/Facebook)

Adapting their plans 

Like many Islanders, Norma Millar had to change her plans due to the lockdown. It was her anniversary last week and she had planned to dine out with her partner at their favourite restaurant. 

"Well, that's not going to happen," she commented. "But wait! They do takeout! I can provide the table cloth and china and candles. All is good!"

Our Island has many hidden gems.— Cindy Buell 

Sarah Fletcher commented that there are "endless possibilities" of things to do. 

"Reading, walks in the forest, cuddling with pets & kids, baking, painting, cleaning, and organizing," were all part of Fletcher's long list of activities. 

Sarah Fletcher has been going for walks in the forest during the lockdown. (Submitted by Sarah Fletcher/Facebook)

She was one of many people who said they are spending time outside, walking, hiking or running. 

Janet Doiron took a walk on the beach by herself, and Lana Chaisson commented that exploring nature is "so good for the soul." 

Lorna Matheson wrote, "I spend my free time touring our beautiful Island." 

D Melanie Walsh Fraser wrote that she is doing lots of knitting and baking right now. (Submitted by D Melanie Walsh Fraser/Facebook )

Cindy Buell shared a photo of the Christmas lights in North Rustico and wrote, "Our Island has many hidden gems. I strongly advise going to North Rustico with the kiddos."

Lorna Matheson has been spending her free time touring the Island and taking gorgeous shots like this one. (Submitted by Lorna Matheson/Facebook)

'People need happy mail'

Lynda Sudsbury is using this time to address envelopes and stick on stamps. 

"Getting Christmas cards ready to send to family in other provinces!" she wrote. "People need happy mail!"

Anne Fitzgerald felt the same way. 

"I decided to do up lots of Christmas cards to mail," she commented. "It's something that has gone by the wayside, but I always like to get cards myself."

Furry friends are a good thing 

For some Islanders, their pets are helping them get through this time at home. 

Becky Gallant commented, "My boy Chito is definitely making it easier. Lots of kisses and snuggles." 

Cindy Buell recommends going to see the Christmas lights in North Rustico. (Submitted by Cindy Buell/Facebook)

And Azura Saunders, who just moved here from New Brunswick, is in self-isolation with her cat, who she said is helping her study for her exams.

Virtual concerts and fitness classes 

Though live concerts and other performances on P.E.I. have all been cancelled until at least Dec. 21, there are still online concerts Islanders can tune in for. 

The Guild in Charlottetown posted a virtual version of its concert, Christmas in the Air, on its Facebook page for people to watch.

Many readers commented that their pets were helping them get through the lockdown. Here is Becky Gallant's dog Chito. (Submitted by Becky Gallant/Facebook )

Alhough the Confederation Centre of the Arts had to cancel its annual concert of Handel's Messiah this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can watch the UPEI Chamber Singers performing virtually as part of a national Messiah concert on Sunday.

Performers come from across the country and will be singing in seven different languages, and the concert will be available online until Jan. 7.

'Refresh mentally and emotionally'

Yoga Grove P.E.I. in Cornwall is offering free Zoom yoga classes for Island residents. 

Azura Saunders' cat is helping her study for exams during her self-isolation. (Submitted by Azura Saunders/Facebook)

In a Facebook post, staff from the studio wrote, "Classes will focus on restorative poses to recalibrate and refresh mentally and emotionally during this stressful period."

Another option for free fitness classes online is from the healthy living initiative Go P.E.I. If you join its Facebook group you'll have access to a series of 10 free fitness videos, originally released back in March. 

Activities for kids 

Many parents and guardians may be looking for ways to occupy their children, now that play dates are no longer an option. 

The King's Playhouse in Georgetown is offering a free virtual art workshop where kids can make their own holiday ornament. 

It's for kids ages five to 15, on Dec. 15 at 3:30 p.m. 

The P.E.I. Public Library Service also offers online content for kids, including virtual storytime on Thursday mornings and a bilingual digital escape room all about hibernation.

MORE FROM CBC P.E.I.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabelle Gallant is a radio producer and web writer who has worked for CBC in Edmonton and Toronto. She grew up in Halifax and Charlottetown and is happy to be back home on P.E.I.

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