The Current

Here's what Canadians are most excited for when the pandemic ends

For many Canadians, it’s been a long and challenging year. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked Canadians what they’re most excited to do when life returns to normal… or some semblance of it.

The Current asked listeners what's at the top of their post-pandemic to-do list

Many listeners wrote to tell us they're most excited to once again hug their loved ones when the pandemic is over. (Shutterstock / fizkes)

Thursday marked a full calendar year since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. 

For many across Canada, the past year has been a long and exhausting marathon, replete with extraordinary challenges and unprecedented setbacks. 

But while the past year has been a difficult one, it's also given us a lot to look forward to. 

Last week, The Current asked listeners what they're most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over. 

Here's what people from across the country had to say.

Crowded spaces 

After a year of lockdowns and prolonged isolation, many said they're most excited to be able to visit crowded spaces full of people again. 

One woman in Toronto said she's most excited about exploring a new relationship, born in the pandemic.

"I'm looking forward to going on dates! My partner and I met in July and fell in love. But we've done little except enjoy a few patios last summer. So, it will be nice to venture into the world, in love," Jennifer Berney said in an email.  

Normal, everyday activities  

Others who wrote to us most looked forward to simply being able to participate in everyday activities, like watching their kids play sports. 

One woman on Twitter said the thing she's most excited about is hardware shopping in-person. 

One listener even went so far as to say that he missed taking transit and commuting to work. 

"I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the thing I probably miss the most is being on Toronto Public Transit. The rush hour, stuffed into the subway, silently rocking back and forth with my fellow commuters — it reminded me I was part of the heartbeat of the city and I haven't been a part of that heartbeat in a long time," Andrew Johnston wrote in an email.  

Leaving the house unafraid 

Others said they're most excited to be able to leave their homes without the creeping sense of fear or panic that many of us now associate with being in close proximity to other human beings. 

One woman has been reluctant to leave the house for practical reasons. In a tweet, she said one of the things she's most looking forward to is "open washrooms so [she] can roam the city again without worry." 

Not to be outdone, one inspired listener summarized her sentiments in verse. Gail Norcross wrote in an email: 

Travelling 

Another group of Canadians said they were most excited to travel and see the world. 

One man admitted in an email that his first stop will be a deli in Montreal. 

"I'm going to fly to Montreal, rent a car at the airport and go directly to Schwartz's Deli for a smoked meat sandwich," Gerry Boudrias wrote in an email. 

Physical contact and hugging

However, judging by your responses, the two things that Canadians are most looking forward to are physical contact and reuniting with friends, family and loved ones.

One woman hasn't just been missing hugs; she's also been missing all the other kinds of touch that we experience and casually observe on a day-to-day basis. 

"Perhaps even more than that longed-for hug, I look forward to simply seeing people touch in the natural, loving and beautiful way we do as we move throughout our lives — high fives, the 'bro hug,' the handshake, and yes, the hugs of friendship, sympathy, care and grace," Jo Kingstone wrote in an email. 

Another listener in Calgary said she's most excited about giving her home some of its former exuberance. 

"I dream of filling my home with family & friends — all laughing, enjoying food, hanging out in the kitchen — sharing stories and making a pile of noise. My home has been way too quiet!" Gerrie Forand said in an email. 

What are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over? Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC or email us at thecurrent@cbc.ca.


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