Here's what Canadians are most excited for when the pandemic ends
The Current asked listeners what's at the top of their post-pandemic to-do list
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.
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.
I want to go to live music and stand shoulder to shoulder with friends and strangers and scream my heart out to music. I want to have people in my home for food and drink. I want to hug my friends. I want to see the smile of my children while in the arms of their grandparents.—@DrKaliBarrett
Live music -choirs, symphony, jazz - you name it. Being in a concert hall and experiencing the live sound reverberating around me. Being able to hug family outside my household. Being able to interact with people casually, at the printer at work, or in the coffee shop.—@Tosoccermom
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.
An ice cold arena. Drinking crap coffee, eating popcorn that’s too salty and talking about minor hockey like it matters.—@katierajhans
Seeing my kids hug their grandparents. That’s the big one. But also kids sports. Who would ever think I’d miss sitting in a gym watching 10-year-old, Novice basketball? 🤷♀️ I think it’s that I DEEPLY miss what team sports give to the kids that they can’t get elsewhere. <a href="https://twitter.com/OBABBall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OBABBall</a>—@LGrayMc
One woman on Twitter said the thing she's most excited about is hardware shopping in-person.
<a href="https://twitter.com/TheCurrentCBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheCurrentCBC</a> I can't wait to go and handle all the chainsaws at the farm equipment store when this pandemic is over. You can't choose the one you want from a picture in a catalogue.—@atelierivaan
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.
I am looking forward to walking down the street and not being fearful of the person coming towards me nor them of me. Then actually seeing our smiles as we acknowledge each other. 😀—@eva_karpati1
Just in general being able to do everyday things without a mask or that anxious fearful feeling that has been with me for over a year now. And to see all family members and hug them.—@SturdyHugh
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:
Another group of Canadians said they were most excited to travel and see the world.
Travelling for sure. I’m so mind numbingly sick of the four walls I live within.—@chantalsygk
Travelling. I really miss being able to visit friends here and overseas.—@roshenelawson
I am looking forward to flying to Victoria next fall to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 40th birthday and Thanksgiving with my family. The vaccine can’t come soon enough!—@allison0101
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.
Hugging my grandmother. She is 101 and the last time I hugged her was a year ago, after she returned from Florida early. In the interim, she’s lost a daughter - my mom - and a daughter-in-law.—@rouquinne
I’m looking forward to being reunited with my partner who lives in the 🇺🇸. Separated by border closures, we spent 309 days apart before being able to see each other. We’ve only seen each other that one time in the past year. It’s been tough!—@karaharris75
Hugging my daughter (in Bogota, Colombia) and my son (in Canmore) again. No more wimpy hugs - with anyone, ever!—@HoffyK
Dinner and the warm glow of talking with friends and family inside my house. Oh, and hugs on the way in and the way out ... and maybe between courses too, just cuz—@marlafine
I want to run into someone I haven’t seen in a long time, and spontaneously hug them. Je veux faire la bise, comme autrefois. I want to hold the hand of a friend when they are grieving. I want to just drop by and linger over tea. I want to go to a potluck.—@lucediversa
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 email@example.com.
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