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Should We Go (to Toronto)?

As usual, it was ridiculously hot and humid on July 1. But unlike most years, we weren’t sweating on Parliament Hill, waving flags and attending Ottawa’s biggest summer party.

The city was dead quiet. Predictably, Canada Day celebrations had all gone virtual across the country.

I found it sad and pointless to celebrate from the living room, in front of the TV, so I treated it as a normal day. I worked, I didn’t wear red and I didn’t play with the firecrackers Feng bought—yes, I know, rebelling against a pandemic is very childish of me and I completely agree cancelling live events was the right move, anyway.

I was in a bad mood and sick of a long list of things last week, including the crazy queues in front of supermarkets—granted, the ones pictured below were mostly because of people stocking up before Canada Day, but still.

Queue at Loblaws a few days before Canada Day, Ottawa, July 2020
Queue at Loblaws a few days before Canada Day, Ottawa, July 2020
Queue at Walmart a few days before Canada Day, Ottawa, July 2020
Queue at Walmart a few days before Canada Day, Ottawa, July 2020

The three of us needed a change a scenery, a break from worrying about what we can’t control—work and money, back to school plans (or lack thereof), the state of the world.

Yes, it’s a pandemic, it’s not like we can run away from it, but we can still do stuff, right?

Travelling has always been the best medicine for me. Going away and living out of a bag for a few days or a few months is a great way to focus on the present and enjoy the moment, something I can never achieve at home—no, thank you, I’ll pass on the virtual meditation classes, really. When I travel, I pay attention to what I see, hear and feel, on what I need right away. I invariably realize the world is much friendlier than what the news report. It’s a back to the basic experience—find food, cool places and shelter, never mind tomorrow.

So, where could we go? Toronto was the obvious pick—no travel restrictions, a manageable five-hour drive, a big enough place.

“Everything will be closed.”

“Yep.”

Toronto only entered phase 2 of the reopening plan on June 24, almost two weeks after Ottawa.

“No restaurants…”

Takeout only, probably. Worst case scenario, supermarkets.”

“No movie theatres, queues everywhere, closed museums…”

“Same as in Ottawa. But new streets to walk on!”

“No public bathrooms.”

“I know, travelling on hard mode. Whatever.”

“Okay, let’s go. When do we leave? Tomorrow?”

“Day after? I have deadlines!”

And so we left on July 2, with a couple of tote bags and Mark who was very excited to go somewhere, anywhere.

Pit stop on HWY 401, July 2, 2020
Pit stop on HWY 401, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020
Arriving in Toronto, July 2, 2020

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