While summer is not officially over, it is hard not to notice that there has been a change in the air with the beginning of September. Back in May, when we were all looking forward to those long summer days and the hot sun, it was difficult to anticipate how it would go during the current times we are living. Now looking back, there were some highs and some lows.
As expected, given the closure of the U.S.- Canada border and with many restrictions across Canada, it was a summer that Manitobans reconnected with their own province and likely discovered a number of things that are in their own back yard that they never really noticed before. That certainly has been the case for my family and we definitely consider the opportunity to explore Manitoba as one of the positive aspects of this summer. From a variety of trails to new restaurants, we genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to see so many parts of our province that we had not seen before.
As this is the 150th anniversary of Manitoba becoming a province, part of the anniversary celebration was always to encourage Manitobans to see much of their province. That seems to have happened although for reasons no one imagined when planning was underway last year. For many local tourism enterprises, the influx of Manitobans has been a positive. However, the closure of the U.S. border has certainly hurt those hunting and fishing resorts that rely heavily on U.S. and other international visitors.
It also seemed that Manitobans took this unique summer to spend an extraordinary amount time on their homes and on their gardens. While this caused a shortage of some types of products, a great number of decks got built and home produce grown. I also saw more people out walking and biking in their community than in past years.
One of the biggest disappointments of course must be the many summer events and festivals that had to be cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Local community events are part of the fabric of our towns and cities and the absence of them this year was felt. While the opportunity to explore other places in Manitoba is one many Manitobans will long remember, there is something special about the opportunity to get together as neighbours to have a community event. The lack of these events will certainly be considered a low point of this summer however I am sure that we all look forward to them coming back stronger than ever.
As in everything in life, there are positives and negatives that seem to come from all experiences. As we move into the fall, let us keep looking for those positive and perhaps unexpected opportunities that come our way.