Midday on a Saturday afternoon about six weeks ago, I went for a walk through downtown Vancouver to see what it looked like during a pandemic lockdown.
It was heart breaking.
There was no traffic to speak of. Tables and chairs on outdoor patios were covered in a thick layer of dust. All the stores were shuttered and most of them boarded up with plywood to discourage break-ins.
That was the day when it hit me what this pandemic is doing to our society.
A few weeks later, I heard that many of the boarded-up stores had hired artists to paint murals. So I went back for another look.
Many of the murals are rather uplifting. They certainly made me feel much more cheerful.
This week, British Columbia began Phase 2 of its pandemic lockdown. And so I took yet another walk to see the transformation.
Traffic levels were what you’d expect for a sunny afternoon. Many of the stores — which were never ordered closed, but they closed anyways — are open again with all physical-distancing measures in place.
It still doesn’t look like Vancouver of three months ago, but it’s a glimpse of what our new normal will be.
For now, at any rate.