Pandemic Murals

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.

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