Canada

Top 5 things to do as Canada takes baby steps towards a new normal

Forget (if you can) all the restrictions and scaremongering you’ve lived with since mid-March and imagine how life could be as the big lockdown loosens across the country.

Of course, you’ll be able to do slightly different things depending on where you live… But chances are somewhere between Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Tofino on Vancouver Island you’ll actually be able to walk out your front door and see what life is like in the new normal.

Here are the Top 5 things (broadly speaking) that might take on some greater meaning and poignancy.

Paddling in Ontario… Postmedia

1) The outdoors

Just taking in faint green shoots of freedom can be exhilarating.

More parks are opening up for day use. That includes some provincial parks, although you’ll have to wait until June for national parks to start this process. But, you can actually venture further afield than your local green space and go for a hike, a bike ride, or a paddle…

Alberta alone has more than 450 provincial parks, while Prince Edward Island has 13 day-use parks. Think of the Rocky Mountain views and the refreshing river trails, or sweeping beaches on the east coast.

Retail therapy is coming back. Peter J. Thompson/National Post/File

2) Shopping

Who knew curbside pick-ups would be a thing? If the sight of shop windows being unveiled after weeks of hiding undercover brought you joy, you just might be rushing — mask in hand — for some retail therapy.

Roots, Zara and Aritzia are among the stores you can now visit in Vancouver and Winnipeg. Even Hudson’s Bay stores are starting to open in British Columbia.

You might not want to linger, but the thought of instant gratification versus the ongoing wait (will it ever arrive) for online deliveries will undoubtedly be a welcome relief.

Play to win, but don’t get too close. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

3) Sports

You’ve learned love virtual workouts and you may even keep doing them, but the intoxicating lure of doing sports with others, as and when that’s geographically allowed, is tempting beyond belief. (For example, in Ontario and Nova Scotia that means no more than five people, in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. no more than 10, and in Alberta no more than 15.)

Regardless of whether you work out on your own, or with others, the mix of activities that are starting to be on offer are enough to get the adrenaline going.

Golf, rowing, tennis, figure skating, rock climbing, fishing, ping-pong, cycling tracks, even track and field sports are starting up again.

So, get your game on…

The Museum of Vancouver is hoping for a “late May, early June” opening. Jason Payne/Postmedia

4) Museums and galleries

Culture vultures this is the moment you’ve been waiting for… Paintings, sculptures and curios that are actually three-dimensional and right in front of your very own eyes. Go ahead, let these objets d’art take your breath away.

Quebec City’s Galerie3 opened earlier in May and had about 65 per cent of their normal traffic on the first day. The Winnipeg Art Gallery also opened with the first two days set aside for those wonderful frontline workers.

Lucky Manitobans are among the first to enjoy museum and gallery openings as part of their Phase 1 reopening. Albertans and British Columbians are able to visit some spaces. But Saskatchewanians need to practice patience a little longer and wait for the Phase 4 reopening. (That said, you can still bide your time with online offerings from the likes of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.)

We can start to think about indulging again. Getty Images

5) Pampering

Hats, ponytails and au naturel colour are all the rage, but as salons and barber shops open their doors, you can indulge yet again and let the professionals work their magic.

Waiting lists? No problem. Lockdown locks can wait — erm, well maybe — as long as there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. And rest assured there is.

You might want even more of a blissful boost as you ease into the new normal. Saskatchewanians and British Columbians are among the fortunate ones who can have manicures and pedicures. Bit by bit, even registered massage therapists and beauticians will be back brightening your day.

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