Different ways to enjoy the summer
Published in July, 2020 edition of Lifestyles 55
COVID-19 has created change in our lives. To navigate these uncertain and difficult times, we have had to make sacrifices, make changes, and adapt to a new normal. These changes have been difficult for families all over our province and all over our country. The relatively low case numbers are a testament to the hard work and sacrifices Manitobans have made and continue to make. We must all feel proud of our united effort to flatten the curve.
When many of us think of Manitoba in the summer, we think of the many world class culture and arts events right on our doorstep. We have an unparalleled Fringe Fest, Folklorama, and Icelandic Film Festival, to name a few of the many fantastic events. This year, we are unable to gather in large groups and participate in our usual festivals. It is a price we must pay now in order to celebrate together again as soon as possible. And we will celebrate together again.
The summer of 2020 will be different than any summer we’ve experienced before. Festivals have been cancelled, gatherings will continue to be limited, and we must accept that restrictions of some sort will be in place until a vaccine is made available. While we don’t know how long our travel advisories will be in effect, we do know that now is not the time to plan for vacations with far off destinations. Your summer vacation might have turned into a summer stay-cation.
Despite this new normal, there is still so much to do this summer! This might just be the best time for Manitobans to explore our own backyard.
Hikes: Manitoba is home to 110,000 lakes. The wilderness and beauty all around us are unparalleled. Spend some time on one of the many amazing hiking trails all around us. A quick drive out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park or Riding Mountain National Park will bring you to beautiful landscapes. Try hiking McGregor Falls near Falcon Lake or head over to the Manitoba escarpment in Riding Mountain National Park. When hiking, be sure to let a friend know your plans and expected return time.
City parks and spray pads: Physical distancing is still required when going to parks and spray pads. Luckily, many of our city parks are large enough that this won’t be an issue. Bring a picnic to enjoy with other members of your household. Take your dog to an off-leash dog park and make the rounds! Spray pads are open and a great way to cool off in the summer heat.
Fort Whyte Alive: The walking and cycling trails are perfect to check in on the wildlife around us while still in the city. Check in at the reception centre, grab a take-out bite from the Buffalo Stone Café, and look through the Nature Shop before walking through this piece of prairie wilderness. You might even see a herd of bison!
Assiniboine Park, Zoo, and Forest: Assiniboine Park is a fantastic place to enjoy our wonderful summer weather. The Assiniboine Park Zoo has reopened with a few modifications to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You’re encouraged to buy your tickets online, bring your own stroller or wagon, and use the provincial online COVID-19 screening tool before you plan your visit. If you’re not quite ready to venture out to the Zoo in person, there is always the option to watch their Creature Features on their Facebook page. The Assiniboine Forest is a sprawling urban forest and a gem in our city. Spend some time exploring the trails on bike or foot and keep an eye out for wildlife. You’ll very likely see some deer!
Virtual tours: Adapting to the new normal has been a challenge for many organizations throughout Manitoba. This unpredictable and uncertain time led many to use technology in new and innovative ways. Check out some of the great virtual tours and experience Manitoba from the comfort of your living room. Travel Manitoba has an extensive list of the many virtual tours with links to each one. Check them out at travelmanitoba.com
Canoe trips: For the avid boating fan, there are loads of great canoe and kayak trips to take right inside our city or outside of it. Check out Tourismwinnipeg.com to find fun river trips and boat rental options.
This summer will be different than any summer we have experienced before. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that we continue to keep the curve flat. We must continue to physically distance and follow the restrictions on social gatherings, wash our hands often, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Although this summer will be different, this might just be the perfect time for us to explore Manitoba!