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Before it all began: here are some of the last 'normal' things you did pre-COVID

Cruises, concerts, vacations, luxurious mugs of hot chocolate with friends – these were some of the last things you did before pandemic-related shutdowns began
Lynn Wardle-Ransom and her husband Jim competed in a triathlon in California right before the pandemic was declared.

One year ago, COVID-19 was not a household phrase and some people had gone their whole lives without knowing how to sew a face mask. 

People were cruising, vacationing, spectating. 

We asked readers what they were doing in the few weeks leading up to the World Health Organization’s declaration of the global pandemic on March 11, 2020. 

The memories flooded in via email and in the Facebook comments. Here’s what you told us you were up to: 

“We went to a Stayner Siskins hockey playoff game. It was the last game because of COVID. I miss hockey.” - Jean Jensen 

“We were playing golf in Florida – prior to the dash back home later in the month.”  - Andrew Grant

“We were on a cruise ship through the South Atlantic Ocean, which ended in Cape Town South Africa. We circled Cape Town for three days before we were allowed to dock and then rushed to the airport to get home.”  - Yvonne Paech 

“I skied at Osler the day it closed and played hockey at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena the morning it closed and had beers with the boys at the Legion as everything shut down around us. What could be more Canadian than that?”  -Todd Corradetti 

“The last ‘normal’ thing my husband Jim and I did was compete in a triathlon in California while visiting our daughter. Sure do miss triathlons.” - Lynn Wardle-Ransom

“We are lucky enough to own a little apartment on the beach in the south of Spain. We were eating dinner with an old friend and two new friends on the beach from 8 to 10 p.m. Spain closed everything at 10 p.m. Police came into the restaurant and closed it down … We went into lockdown and had an awful time coming home to Canada. Three days in a hotel in Madrid … then two weeks in quarantine.”  - Ann Henley

“My friend and I were on a Caribbean cruise Feb. 23 to March 1. On March 8 I went to help my daughter with post-surgery. Then COVID. I live alone, grieving the loss of my husband … now feeling happy that vaccination is happening.” - Lorraine Anderson 

“I just got back from a fabulous trip to Mexico with my friends. We talked about where we would travel to in the summer and then in 2021. After COVID hit, we knew how lucky we’d been to have that fun time. The memories and pictures still help us cope.” - Judith Cox 

“We went to the St. Paddy’s Day celebration at Harbour Street Fish Bar. Live music, best friends, finger food. Got up with my two girlfriends and danced. Had the best day! The next day, my friend from the GTA and I went to window shop on Hurontario St. in Collingwood. Signs posted on the windows and closed doors. Went in one of the shops and when a salesperson overheard us talking about the previous day’s activities, she stepped away from us and we left. What a wakeup call for how our lives were going to change.” - Valerie Koyanagi

“Had a birthday party for my son at the bowling alley.” - Veronica Pardon

“We went to the Scotiabank Arena to see Disney on Ice.” - Joyce Johnston 

“I was sitting on the beach in Madeira Beach, Florida. Oblivious to what was happening until we were told to come home.” - Laura Foy

“They had just announced that schools would be closing and my husband and I went for a coffee at Ashanti's. I had a gorgeous hot chocolate with whipping cream and a chocolate. That was the last time we were inside anywhere to eat or drink.” - Erin Forscutt

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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