Since January of last year, The majority of the globe and Canada as a whole has been under strict quarantine, restricting the possibility of venturing outside and partaking in normal activities with friends and family. There is no doubt that this time has been a struggle for most, adapting to a more confined way of life, but due to these circumstances, I’ve noticed like-minded people have made an effort to try new hobbies and start projects. COVID-19 has taken a lot away, but simultaneously brought with it, an explosion of new and unforeseen trends. These trends do vary from down right unethical to right-minded, and I’ll be covering all of the ones that have stood out to me the most this past year and a half.
When we look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of trends that have started due to COVID-19, let’s start with the ugly and get it out of the way. Now this first one isn’t so much of a trend as it’s more of a shift in a social mentality. Since the start of the virus in Wuhan, China there has been an explosion of xenophobia across the world against people of asian descent. In Canada it has become a huge issue country wide. But for the sake of familiarity lets narrow it down to the Lower Mainland of BC. In Vancouver, the VPD has seen a 717 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes since 2019. To current times, British Columbia has surpassed any sub-national region in North America for having the most reported anti-Asian hate crime incidents per Asian capita. Myself being of Asian Descent I have sadly heard and seen these crimes from family members and friends. I can’t understand the blind rage for someone who has nothing to do with the spreading of the virus. Most of these anti-Asian hate crimes are being committed against people who are native to BC and have grown up here. For another person to make irrational claims that someone else has caused harm because of their nationality or the colour of their skin, will only work to heighten disdain between both parties.
Not only has racism sparked a panic amongst BC residents but drugs as well. As COVID-19 started it brought on an opioid crisis that shows no signs of stopping. Vancouver Downtown Eastside has been hit hard by the opioid crisis as it houses one of the largest homeless populations in BC. Fentynal has played a huge part in overdoses during COVID-19 as it has become more cost effective for drug dealers to use it as a replacement for other chemicals in the drugs. The BC Coroners Office put out a report late March describing the effects toxic drugs have had on British Columbia. On average 5.5 people per day died of illicit drug toxicity in the month of February alone. At this point in time, drug toxicity per 100,000 BC residents is at its all time worst rate since 1995. In Mid April the BC government requested a federal exemption from Health Canada to decriminalize drug possession. The BC government believes this will destigmatize drug use and encourage users to seek help or at least seek safer supplies. It’s a slow start to combating such a prevalent problem in our city but it could very well be what gets the ball rolling.
Switching to a more palatable topic, I believe COVID-19 has brought on a better appreciation for what we can make in and around our homes. Gardening has seen a huge increase as Canadians rush to stores to buy potting equipment and seeds. People’s reasoning for putting their green thumbs to work ranged from food shortages and higher prices to wanting to pass the time. According to research done by Agri-Food at Dalhousie University, one in five Canadians started Gardening in 2020.
“We believe that the gardening rate in Canada was a little over 30 per cent before the pandemic, but we’ve clearly seen a COVID bump.” – Sylvian Charlesbois, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University
Said Sylvian Charlesbois, a professor from Dalhousie University. Prof. Charlesbois continued to say that research shows a 51 per cent increase since COVID-19. At the start of COVID-19 my brother, my dad and I all started a huge project in the backyard. For most of 2020 we dug out our whole backyard and built a whole garden full of vegetables, herbs, and spices. It was a very cool experience for my brother and I, being the first time we had spent a lengthy time with our dad and working with our hands. It was rewarding in the fact that we were able to accomplish something so large during a time when little could be done.
My family also, as well as many others in our neighbourhood were building more than just nice gardens. My dad, my brother, and I were able to build two sheds within the span of a year and a half. One was for all of our outdoor gear and tools, and the other one has become somewhat of a relaxing area. My mom tends to call it her “she shed”. My dad was quite price conscious when it came to acquiring building supplies, however he still needed to pay quite a bit for lumber. This past year, home renovations weren’t the only thing that exploded, but lumber prices as well. Due to a shortage of lumber, costs for basic lumber like two-by-fours have doubled since 2018. The reason for all this being mass closures in lumber mills across Canada.The lumber mills that are still in operation aren’t able to work at max capacity due to concerns of spreading COVID-19. For those building houses or doing large renovations, you’ll be spending an arm and a leg to get your hands on lumber. Before COVID-19 home builders were able to buy a thousand board feet for $550, but now prices are upwards to $1400 for the same amount of materials. In this case there seems to be a positive and negative that came out of this situation.
Overall COVID-19 has been the base of horrible trends, but I feel as a community we are starting to work towards fighting these issues in effective manners. I believe as individuals we have been able to reconnect with family and our surroundings we tended to neglect before lockdown. I feel more lively knowing there is more to do around my area than meets the eye.