A couple of events in Southeast Manitoba showed how the pandemic is bringing back some old-timey experiences or transforming conventional activities in the run-up to the May Long weekend.
On Friday, May 15, Steinbach saw the return of the drive-in movie, courtesy of the local Smitty’s. Around 50 to 60 vehicles packed the family restaurant’s sprawling back lot as patrons awaited the 9:00 PM screening of 2017 crowd-pleaser ‘Jumanji’. The outdoor cinema experience treated area residents with a blast from the past while complying with the physical distancing required by the ongoing pandemic. River Heights-based Bulldog Outdoor Movies set up a giant 13′ x 18′ inflatable video screen atop a flatbed truck. At $5 per person or $10 per vehicle, the event was well-received and even elicited interest in Winnipeg. Local resident Tracy Savard Whitby commented on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “We loved it!! A truly unique experience right here in Steinbach.”
According to Christian Cassidy who wrote an article in the Winnipeg Real Estate News about the city’s history of drive-in theatres, Winnipeg had six drive-ins in operation at one time 65 years ago. Nowadays, Manitoba drive-in theatre fans only have two options for enjoying an outdoor cinema experience: make the trip to the Stardust Drive-In in Morden, or drive all the way to the Big Island Drive-In near Flin Flon. Time will tell if the resurgence of this retro movie-going option will be sustained by the continued physical distancing.
As the pandemic seems to have brought back drive-in theatres, it also appears to be transforming the typical fundraiser run/walks. On Saturday, May 16, was the Social Distance Challenge of World Vision Canada, a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization that runs programs to overcome poverty and injustice, and benefit children, families and communities.
The event invited all Canadians to get moving — go for a run, take a walk, dance up a storm, do some jumping jacks – all in an effort to “move” 6,000 km across Canada – virtually. To make all kilometres and activities count, the event provided an online activity tracker. Philanthropist, Model, Host, Writer and Real Housewives of Toronto star Joan Kelley Walker pledged to donate $4 for every kilometre logged into the activity tracker. Up to $25,000 will to go towards World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — one of the most fragile countries in the world.
The activity recommended 6 kilometres, which is the average distance that women and children in developing countries need to walk each day to get water. All activities can be done indoors or outside, as long as local public health regulations for social distancing are followed. This writer and his family were among the participants, and walked around the track of a nearby middle school to chip in a modest 4.5 kilometres to the cause. In an email sent to participants, World Vision Canada reported that over 1000 Canadians participated, and the goal of moving 6,000 km was not only achieved but the distance covered was even doubled, resulting in a total of $28,000 raised. Participants received a digital certificate as a token of World Vision Canada’s appreciation for helping exceed the goal.