2020 a Year Historians will Remember, a Year Most People Want to Forget

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Thunder Bay – VIEWPOINT – Honestly, NetNewsLedger won’t be publishing a list of “top stories” to end the year. There are two reasons, first, our viewpoint is always to look forward. Second, who really wants to re-live 2020?

2020 will likely go into the history books as a year for historians to remember while most people simply want to forget. If there were ever a year that needs a mulligan, 2020 is it.

2020 – The Year of Nothing?

This was a year sadly where cancellations were more the norm. The COVID-19 pandemic of course is the undisputed top story of the year. It caused massive cancellations of events and gatherings across our region, our province, our country and around the world all year.

To keep safe, there were countless events cancelled. Canada Day, National Indigenous Day, Pow Wows, the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition, Thunderwolves Sports, the Thunder Bay Border Cats baseball season, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Parade of Lights, the annual Christmas Parade, Remembrance Day at Fort William Gardens. We saw the Murillo Fall Fair, the Hymer’s Fall Fair, and the Labour Day picnic all cancelled. That of course is just the short list.

For Boxing Day and New Years Eve 2020 the province of Ontario is in mandatory lockdown.

2020 was the City of Thunder Bay’s 50th Birthday, and the majority of events associated with that had to be cancelled too. Some of the milestones demonstrated a lack of real empathy, the creation of a mascot that Indigenous people immediately saw as mocking their sacred Thunderbird was one mis-step.

It is a marker on doing better.

The restart of our social and economic systems is going to be a huge task. It is very likely the work to get many events going again post-pandemic is going to be far larger than many envision.

If there are heroes this year, and there are, topping the list it would be the frontline workers in Long-Term Care Homes across Canada.

What have we learned?

Over the course of 2020, we have seen the best of people, and the worst of people.

We have seen donations to many charities surge. We have seen many people stepping up to make a difference. We have seen the best rise as they always do to meet the challenge.

We have also see how a crisis also brings out the worst in some people.

The goal moving to 2021 and beyond is for more people to focus on being better people.

For 2021, with news of a vaccine, and with people being administered that vaccine, we are starting to see the the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel likely isn’t the lights of a speeding locomotive.

There is going to be enormous work needed to rebuild what has been lost over the course of 2020.

In many ways, perhaps it is an opportunity for people, and for governments to look at what is really important, and to focus on positive change.

For Thunder Bay, despite the efforts of many, our community seems in many ways stuck in the dregs of racism. Thunder Bay gets coverage in the national media that makes, it appears, many of our city council very uncomfortable.

This community has a lot of work ahead of itself to change the narrative.

The real leaders in our city in many ways are each one of us who care enough to start small steps of change.

Let us work, hope and dream that moving forward we do just that.

James Murray