KNOX – Summer is now unofficially over, and what a great one it was
IT GOT HOT AGAIN last week, one last hurrah. As it turned out, this summer was a lot like last year’s Canucks: slow to get going, but pretty good by the end of the season.
Alas, summer is done now. Not technically, perhaps, but once we reach Labour Day and pull on our long pants and longer faces, it’s effectively over. Time to get our heads out of the clouds, our toes out of the sand and our butts back to work.
First step: Catch up on all the news we missed while not paying attention for the past couple of months. Is Trump in prison yet? Is the Trans Mountain pipeline finished? Everybody got a family doctor? Climate change sorted out?
Here’s what you need to know: Vladimir Putin won the Nobel peace prize, wild-eyed freedom convoy organizers trademarked the flag, the Malahat was converted to one-way southbound on Sundays, and Victoria council put an end to the never-ending cars-vs-bikes squabbling by banning both from city streets, leaving only skateboards. (Just kidding. Horse-drawn carriages are allowed, too.)
Well, no, but there were some interesting developments this summer:
The cost of living kept going up, driven by A) rising wages, B) supply chain issues and C) debit machines, which now assume that everyone from your proctologist to your bail bondsman needs an 18 per cent tip.
The labour shortage continues, with big holes to fill everywhere you look: hotels, restaurants, hospitals, airports, Victoria city council ….
Speaking of city council, it’s still wrestling with its missing-middle initiative which, depending on your perspective, would either A) ease the pressure in a city where a typical single-family home now goes for $1.4 million, as much as it cost to film Rocky, or B) do nothing but replace Victoria’s leafy, lovely neighbourhoods with treeless, charmless Stalinscapes. The missing middle might refer to common ground.
In politics, Premier Dad announced he’ll step aside later this year. David Eby is his likely successor, though it’s hard to imagine Eby at a Shamrocks game. (In related news, deposed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to open a martial arts studio in Victoria’s Old Town: BoJo’s LoJo Dojo.)
Meanwhile, with 400,000 public-sector workers looking for new contracts, British Columbians are worried about disruptions at liquor stores, schools, hospitals, liquor stores, provincial government offices, liquor stores and liquor stores, though the threat to the latter has now eased.
What else happened? In July, a network outage at Rogers Communications briefly plunged Canada into a dystopian nightmare in which people were forced to speak to each other face to face.
Also in July, fugitive pigs on the lam from a Cowichan Valley farm ripped up a Duncan-area golf course. Then they deflated the tires on 34 SUVs in Victoria and Oak Bay. Wait, no, that was a different group.
Also in July, Albertan Dave Proctor reached the Terry Fox statue at Mile Zero, breaking Al Howie’s 6,700-kilometre St. John’s-to-Victoria running record with a new mark of 67 days, 10 hours. Proctor would have been faster had he not been stalled by a 37-sailing wait at Tsawwassen.
Speaking of B.C. Ferries, the NDP-installed board fired the boss. That didn’t make the service any more reliable, though your next trip will be aboard the Spirit of Tommy Douglas.
Vancouver Island saw its first few cases of monkeypox this summer, though we suspect the disease wouldn’t get as much attention if it didn’t have a name like a 1970s disaster movie. (The most exciting threat of 2019, murder hornets, should have been on a drive-in triple bill with Sharknado and Killer Bees.)
Speaking of plagues, the big news is that the pandemic is over. Just kidding! The infection rate in B.C. is still high, which is why the streets are empty, everyone is wearing a mask, we’re all maintaining our six-foot gaps and you’re still scrubbing your hands like a surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy, right? Right!?
Wrong. Apparently the pandemic is like The Walking Dead, gripping at the beginning but then it dragged on too long and we got tired of waiting for it to end. Now you stumble across it and go: “Jeez, is that still on?” Yup, it sure is. As of Aug. 2, children as young as six months of age became eligible for the COVID vaccine. They must have been thrilled.
Also thrilled: anyone who likes doing stuff. Remember, by this time last year, we hadn’t even reached the end of B.C.’s four-phase Restart 2.0 plan, the one that began with us still schlepping around in our Pandemicwear — pyjama pants and 1994 Commonwealth Games T-shirts that looked as though they had been used to clean a chainsaw — not knowing that a horrific heat dome was about to chase us back into our basements.
This year, by contrast, we saw the return of the paint-in, Deuce Days, markets, outdoor festivals…. What a great summer.
Jack Knox is a born-and-raised Kamloopsian who once worked at the Kamloops Daily News. He is now a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist. Since joining the Times Colonist in 1988, Jack has worked as a copy editor, city editor, editorial writer and editorial page editor. Prior to that he was an editor and reporter at newspapers in Campbell River, Regina and Kamloops. He won the Jack Webster Foundation’s City Mike Award for Commentator of the Year in 2015.
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