Glancing at social media streams over the weekend one could be forgiven for thinking that the Island has been swamped by a deluge of virus-carrying invaders from away. But stepping into The Beer Store or grocery stores across the Island told a somewhat different story.
Normally, The Beer Store and LCBO would have been a hive of bustling activity during the May long weekend, Manitoulin’s unofficial beginning of the summer season. This weekend things were decidedly different, with fewer lineups being presented at those favourite campers’ watering holes than most of the preceding weekends.
Certainly there was no shortage of vehicles coming onto Manitoulin, although traffic across the venerable swing bridge in Little Current did not resemble the stampedes that made their presence known in earlier years. Many of those vehicles were pulling trailers and jammed to the gunnels with various and sundry supplies, this despite the ongoing provisions of a provincial lockdown.
What was missing from the usual May long weekend (known to those of a certain age as the Victoria Day long weekend or as the May 2-4 weekend depending on one’s cultural focus) were the crowds walking on the boardwalks, sidewalks and store aisles.
There is a simple answer to this mystery. Most of those coming to our shores during these most troubling of times have chosen to isolate themselves, either at their camps, summer homes or resort cottages. This reflects a fundamental virtue of Manitoulin Island and those who love this most blessed of isles—caring and consideration for both the land and its people.
Certainly those same social media pundits who raise alarms about the traffic heading onto the Island over the weekend will continue to decry the offenders, but for those paying attention on the ground it was plain to see that traffic was not only down, but the vast majority of those coming to the Island have taken pains to help keep us safe by social and physical distancing.
It is hard for a reasonable person to lay blame on those wishing to attend the solitude of their summer refuge despite the provincial lockdown when they are willing to take serious precautions to keep us safe from the third wave. To those people who have made that effort, either by forgoing their visits to Manitoulin (of which traffic numbers dictate there were obviously many), or those who did come but made their public presence scarce, we say thank you and may we meet together once again in better times.