2020 In Review

home alone
computers lifelines


It has been quite a year! 

John and I have learned that we are can happily coexist without killing each other. We knew this when we could be travelling about in other countries and spending winters in the sun. But it is different when you are cooped up at home with nowhere to go. This year has been about immediate, household togetherness.
I have learned that it is possible to live a semi-normal life during a pandemic. We have been fortunate to live where we do.

This (these) were our years to get a lot of travel in. Instead we luckily have been happy staying home.

In December we decided to delay our winter sojourn until February as John was having a muscle issue that he wanted to have his doctor check, once he got the all clear we made our plans, booking various accommodations in Portugal and a flight to Madeira for a week in a timeshare.
John had a spreadsheet completed which had us leaving February 20 (then moved to Feb 22) and returning the end of March.

Covid was hitting the news around this time.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter's plane crash had a story beside it.

John was following the number of cases in Portugal.
We were getting ready to book our overseas flights when we looked at each other and said, no, let's not!
January 30 I cancelled our flight to Madeira that I had booked on January 8.

Interesting as I recap this in January 2021 that my last post of February never even mentioned Covid although we had cancelled our trip.

The year went like this - January to mid-March were normal. 


And I use this term loosely since we could only do take out or delivery for most of the year. 

We saw Joel in January when he was here on business and we all went out to dinner. Then in February the three of us went to Quinn's.

We had a lunch with some family in January at Lena's.

We did go to a dinner in January at the National Club with Linda and Mary Kaye was there as well.

On March 11 we went to Longo's for a sushi class, which turned out to be our last social activity before the lockdowns became a fact of life. It is funny looking back, we were given gloves but no social distancing.

February was the last time we ate inside a restaurant in 2020  until September when we met Alan and Brennan at the Brogue Inn!
By then we felt comfortable going inside to eat but the pub was only operating as per requirements at about 50% occupancy. Also it was getting a little chilly for eating outside.
It turned out to be the ONLY time after February that we ate inside in 2020!

There were strict rules for take-out when they reopened in May, only 3 people in location at a time. one family member only, place order with cell phone number, step outside and wait for call.

Early June and they started talking about relaxed rules for restaurants but still no indoor dining.

We had a few summer months when we could dine on a patio. In July we did pizza on a patio in Niagara on the Lake, a patio lunch at a winery and my birthday lunch aat O and B, a favourite, on Front St.

We did some takeout during the first lockdown
Burrito Boyz - not a good experience
Mad Mexican in May
August 8 in June
Gluten free fish and chips in St. Catharine's June/July
We got into packing a picnic lunch on outings.

In September we had our first virtual dinner party hosted by our financial advisor.

October and indoor dining was again banned.

November was a gorgeous month and we were able to have a full Irish breakfast at the George St. Diner sitting outside. Under the new rules we were given disposable plates and cutlery.


On March 12 our cleaning lady came for the last time until July! She is Portuguese and has been following the situation in her home country and is very afraid.

The city turned into a ghost town!

 Ontario also announces 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 59.

March 14: Canadians who are out of the country are strongly urged by the federal government to return home as “new restrictions may be imposed with little warning.” Previously, the feds had urged Canadians to cancel or postpone non-essential trips.

March 16: The province recommends the closure of all recreation programs, libraries, private schools, daycares, and churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that offer takeout or delivery.

March 16 and the building locked all communal spaces and cancelled all social activities. The gym and pool were out of bounds. Valet service cancelled. 

March 17: Ford declares a state of emergency in Ontario while ordering some business to be closed, including daycares, bars and restaurants, theatres and private schools.

The next day Canada imposed lockdowns at the border. As of the end of 2020 the border still has not re-opened.

Stores introduced exclusive senior shopping hours.

People start stockpiling toilet paper!
I started ordering flour online. Stores were running out of flour and yeast!

We learned some many things over the next year. People went crazy sanitizing everything from groceries to delivered packages.
We stopped hugging and shaking hands.
Lineups became to norm.
We all discovered what colour our hair really was!
The more time I have the less gets done.

Wondering how all those guys with two families are managing during these times.

We stopped wearing "real" clothes. I can make a fashion wardrobe out of pajama bottoms and various tops.

We discovered online learning and online jigsaw puzzles.

My bucket list when this is over:
Sushi at our favourite August 8 - no indoor dining in 2020
Haircut - July to November
Pedicure - July to November
Cleaning lady - she returned in July
Dinner at Canoe - not in 2020
BFF lunch - September once
Road trips - around the city
Travel - not in 2020
Winter away - not in 2020
Theatre - not in 2020
Museums - July to November

And so begins a new language.
Social distancing
Flatten the curve
Curbside pickup
Sheltering in place

Once spring came and we ventured out a little more we started seeing social distancing at a new level, on public transit, in elevators, escalators.
Warnings were blatant.

Palace Pier instituted strict rules. While some amenities opened for a short period there were still guidelines. Most amenities were shut down again in November for the rest of the year.
The office was closed to walk ins. The front desk was outfitted with plexiglass. Valet service was not reinstated for 2020.

Elevators were limited to two people for the rest of 2020.

Signs of encouragement appeared on locked up businesses.

We made our first masks at the end of March.

The beginning of May brought a "suggestion" from the condo board for people to wear masks, not too much longer until it was no longer a suggestion.

May 4 and grocery stores started mandating masks must be worn in stores.
Our convenience store in the building offered disposable masks and gloves for sale along with face shields.

Mask designers popped up everywhere and we did our share of buying. Our first purchased masks were from Peach Beserk in May, a local designer on Queen St. West.
Of course I picked the Frida!

Masks quickly because the fashion accessory of the year! We began coordinating our masks to our outfits.
Masks became the latest gifts for socially distanced showers, our cleaning lady gave us a homemade mask and hand sanitizer as a thank gift for a grandbaby gift.

I found websites that printed your photos on masks so of course we had to get some of those. We only bought Canadian products. 

Public places got cute with their mandated mask signs, even John got in on it with his memoji and I made us a mask holder.

Zoom conversations became a norm for many things.

April arrived spring sprung and the natives grew restless. Parks had to be closed and police relegated to stop groups gathering. 

April saw curbside shopping became a thing and we now have debit terminals attached to sticks for distanced payment!

May 1 headline State of Emergency in Toronto Extended Until COVID Crisis has Ended. Considering I am updating this in January 2021 on the day another state of emergency has been announced, I think we were all a little naive about this.

May and we ventured out although everything is still closed. 
The cherry blossoms bloomed and the parks had to be closed to stop people crowding in.

May 19 was to be the first stage of re-opening.
The city introduces "quiet streets" and closed streets on weekends to allow more space for pedestrians outdoors. This continued until November.
Clearly the concept needed further testing. The first weekend the traffic outside our window was utter chaos.

Golf courses reopened at the end of May with lots of restrictions.

We finally had a socially distanced visit with friends.

Tax deadlines were moved from April to the end of June. It's the first time since we retired that we got a refund.

In May we started finding murals dedicated to the front line workers.

By the end of June we were moving to zone 2 - after 14 weeks hair and nail salons, museums, malls, restaurant patios and pools were allowed to open.


In June we started our first day trips, the first to Welland to see the murals that Tom had first posted.

Welland also had sculptures and canoes.

We started exploring our own Niagara Region wineries and gained a wealth of new delicious wines as we made it a goal to buy from each one. At this point many were not open or only open for curbside.

We found pizza wine at London Born.

A visit to St. Catharine's and we discovered a link to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railway.
A First Nations' Monument and the impressive Morningstar Mill. We couldn't go inside anywhere but you could visit the grounds.
We also discovered great gluten free fish and chips in St. Catharine's at Union Jack, eating in a park nearby. We had bought folding chairs for our picnics!
We discovered Herdner which has become a house staple!

And the incredible sculpture garden at 13th Street Winery.
And burger wine!!

Day trip to Jordan. We discovered a local distillery, Dillon's, that does gins and vodkas. It is crazy that we never knew about any of these local businesses but they will be getting our support going forward.
We found a great picnic spot at Charles Dailey Park.

We continued into July and went to the Niagara on the Lake area and our first patio lunch this year, on the hottest day, sitting on concrete, with no trees or breeze for a not so great pizza.
Visited Wayne Gretzy's but loved Between the Lines where we had a great tasting.

July saw another St. Catharine's visit.

When we started our winery expeditions many were closed.


30 Bench - closed
Angels Gate - closed
Bench Brewing - closed in old school
Featherstone - closed
Fielding - closed
Hidden Bench - closed
Leaning Post 
London Born
Megamaniac - closed
Puddicombe - closed
Redstone - closed
Rosewood - closed
Tawse - closed
Vineland - closed
Organized Crime - closed
13th Street Winery
Henry of Pelham
Foreign Affair - closed
Harbour Estate
Dillion's Distillery
Di Profio - closed
Sue Ann Staff
Pearl Morrissette
Cave Springs
Good Earth

Graffiti Alley had a series of new murals supporting Black Lives Matter.

I took my first public transit outing in June, the first since March.

We did manage some city exploring and found new surprises.


Click here for 2019 Scoops!

Monk's Grimsby
Pink grapefruit and raspberry lemonade

Nani's Gelato
Last year we tried carrot and cream and sweet potato as samples at his food truck so it was top of my list for 2020.
Indian chai and espresso liqueur
Mojiito (V) chocolate raspberry (V) ricotta strawberry

Homemade banana pineapple coconut.
AND we had our first Starbucks caramel drizzle frappacino of the season. Does it count?
We enjoyed a lot of ice cream from a local place, Lola's that we can walk to.
Rum and raisin
Pumpkin spice
Cherry cheesecake

In September we had our first virtual dinner party hosted by our financial advisor.

October and indoor dining was again banned.

November was a gorgeous month and we were able to have a full Irish breakfast at the George St. Diner sitting outside. Under the new rules we were given disposable plates and cutlery.

I finally got a haircut and mani/pedi in July, the first since March!

I’ve learned how to accessorize with different types and colors of masks.

August 2020 - Yorkville

We spent most of the year in lockdown from March until around mid-June when a staged approach was used to reopen retail businesses.

March to June and it was like a ghost town. Everyone who could worked at home. Non-essential businesses were closed.
Traffic was 
By April we started going out, by car, to look at murals.
In May we started touring the Niagara wine regions.

John came with me for a mani pedi just before we went into lockdown again in November.


Food processor - points June
Frying pans - June
Folding lawn chairs - June
Coloured mixing bowls with lids - July

Lots of home improvements happened. Rooms got updates.

Prior to the pandemic, we bought a new rug for our bedroom in January at Ikea.

We replaced the balcony screens in June.

The living room blinds had been removed a few years ago but the metal frames needed to be taken out for the blinds. The balcony door handle, for some reason, had an extra handle that stood out so John removed that as well.

Had to get rid of stuff before any jobs were done.
Part of the plan required calling in 1-800-GOTJUNK and it turned out they have a building discount of $67, bonus.

I was sad to see my trusty kitchen island go. The plant stand had come from the house and was starting to rust, it also blocked the view.
That was the shutters and frames on the balcony. The futon went, it was also from the house, and John wanted an exercise machine since it was Covid and the gym in the building was closed.

Got a photo framed for the kitchen - Mamma's Pizza, here in Toronto.

Since we couldn't go anywhere, we did a road trip theme in the bathroom.

And I did a lot of different cooking and baking. 
John tracked down the Jamie Oliver book for my birthday.

And I bought the Paul Hollywood baking book as I have binged on the Great British Bake Off series - all ten seasons that were available on CBC Gem. Now I want all the books and the merchandise. Or at least the apron, hint, hint.

Conquered a few new skills
Gravies - mushroom, mustard lemon
I made butter!
Made churnless ice creams

Found a great new gluten free bakery in the eastend, Gemaro's. John really liked their sandwich bread.

John actually tried shrimp with lemon garlic pasta sauce and liked it - in May.

Since the buildings amenities had to close in the spring and now again in November, John is glad that he bought his own exercise equipment in the summer.
John took one look at the instructions for putting the machine together and called in the Best Buy experts to do it for $300, it needed two people.

Thankfully it was summer when we had the most freedom. John's men's golf league got cancelled but he managed to play almost three times a week from May until the very end of November. Everything was socially distanced, no beers in the clubhouse or high fiving!

He even was able to get his annual round in at Wooden Sticks but with social distancing rules 

Lots and lots of shopping online. I started using Rakuten at the end of 2019 and put it to use this year, earning $109 in cashback, not a huge amount, but still basically for nothing.
We did use Amazon

However we did try to shop local and discovered some great Canadian retailers like Simon's and Linen Chest. I knew Linen Chest, her first store was around the corner from where I grew up in Montreal. But hadn't been in a store in a long tome.

Joel Weeks park and  murals at Regent Park Plaza  coffee at George St. Diner
Brickworks and lookout
Chester Hill lookout Queen St. and Broadview and coffee at Tartulia now sadly a victim of the pandemic.
Karen and I went to Michaels
New sculpture on Adelaide by Plensa. New Toronto sign. Coffee at Page One
Pumpkins After Dark drive thru

New Loblaw's and LCBO Bathurst
Murals Lake Shore and Dixie
Corktown coffee and murals St.Paul's  Henrietta's
My last haircut of the year I went to King St. W (Alex Trabek memorial)
New College Park Farmboy
Lake Shore E and Coxwell murals

New bus terminal
Christmas decorations
Yorkville Christmas lights

I miss all the theatre we would have attended. Concerts were nil.

Our tickets for Van Gogh, which I had bought for early May (we would be back for our winter travels LOL) were moved to early July. We drove there, our friends decided not to come. After a coffee, ordered and paid for by app, before receiving and drinking them outside, we entered and loved the social distancing.

When museums opened in the summer we did manage a few visits at the AGO and ROM. I never go to the Gardiner or Textile, although I did buy season passes. All our season passes had been extended for the spring lockdown and I expect the same for the Nov-Dec lockdown.

We both attended the Illusions at the AGO.

And Winnie the Pooh at the ROM.

I also went to the AGO a few times on my own. I saw several at the ROM as well, a florals and a textile displays.

Black Lives Matter

Thanks to Frontline workers.

I could go on and on about the the United States and the mess/craziness that we watched with bated breath all year. Suffice it to say that it is well documented in the websites of 2020 events.

 Long wandering afternoons with my BFF!

when the city announced they would allow bars and restaurants to set up patios under their CafeTO program.
We had the summer to get out and about under social distancing guidelines. Stores were open.
We enjoyed the summer with the modified rules, never realizing we would be locked down again in November.

It's funny doing this recap and seeing that in October we were worried about the daily numbers hitting 600 when at the end of the year we were over 3000.

Home improvements

Lots and lots of movies and series were watched. We binged quite a few series.

Baking and cooking stepped into high gear.

My bucket list when this is over:
Sushi at our favourite August 8 - no indoor dining in 2020
Haircut - July to November
Pedicure - July to November
Cleaning lady - she returned in July
Dinner at Canoe - not in 2020
BFF lunch - September once
Road trips - around the city
Travel - not in 2020
Winter away - not in 2020
Theatre - not in 2020
Museums - July to November

We lost several family/friends this year.

Peacefully passed away with family by her side at the Innisfree House Hospice in Kitchener on Friday March 6, 2020 at the age of 76. Beloved wife to the Late Ronald Manske (2017).
Loving Mother to Julie and her spouse Laura, Andrew and his spouse Lisa and Katherine and her spouse Rob. Loving and devoted “Grandma” to Jakob, Kaleb, Tyler, Koyote, Anais, and Heidi.

We went to the visitation and that would be the last time we would see Laura and Julie. Lockdown started a couple of days later.

Public display of loss during the year

Kobe Bryant

Alex Trebek

Before the world went into lockdown we did get some things done.
We saw an exhibit at the Market Gallery as St. Lawrence Market about Toronto Streetart. I linked up our photos of the murals that were in the exhibit.

We attended the IceFest in Yorkville. Funny looking at the photos and no masks or distancing.

In February we went to the Light Fest in the Distillery District.

Pop Ups were "Popping" up. Another victim of the pandemic. Oreos and Hershey Kisses.

February Harbourfront art

We both had lunches out with friends.

John went to the Golf show with a friend.

We had cold temperatures with cold weather warnings in February.

In February I remarked on a family that lived on their boat in the harbour. And then in December we had our own local boatman Tate Hill, living on his boat in Humber Bay. You can read Tate's story here.

Who knew the impact of #BlackLivesMatter as we celebrated Black History Month in February?


Who knew when the year started how it would change our world so quickly?

I chose this photo as our 2019 photo of the year.

Weekend Roundup started with Letter A and I went with a coffee theme for this round.

On a much sadder note, the New York Times reported on the Ukraine plane crash that killed 63  57 Canadians returning home from Tehran. It is not known if the Iranian surface to air missile that caused the crash was deliberate or not.
All I can say is that Trump was responsible for this.
Trump on downed Ukrainian plane: "It was flying at a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could've made a mistake."
Wait, so the plane was roughed up and mugged???



I didn't do a post for the first week of March which was odd. The second March post was appropriately titled Coronavirus when the world came to a standstill.

Week ending March 20 and I started counting the weeks in my weekly titles Self Isolation Week 2. And so started the shopping online!


Week ended May 8 and we order our first masks, the first of many this year.
We are venturing out a little more but always keeping to ourselves. 


Self Isolation Week 13 they started talking looser rules for restaurants. Then the #Black Lives Matter matches happened.
We started taking day trips around the area.
Then the start of our Niagara region wine country.

Sidewalking Queen St. W


Cee from Cee's Photo Challenges
I had a marvelous response from all of you on last week’s Anything Painted, from a cabinet to peeling paint challenge. I want to say thank you to each of you. Here are the featured bloggers for this week. Their posts really grabbed my attention. They are all worthy of a second or third look.
Travel with Intent
Junk Boat Travels
Week end July 4 Self Isolation week 17 we got out around The Gay village and Spadina.

Week ending July 11 Self Isolation week 18

The end of July signals my birthday and we celebrated on a patio at a favourite, O and B on Front St.



September saw our first virtual dinner party and funeral.

We were in house improvement mode getting ready for the blinds to be installed.

This was the initial order but I changed it later to have black out blinds in all rooms.

We did see Winnie the Pooh at the ROM.

Our first virtual dinner party.

Mom and Dad would have been married 69 years on September 24.

We attended our first virtual funeral for Uncle Jim. It was a shame not to be able to go and be with family. But we got to watch the service on Youtube.

Mom died September 30, 1989, 31 years ago!!!


We've used the same insurance company for 35+ years with nary a claim. This year they increased our rates, John looked around and got us a $700 savings, buh-bye, Personal!

I found Friends (TV series) mugs and had to buy them for DIL and GD in Montreal.

Dim Sum week ended October 2 who knew when I got tired of counting the weeks of self isolation at the end of September that we would go back into isolation in November?

Toronto got its own Jaume Plensa sculpture. We have seen several of his pieces.


I can't believe November 2 was the 7th anniversary of my sister's death.


Not much else got done. But we did manage to have a big Irish breakfast outside on a balmy November morning at the George Diner.

Victory Cake week ending November 13 so named because tRump was defeated!

Soup Weather week ending November 27
In a lockdown so we didn't really go anywhere this week.

November 20 NYT puzzle record held by Jackie

Soup Weather week ended November 27 our wedding anniversary which John forgot again this year!
It was the first week of lockdown so we didn't go anywhere. 


We started the month in lockdown so things were quiet. Bowled Over week ended December 4. We got our Christmas present to ourselves, a smart TV and I replaced my slow cooker with a Crock Pot that also browns and roasts.

Featured Bloggers

I had a marvelous response from all of you on last week’s Leaves and Trees challenge. I want to say thank you to each of you for joining along in my challenge.  Here are the featured bloggers for this week.  Their posts really grabbed my attention. They are all worthy of a second or third look.

My featured photo was

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Dough tired of staying home we went downtown to check out the new bus terminal.

Last post of the year Christmas Cheer and it was all about the food.

Dec 31 crossword 59 secs

In looking back I didn't record what we watched until October.

Shows/Series watched
Masterchef The Professionals Jackie Dailymotion
The Final Table Jackie Netflix
The Chef's Line Jackie Netflix
Masterchef Ireland
The Great Canadian Bake-Off 3 seasons Jackie
The Spy Netflix
Killer Inside Netflix
Line of Duty Netflix 5 seasons 
Grace and Frankie 6 seasons
Marcella 3 seasons
Magic City John 2 seasons
The Sinner 2 seasons 
Money Heist
The Blacklist  8 seasons
Unorthodox Jackie loved it
Shitsel Jackie
The Man in the High Castle John but he abandoned it
Mad Men Jackie and they pulled it off before I could finish!
3 Wives 1 Husband Jackie
One of Us  Jackie
Caliphate Season 1 Jackie
Prime Suspect while the channel was free
Boss John
Kim's Convenience 
Time to Eat Jackie
Prison Break 5 seasons
Queen of the South
Brockmire - we abandoned
Waco John
Bodyguard - British

The Ripper
Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Rectify (Jackie)
Derry Girls
Queen's Gambit
The Keepers (Jackie)
The Investigator: British Crime Story (Jackie)
The Confession Killer (Jackie)
Scandal (Jackie)
Modern Family
Borderline - we abandoned
Arrested Development - abandoned
The Staircase
Safe (Jackie) will watch again with John

Yellowstone (finished Jan 7 2021)

Contagion John
Wait Until Dark
The Full Monty
Children of Shame Jackie this link will take you to a full documentary
Hillbilly Elegy
Knives Out
Child 44
The Prom
The Rhythm Section
Official Secrets
The Boys in the Band
Trial of the Chicago 7

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