Maritime organizers hold out hope for 2022 after COVID-19 cancels events
HALIFAX -- During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many events have been cancelled around the Maritimes and around the world. While plans and hopes have been dashed, hope for the future persists.
The Cabot Trail Relay Race, an event that typically draws over a thousand people from across Canada and the United States to gather in Cape Breton, has been cancelled again. After COVID-19 halted 2020's race, pandemic precautions aren't allowing 2021's instalment to go ahead.
"Most of the vaccination plans didn't include the general public until about July or August," says Cabot Trail Relay Race organizer Grace Mason-Parkinson. "So we just figured it would be safest for everyone to cancel the race again for this year."
The relay race, held in May, usually serves as a starting gun for the tourism season along the trail. However, in an area where case numbers have been significantly low, organizers say the choice was clear.
"If we were to have thought about bringing it here, that would create a lot more negative energy than positive energy," says fellow organizer, David Parkinson, who was apprehensive about the event kicking off in Baddeck, N.S., during the pandemic.
In Windsor, Nova Scotia, the Long Pond Hockey Classic would usually be held later in January and continue the celebration of a place many people believe to be the birthplace of hockey. But it's been cancelled as well – the first time it has ever been called off in advance.
"It's disappointing, but that's just the way it is right now," says Windsor Hockey Heritage Society board of directors member Krista Lloy. "We have minor hockey players come, the whole community comes out and have been a great support to this. It's really too bad that we've had to cancel."
The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, another mid-to-late May staple, has also been called off in January. While losing both the festival and the beloved hockey event is hard for the valley community, there is hope for 2022.
"There's light at the end of the tunnel," says Lloy. "We're really looking forward to next year."
The sentiments are shared in Cape Breton.
"There's one comment in particular where someone said they're worried for Baddeck in 2022, just because of the sheer amount of excitement that's going to come when everyone's finally able to be back together again, doing something they love; seeing friends they might not have seen for ages that they only get to see at the relay," says Mason-Parkinson.
Meanwhile, those who love the events will simply have to wait and hold out hope for another year.