What do some birds, butterflies and whales have in common with tens of thousands of older Canadians? They all participate in an annual migration by heading south for the winter.
While we don’t have systems in place to know exactly how many Canadian snowbirds there are, a recent report from Statistics Canada suggests that at least 375,000 typically go to the United States and Mexico each year, not counting other popular destinations. The word “typically” here is important, though, because there is nothing typical about travelling south during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a typical year, we’d expect snowbirds to be organizing potlucks and participating in pickleball tournaments. As of last spring — when COVID-19 started to spread in popular destinations and pandemic measures were rolled out — we saw this annual migration being framed in a very different way.