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It wasn’t all doom and gloom: 2020 had some highlights for sure

Surprise fireworks, some adorable puppy eyes, locally-3D printed PPEs, and the BFU

As we bid farewell and good riddance to what is universally agreed to have been a hard year, a look back through the Barrie 360 archives shows there were high points in an otherwise low 2020.

In no particular order, here’s a walk down memory lane of the top ten good things to have happened locally this year.

Collingwood kids do good for seniors

We learned early in the pandemic how hard-hit our seniors could be by COVID-19, prompting health officials to urge them to stay indoors. Concerned with catching COVID, many seniors followed that advice.

To the small group of teenagers at Freshco in Collingwood yesterday. This group of I believe 4 was purchasing some…

Posted by Michelle Alexander on Saturday, March 14, 2020

Out of the blue, some kids in Collingwood immediately stepped up. Before the first lockdown was even declared, a group of teens began filling up care packages for their elderly neighbours. Money earned through part-time jobs financed the effort, a clear sign of hope amid the confusion in the early days of the pandemic.

Fireworks over the bay

Do you remember how you felt after the first lockdown was declared in March? There was certainly a sense of foreboding among many, with anxiety running high.

One thing that helped ease that tension was a surprise fireworks display over Kempenfelt Bay

Who knows where the fireworks came from or who set them off, but many folks appreciated the show nonetheless.

Puppy eyes and thirsty moms

This story quickly became one of Barrie 360’s most liked and shared post of 2020; a Barrie Police officer, out on patrol one day in early December, decided to post a selfie of the lost dog he found in his travels.

Barrie 360 posted that selfie to Facebook in the hopes of reuniting the pup with his family. It was widely shared by our followers and not all for the same reason. Many of our users didn’t even notice the dog.

Oh yeah, the dog was reunited with his family.

Scavenger hunts, painted rocks, and community events… oh my!

The first lockdown brought about by the pandemic prompted some of us to find new hobbies or catch up on some projects. Others were left with little to do and plenty of time with which to do it. So began a swell of community-led initiatives to keep individuals and families busy.

Whether it was a pop-up gym circuit in the park, homemade scavenger hunts throughout the neighbourhood, or even just a simple showing of humanity from one stranger to another, the subtle ways we all banded together at the onset of the pandemic will be remembered for years to come.

The rise of BFU

In the early days of the pandemic, the dissemination of accurate information was key, but so was the need to support one another. Meeting both those demands early on was the Facebook group Barrie Families Unite.

BFU, as it became known, was a citizen-run page that quickly garnered thousands of members. There are over 11,000 members today. The admins dealt with a barrage of posts and comments while helping connect residents and weed out misinformation at the same time. Help was offered in keeping kids busy, aiding the elderly in getting some shopping done, and more. The page still operates, having helped grant a few holiday wishes over the past several weeks.

“I’m really hoping that the kind of coming together we’ve seen in the community out of the crisis response already leaves us with a permanent legacy of supporting one another,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman of BFU in April. “It builds connections and infrastructure that can last beyond this, and I’m sure that Facebook group is not going to go away when social distancing is over.”

Frontline support

A clear hero emerged in the onset of the pandemic: the frontline healthcare worker.

Many got on board and made sure all the doctors, nurses, PSWs and other healthcare providers working the front line knew how much they were valued.

BPS polar plunge raises record-breaking $16,000

Back before we had a name for the novel coronavirus creeping its way across the globe, the Barrie Police Service broke its own Polar Plunge record.

Every March, officers with the BPS are joined by brave (or foolhardy) members of the public in jumping into Kempenfelt Bay in support of the Ontario Special Olympics. The 2020 jump raised $16,000.

Barrie Colts kitchen heats up

Among the many organizations to push pause during the first lockdown was the Barrie Colts. No games meant nobody at the arena, and nobody at the arena meant an idle kitchen.

Barrie Colts deliver 30,000th meal as team continues to provide for essential workers and those in need

That’s when Colts management decided to put it to good use. Over the course of the pandemic, the Colt’s kitchen served up over 30,000 meals to essential workers and others in need.

Innisfil Idealab puts 3D printer to use making face shield components

Here’s a sign we’re living in the future: a local library put its 3D printer to use churning out parts for much-needed face shields.

The Innisfil ideaLab and Library helped produce the parts for the Kitchener-Waterloo-based company Inksmith. Its aptly named Canadian Shield face mask design was one that anybody with a 3D printer could help produce, without any extra equipment or retooling.

COVID vaccine

Hands down the best news we got in 2020 was the lightning-quick development of a series of vaccines against the deadly virus, promising an eventual end to the pandemic.

Hailed as a triumph, the vaccine was developed in record time, and while that did lead to questions over its safety, stringent trials and Heath Canada approvals are meant to assure us it is safe.

Honourable mentions

Turns out, there were more than ten happy moments throughout 2020! Here are a few we thought were worth noting: