Running errands free from the worry of spreading or contracting COVID-19. 

Hugging a friend or shaking a colleague’s hand.

Boarding a plane for a warm destination, or a quiet pocket in the Canadian wilderness. 

Dining in restaurants filled with hungry patrons. Heck, waiting for a table to open up at your favourite spot.

These are the parts of life Canadians yearn for most in a post-pandemic world, suggests an Angus Reid Institute poll that surveyed 1,603 people. 

“As lockdowns put a damper on the usual holiday festivities, and the rollout of vaccines begins to shine a light at the end of the tunnel, Canadians can be forgiven for casting their gaze to the future,” said the results. 

 Watch: Meet the 1st Canadians to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Story continues below.

The majority of respondents, 63 per cent, don’t expect normal life to resume until at least next fall and depending on vaccination efforts. 

“Notably, 20 per cent are even less optimistic and say life in Canada ‘won’t ever go back to the way it was,’” the results said. 

Saskatchewan was the most optimistic province, with 23 per cent of respondents anticipating normal life to return in the spring or summer. 

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Nearly 45 per cent of poll respondents said they are most excited to do “regular things in the community without stress,” have physical contact with friends and acquaintances and travel internationally. One in five respondents said they’re excited to travel within Canada. Thirty-two per cent said they’re eager to dine in restaurants. 

Of course, what Canadians are most excited for varies between regions:

  • People in Atlantic provinces and Alberta can’t wait to carry on with normal life without stress;
  • Quebeckers yearn to dine at restaurants and go to parties;
  • Ontarians look forward to travelling internationally;
  • Manitobans want to reunite with older people they haven’t seen because of lockdown restrictions;
  • Saskatchewan residents look forward to live sporting events;
  • And British Columbians are eager to hug people again.