Last year was very unique, unexpected, and challenging for our community.

I would like to thank you all for staying home, being vigilant, and doing your part to flatten the curve this holiday season. Physically apart yet close by heart, we all sacrificed our in-person gatherings and shared great stories and laughter with family and friends over Zoom.

I’m sure, like me, many of you couldn’t imagine how radically different our expectations of 2020 would end up. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson famously tweeted: “This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain,” accompanied by a picture of him grinning with two thumbs up … little did he know what was in store.

The resounding lesson here is “the only thing certain is uncertainty.”

Nevertheless, in the midst of all this uncertainty, our community united together against an invisible enemy. Everyday citizens stepped up to donate to food banks as their demand increased. Teachers and educators reinvented their lesson plans to keep kids engaged. Front-line workers incurred daily risks to provide essential services, local businesses retooled themselves to fulfil the personal protective equipment needs of the community.

Having heard from you and listened to you over the last many months, I am aware of what a testing year it has been, especially for those with reduced incomes or those who lost a loved one. I want to assure everyone, we’ll emerge from this with increased resilience. All levels of government are working together to help the residents and small businesses. Systems are being put in place to help us emerge even stronger from the crisis by increasing accessibility and reducing barriers; like our court systems and parts of ServiceOntario now provide online services. As we move toward the end of the crisis, we will continue to make key investments to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on our economy.

Though 2020 was not up to any of our expectations, let us hope our journey into 2021 includes a speedy economic recovery and further appreciation for those dearest to us. As C.S. Lewis once said, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”