There is no question that two years of lockdowns, business closures, lineups and all around uncertainty is taking its toll on Ontarians — but one man is hoping to inspire smiles.
“A week ago, when the government announced the current lockdown that we’re in, I saw people’s hearts just sink,” says Stratford, Ont.’s Bruce Duncan Skeaff. “It was really enough for us to understand intellectually, but to cope with it emotionally, well, it was really hard on people.”
So Skeaff decided it was time for Stratford and area to smile. This Saturday, Skeaff is encouraging Stratford residents, and anyone else that wants to join in, to take part in his #SmileStratford ‘smile-fest.’
“If you’re online, on social media, post your favourite selfie of you smiling on Saturday, which happens to be halfway through the current lockdown. If you’re not online, you can still participate. You can print off a smiling face and put it on your business window, or on your home front window,” he says with a smile.
If the #SmileStratford campaign goes half as well, as the ‘sign wars,’ that started in Listowel during previous lockdowns, where local businesses used their billboards to direct fun, goofy messages to other shuttered businesses, then Skeaff will be happy.
“It ended up spreading and getting national attention. You saw businesses doing this with signs across the country. So for that period of time, that little initiative got a lot of people to laugh, and a reason to smile, and I hope that’s what we’re going to be able to do with this,” he says.
Skeaff says you can use the hashtag #SmileStratford when you post your pictures.
And he says he’s eager to see how many people in Stratford and across Ontario flash their pearly whites in order to brighten everyone’s day.