This piece originally appeared as part of The Pandemic Diaries series in Issue 728/729 of HELLO! Canada magazine.
What were you doing when COVID-19 became a fact of life? We invited some Canadian stars to answer this question while documenting their lives during the pandemic – the highs, the lows, how they coped, what they learned.
Nearly six months into lockdown, and as the summer draws to a close, our celebrity-diarists – a mix of famous faces and behind-the-scenes superstars – are sharing those stories exclusively with HELLO! Canada readers. Their revealing, touching, at times humorous personal essays, accompanied by candid photos, show just how much we all have in common as we continue to navigate these unusual days, separately yet together.
Below, Cityline host and journalist Tracy Moore shares how she and husband Lio and their children Sidney, 12, and Eva, 10, have been experiencing the pandemic.
Things escalated quickly. At work we went from thinking, "Oh, I don't think we can have an audience anymore for Cityline" to "Let's socially distance from the experts" and then, all of a sudden, "Take the show off the air." All in a week's time. The following week, everyone was sent home and Ontario was on lockdown.
My kids were supposed to be spending the week at their grandparents' for March Break, and my husband, Lio, was laid off almost right away. We were getting so much new information day after day that I felt that we had to keep switching gears. First there was no Cityline, then we were going to regroup and do digital videos. It was a rollercoaster of "What's happening with the show? With my job? With the kids?"
My son, Sidney, 12, is very happy to stay home. My daughter, Eva, 10, is an extreme extrovert and loves her friends. In the beginning, it was exciting to be with Mommy and Daddy every day. Then, it became hard, and she was very upset. I'm a bit of a control freak, and you have to let go. None of us have ever been a part of a global pandemic before. And I had to just start letting go of having to plan and rolling with the punches instead.
I've had a routine the entire way, though, because I need structure. But that routine has changed and had phases. In the beginning, after March Break, it was just like a free-for-all with the kids on technology all day and eating bad snacks. Then remote learning started for the kids, so that was a little bit more structured.
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I still woke up between 5 and 6 a.m. and made sure I worked out and meditated every morning because I needed it more than ever. Between the kids' schooling, I would be doing whatever content Cityline wanted at the time. I did some TikTok videos with the kids, and my husband became the resident baker and plant-grower. Things would change up when the circumstances changed.
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My parents are low tech. No smart phones. No tablets. So these scheduled food drop off and pick ups are the only times I get to see their faces. And I stare at them now like never before. The kids have a real love/hate relationship with these visits. It’s painful to be so close and not be able to touch. But I count my blessings we still have them and we’d like to keep it that way . So if our only connection is reduced to daily phone calls and a weekly grocery drop off / jerk pork pick up...I’ll take it #StaySafe #GrandparentsFTW.
But every Saturday without fail, we'd go to my parents' place and we would sit on the driveway and they would sit on their front porch, no matter what the weather was like. Sometimes we had to bring winter coats! It really helped a lot to have that standing date every Saturday.
I am not an outdoorsy girl. And now all of a sudden, when I can't go outside, it's an issue. Before this, I was never a person who wanted a cottage. I used to think, "Why would I leave work on a Friday and fight traffic just to go to the cottage for a day and a half?" Let me tell you, I've had a change of heart! If I had the finances to do it, I would have a second residence, somewhere you don't have to panic when it comes to being socially distant.
Once this is all over, I want to go to a club with really big speakers and I want the music to be so loud that I can't hear my heart beat. And I want to dance until my hair is sweaty and wet. I don't know how far we are from ever having that reality, but that is what I would love to do. I missed Caribana this year.
In these past few months, I've learned that I have to take breaks from the struggle. Being a public-facing figure fighting to end racial discrimination is taxing, it's draining, it's all-consuming. And there aren't really any other distractions inside the house. So I've had to be really good about regulating my activism so that I feel strong and rested and I can really get out there and fight.
In September, you'll see me back in the studio, with every precaution taken. Our fall launch will just be me and a camera operator. I'll have to show up with hair and makeup ready, but, hey, the lighting will be better than when I film in my guest room!
In this challenging time, it’s really hard to be separated from family and friends. It’s also a time when everyone needs a beautiful escape. Here at Hello! Canada, we’re still busy creating the magazine you know and love, to spread positivity and provide some entertainment as a gentle reprieve from all the hard news. And with our new special offer for subscribers, there’s never been a better time to have Hello! delivered directly to your front door. Why not treat yourself, or someone you love, today?