Without question, these last few days have been some of the longest we’ve all experienced, perhaps all the more surreal by the gorgeous stint of weather we’ve received here in Vancouver. (One of the most apt descriptions I’ve heard recently is from our food and travel editor, Neal McLennan: the surreal experience of going for a (socially distanced) walk while we’re waiting for a tidal wave to hit.) Like every business, in the coming weeks and days we’re going to continue to see changes here at Western Living and Vancouver magazine, but we’re working to stay as connected to all of you as we can.

Our editorial team has all shifted to working from home as of this past Monday, and as I write this, I’m sitting at my kitchen table—almost entirely because my cat complains that there isn’t an extra chair for her to sit on when I sit at my home office desk. The team is tapped into various apps (Slack) and video conferencing (Google Hangouts) to stay in close contact through the days—but it’s a shift from normal life, to be sure. And yet some things remain the same: there’s an inevitable laugh-out-loud round of teasing that comes about spontaneously on Slack around 2:30 every day, whether we’re beside each other in the office (last week) or sitting beside our various pets (this one).

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The staff during our editorial meeting via Google Hangout, this past Wednesday—stealthily snapped by our contributing editor, Alyssa Hirose (far right). Left to right: Me, art director Cathy Mullaly, editorial intern Elia Essen, camera-shy art director Jenny Reed, associate editor Nathan Caddell, food and travel editor Neal McLennan, Executive editor Stacey McLachlan, Alyssa.

Of course it’s anything but business as usual here, like everywhere else. Our annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards typically take place in May, and given that these awards are intended to support and celebrate our city’s hardworking restaurants‚ almost all of whom have closed to keep us all safe during this health crisis, we’ll be moving both the issue and the event to the fall. In time, we hope to individually thank each and every one of those folks who made the call early to close, in support of the greater good. 

For the Vanmag Made in Vancouver Awards, we've asked entrants to hold off delivery of their goods until we can receive them again, and get our judging panels together. We hope to have news on that soon. 

Our Western Living Designers of the Year Awards are judged through online delivery of the entries, so the awards process will be continuing as usual. 

The April issue of Western Living will be in the mail shortly and should be arriving on your doorsteps any day now. We’ll be delaying the next issues of Western Living and Western Living Condo, and focusing on our digital content.

We’ve been shifting our coverage on both Vanmag.com and Westernliving.ca to look at both how we’re all getting through this social distancing—online concerts and drag shows, best books and Netflix series, just a really lovely candle—and how our community is rallying. Out of the darkness some truly light moments of kindness and generosity have emerged: a restaurant owner who has offered to bike around to seniors and deliver groceries; another who is providing inexpensive meals to those who have lost work; yet another who purchased food that might have been wasted from said restaurant closures, to feed the vulnerable in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Like all of you, I hope our collective efforts to flatten the curve are successful—that every small and large step matters. I’m grateful to those who are on the front lines of battling this pandemic, the health care workers pulling long shifts to the detriment of their own well-being. We’re surrounded by heroes.

And just as importantly, we want to hear from you. How are you holding up in this time, and what are you doing to cope? How can we help? This is truly one of those times in all of our lives when we’re all in this together. And when we all need each other’s company, even if it’s to toast each over a group FaceTime or Zoom chat.

In health and wellness to all of you,

Anicka Quin, Editorial Director, Vancouver and Western Living magazines

anicka.quinATwesternliving.ca

anicka.quinATvanmag.com