Despite what looks like a huge spike in tourism to Quebec this August, way more people entered Canada via Ontario during the summer months. Do tourists just not like us as much? We're clearly the better province... right?
According to recent data on travel into Canada by Statistics Canada, 239,776 more tourists visited Ontario than Quebec from May to August 2021.
A total of 141,207 non-resident international tourists entered Canada via Quebec from May to August. The highest number of tourists came in August, with 79,037 non-resident tourists entering through Quebec.
The spike in August tourism was also significant in Ontario, with 237,599 non-resident tourists entering via the province. It's wild to think that more tourists entered via Ontario in the month of August than they did via Quebec all summer, but this is where we're at.
In terms of travellers crossing the land border from the U.S. specifically, Quebec started out the summer with only 14,578 U.S. vehicles entering in May and gradually increased over the next couple of months.
U.S. tourism to Quebec had a huge spike in August — when Canada reopened its border to fully vaccinated Americans — with 34,905 vehicles making their way up north via Quebec's border.
Ontario saw increasing numbers of U.S. vehicles throughout the summer, peaking at 178,601 in August. A total of 464,402 American vehicles crossed into Ontario from May to August.
It's another sad day in Habs land, folks. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that two players, forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Sami Niku, have been placed under the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
According to a statement posted on Instagram, "both players are being monitored closely by team doctors and following the guidelines and protocols set by the NHL."
As per the NHL's COVID-19 protocol for players and staff, the two Habs players will be "be removed immediately and shall be directed to isolate and to refrain from contact with other individuals until the confirmation of their COVID-19 positive/negative status is established."
As of the time of writing, the players' status is unconfirmed.
The NHL has established extensive guidelines for managing COVID-19 in the league and has been quick to act when potential cases arise. The NHL has also established a protocol for unvaccinated players, according to Sportsnet.
In the Canadiens, there have been a few confirmed contacts with the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic began but overall, no player on the team has missed significant time due to the disease. The only one to miss a large chunk of time was head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was in isolation for part of the Habs' most recent playoff run.
Former General Manager Marc Bergevin also tested positive for COVID-19 in November and spent some time away from the team.
It has been a rough week for the Canadiens. Though in positive news, Carey Price is back on the ice at training, the team underwent a major shakeup by relieving Bergevin and two other employees. At least one person has said they're interested in the GM role, but the team hasn't given updates on its search for a new leader.
Quebec's most famous public health official, Dr. Horacio Arruda, has officially reached new levels of fame. Eagle-eyed viewers watching a behind-the-scenes video about the new Bethesda Softworks game Starfield might've noticed a familiar bespectacled figure hidden in some concept art.
Reddit user u/earknee11 made the discovery. Their post about the public health director's appearance within a small screen in the game preview has received hundreds of upvotes.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Dr. Arruda's apparent cameo in the Starfield concept art is certainly a cheeky homage to the province that Bethesda Game Studios — in part — calls home. It also has locations in Texas and Maryland.
Coming to Quebecers live from a youth-filled vaccination clinic in Chaudière-Appalaches, Premier Legault reiterated that, as long as the COVID-19 situation allows for it, the government wants to loosen gathering rules so that 20 to 25 people are allowed in our homes for the holidays.
Le premier ministre r\u00e9pond aux questions des journalistes.\n \nSuivez notre m\u00eal\u00e9e de presse en direct https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1vAxRkjLWPzKl\u00a0\u2026
"We know that there are many families — when we look at the brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces — who exceed the 10 people. [...] So we hope to be able, for Christmas, for New Year's, to have families a little enlarged to 20, 25 people," he said. "Right now, it's going very well on the hospitalization side."
While Legault didn't set anything in stone, he did say the success of Quebec's youth vaccination campaign is increasing our chances to host more loved ones over the holidays. He noted that 240,000 young people aged 11 to 15 — 37% — have already booked an appointment or gotten a vaccine dose, which he called "a good start."
"By adding these 240,000 children who will be vaccinated, it will help to have coverage in our society. It will help us to give ourselves the chance that during the holiday season, we will be able to increase to 20, 25 the number of people in our homes," he said.
For now, Legault said the government and public health are "following the situation closely from day to day." He said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, is set to make an official recommendation about holiday gatherings next week.
Legault added that there are no plans to add restrictions if there's a significant case increase. He said it's important to look at hospitalizations, which are currently "under control."
"I repeat to all Quebecers, be careful between now and Christmas so that we can give ourselves the maximum chance to have reasonably-sized parties during the holiday season," Legault said.
The government announced Tuesday that it's updating Canada's border rules in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has labelled a "variant of concern."
The update includes the introduction of arrival testing for all fully-vaccinated travellers coming by air from places other than the United States and a mandatory quarantine for these travellers until they get their results.
The health and safety of Canadians remains our priority. We are strengthening the measures announced last week to include: 1/3pic.twitter.com/upQmwrXb8V
Unvaccinated travellers who have a right to enter Canada and arrive by air will have to "stay in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location" while they wait for the results of an on-arrival test, in addition to the already-in-force requirement to quarantine for 14 days, according to a news release.
In addition, Canada added Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi to the list of countries subject to additional restrictions. Foreign nationals who have visited the countries on this list in the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter Canada.
The complete list now includes Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"We are taking quick action at our borders to mitigate travel related importations of the Omicron variant," federal Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said in the release.
"While our monitoring systems are working well, we now know that the Omicron variant is present in Canada. We need to remain vigilant in our own actions."
Though the Omicron variant continues to spread and countries impose additional travel restrictions, the WHO has said that it's so far unclear if the variant is more transmissible or produces worse symptoms than other variants.