Rouge Underpass: Our lovely cover art is a painting by Hal Bilz, an award-winning transparent watercolour artist and member of the Toronto Watercolour Society, Art Guild of Scarborough and Pine Ridge Arts Council. Hal lives in Scarborough and regularly visits the Rouge for inspiration and credits this region for a large part of his work. He calls this one Rouge Underpass for the tree branches straddling the river

By Kathryn Stocks

When we chose this snowy painting to grace our festive issue, the fall was warm, colourful and a truly delightful season. Snow and cold weather seemed very far off indeed.

As I write this in mid-November, there is a layer of snow on the ground and it’s really cold out. As much as this weather is disliked, however, there is always something to be grateful for. At least we don’t live on the other side of the lake where up to six feet of snow fell in 24 hours in a “historic” snowstorm. That was a lot of snow, even for Buffalo.

Our snow might be gone by the time you receive this paper, but it’s still going to be a difficult Christmas season. The rates of illness are sky high with COVID, RSV and flu running rampant. A severe lack of children’s medicine for pain and fever doesn’t help, and many kids are ending up in hospital. The federal government is bringing in some shipments, let’s hope it’s enough. If needed, instructions to make kid-size doses from adult pills are online at the Ontario Poison Centre website

You can’t change other people’s behaviour, but wearing a mask indoors will help you avoid getting sick. Bivalent vaccines for COVID and flu are still effective in preventing severe illness, but they won’t stop the spread. Since it’s party season and people really want to get together it looks like these viruses will persist.

Every year I struggle to choose a headline for the December issue. Should I go with “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”? Does “Merry Christmas” leave out too many people in this community? This year I’ve chosen two thoughts that I think are important at this time: peace and goodwill. We don’t have enough of either right now, so I encourage everyone to do what they can. We can’t stop Russia’s horrific war on Ukraine, but we can be kind and considerate to all those around us for peace in our daily lives. Inflation remains a problem for many, but goodwill can be plentiful. If you can, donate to the food bank or give to the Toronto Police Auxiliary’s Annual Toy Drive. Every small gesture of kindness and generosity can make someone’s day special.