It has been exactly one year since the World Health Organization declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic.
Later that same day the NBA was forced stop all of their games when they discovered a player had tested positive right before tipoff, the sports world came to a screeching halt.
Schools in Ontario were closed the next day and people were told not to go to work. The Canadian parliament shut down a day after that and a state of emergency was declared for Ontario a few days later.
Two pandemic waves and over 7,000 Ontario deaths later, hope is on the horizon with a growing arsenal of vaccines that could potentially bring an end to the new normal.
Here is a look back at how COVID-19 has shaped the past 12 months of life in Toronto, the province and the country.
March 11, 2020
- The federal government unveils a $1 billion response package to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canadian health-care system, the economy, and workers.
- The NBA announces it is suspending its season “until further notice” after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tests positive for COVID-19.
March 12, 2020
- The NHL announces it is suspending regular season games with no timetable for a return.
- Ontario announces it is shutting down all public schools.
March 13, 2020
- The House of Commons agrees to shut down for five weeks to help ensure MPs do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
- Toronto’s three universities (U of T, York and Ryerson) cancel all in-person classes.
- President Donald Trump declares the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.
March 14, 2020
- Ontario surpasses 100 COVID-19 cases.
March 15, 2020
- All non-essential care and elective surgeries are put on hold at Ontario hospitals.
March 16, 2020
- North American markets plunge at the start of trading, triggering a temporary trading halt.
- Cineplex closes all its movie theatres across Canada due to COVID-19 concerns.
March 17, 2020
- Doug Ford declares a state of emergency for Ontario – the province has orders the closure of all facilities providing indoor recreation programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed childcare centres, all theatres, cinemas and concert venues, and all bars and restaurants except to provide takeout food and delivery.
March 18, 2020
- Canada closes its border to most foreigners, exceptions include airline crews, diplomats, U.S. citizens and anyone with family in the country.
- Canadian airlines suspend international and transborder flights.
- Ontario reports its first COVID-19 death.
Canada’s tax deadline extended until June, payment can be delayed until September.
March 20, 2020
- Canada-U.S. border closes to all non-essential travellers.
- Air Canada, Westjet, Air Transat and Greyhound all announce mass layoffs due to COVID-19.
- Canada surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 cases
March 23, 2020
- John Tory declares a state of emergency for the City of Toronto.
- Ontario orders the closure of all non-essential businesses provincewide for at least two weeks.
March 24, 2020
- Japan’s Prime Minister and the IOC president agree to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until summer of 2021.
March 25, 2020
- Toronto closes all city-owned playgrounds and other park amenities.
March 27, 2020
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first world leader to have the virus.
March 30, 2020
- John Tory says “time is up” for people who continue to congregate at city parks, warning that fines ranging from $750 to $5000 will start being doled out.
- Ontario government orders the closure of all outdoor recreational facilities including sports fields and playgrounds in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.
March 31, 2020
- All major Toronto events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, including Pride Weekend, are cancelled through June 30.
April 2, 2020
- Toronto implements new bylaw ordering people to remain two metres apart when they are in public parks and squares or face up to $5,000 in fines.
April 7, 2020
- Applications open for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Prime Minister Trudeau unveiled the details of the payment days earlier
April 9, 2020
- Statistics Canada reports the economy lost 1,011,000 jobs in March — the worst recorded single-month change — lifting the unemployment rate to 7.8 per cent.
April 16, 2020
- The RBC Canadian Open is cancelled due to the pandemic.
April 18, 2020
- Ontario surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 500 deaths.
April 19, 2020
- Ontario Correctional Institute (OCI) in Brampton is forced to shut down to a COVID-19 outbreak.
April 23, 2020
- The TTC lays of 1,200 employees as ridership has drops by 85 per cent during the pandemic.
April 27, 2020
- Military personnel begin arriving at long-term care homes in the GTA to help homes that were devastated by the first wave of the virus.
May 4, 2020
- Ontario starts its first gradual reopening allowing some seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pickups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.
May 7, 2020
- Justin Trudeau announces the federal government, provinces and territories will spend $4 billion to increase the wages of essential workers during the pandemic.
May 8, 2020
- Statistics Canada reports the Canadian economy lost nearly two million jobs in April, a record high, unemployment climbs to 13 per cent.
May 11, 2020
- Ontario allows all retail stores with a street entrance to open for curbside pickup and delivery.
May 12, 2020
- The 2020 Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is cancelled.
May 16, 2020
- Toronto implements ActiveTO road closures each weekend to give more room to pedestrians and cyclists.
May 19, 2020
- Ontario enters its first stage of reopening lifting restrictions on retail stores and elective surgeries.
- The province announces that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the year
May 23, 2020
Toronto reopens more than 850 park amenities across the city.
May 24, 2020
- Toronto surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases
May 26, 2020
- A military report on five long-term care homes in Ontario detailed disturbing allegations such as rooming COVID-19 positive patients with uninfected ones, insect infestations and aggressive resident feeding that led to choking.
June 5, 2020
- The Canadian unemployment rate hits a record high.
June 12, 2020
- All child-care centres in Ontario are allowed to reopen with restrictions.
- The Ford government announced they will start allowing expanded “social circles” of up to 10 people.
June 17, 2020
- COVID-19 forces the cancellation of the 2020 Rogers Cup tennis event in Toronto.
June 19, 2020
- York and Durham join Halton and most of Ontario in stage 2 of the province’s economic reopening plan, allowing patios and barbershops to reopen.
June 24, 2020
- Toronto and Peel join the rest of the province and move into the second stage of the Ontario’s reopening plan, allowing bar and restaurant patios, beauty salons, splash pads, mini golf and museums to resume operations.
- Several players and staff members on the Toronto Blue Jays test positive for COVID-19.
July 2, 2020
- The TTC begins requiring all passengers to wear masks on board vehicles and at all stations
July 6, 2020
- The City of Toronto reopens outdoor sport and multi-use fields for team training and permits were issued to organizations for the remainder of the 2020 summer season.
July 13, 2020
- The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is cancelled due to COVID-19.
July 17, 2020
- Nearly all businesses and public spaces outside of the GTHA reopen as the Ontario begins a shift to stage 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan.
July 24, 2020
- GTA regions outside of Toronto and Peel move into stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan meaning restaurants and bars can resume indoor service and gyms and theatres can open to patrons.
- The Canadian Grand Prix, originally set to for October, is cancelled
- The Toronto Blue Jays open the shortened MLB season playing their home games in Buffalo, New York with no fans.
July 28, 2020
- Edmonton and Toronto serve as hub cities as 24 NHL teams return to action playing in front of no fans
July 30, 2020
- Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary airports begin taking passengers temperature prior to boarding flights
July 31, 2020
- Nearly all businesses and public spaces reopen in Toronto and Peel, with health measures in place, as the regions enter stage 3 of reopening.
August 1, 2020
- The Toronto Raptors resume play as the NBA starts up inside the Orlando bubble in front of no fans.
August 5, 2020
- Canada is signs deals with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna to procure millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
August 17, 2020
- The CFL cancels its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
August 20, 2020
- CERB is extended another four weeks, and a new benefit that pays $400 a week for up to 26 weeks will replace it for Canadians ineligible for employment insurance.
August 25, 2020
- The federal government is giving $2 billion more to provinces and territories to bolster the safe reopening of schools in the fall.
September 8, 2020
- Students in Ontario begin returning to the classroom for in-person learning for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
September 9, 2020
- The Toronto District School Board postpones the back-to-school start date for most high school students to later in September.
September 17, 2020
- The Ford government announces that social gathering limits will be reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa, the restrictions were expanded to the rest of the province days later.
September 25, 2020
- Ontario announces the closure of strip clubs and hour restrictions for bars and restaurants.
September 30, 2020
- Health Canada approves COVID-19 rapid tests for use in the country.
October 2, 2020
- U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania test positive for COVID-19.
October 4, 2020
- A second Toronto school closes for COVID-19 concerns just weeks after schools reopened to students.
October 9, 2020
- Ontario announces modified stage 2 restrictions for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, closing indoor dining, gyms and theatres.
October 16, 2020
- York Region reverts to modified stage 2 joining Toronto, Peel and Ottawa.
October 31, 2020
- Canada experiences an unconventional pandemic Halloween as leaders and health officials urge no trick-or-treating in COVID hot spots.
November 9, 2020
- According to late-stage trial data, Pfizer and BioNTech say their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19.
November 10, 2020
- Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa implements added COVID-19 safety restrictions, prohibits indoor dining in the city once again.
November 16, 2020
- The Ford government lowers the COVID-19 framework threshold in Ontario, York Region, Halton and Hamilton all move to the ‘Red Zone.’
- U.S. biotech company Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5 per cent effective.
November 18, 2020
- Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott announces Canada will receive millions of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines between January and March of 2021.
November 23, 2020
- Ontario moves Toronto and Peel Region back into lockdown as the province falls into the second wave of the pandemic.
November 24, 2020
Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke is ordered to close by Toronto health officials after opening against lockdown restrictions.
December 7, 2020
- Prime Minister Trudeau announces Canada will receive COVID-19 vaccine doses early with 250,000 doses of the Pfizer shot arriving before the end of 2020.
December 9, 2020
- Health Canada approves the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use.
December 13, 2020
- The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Canada.
December 14, 2020
- Ontario administers the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to front-line workers in Toronto.
December 23, 2020
- Health Canada approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.
- The Toronto Raptors open the new NBA season playing home games in Tampa, Florida due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
December 25, 2020
- A pandemic Christmas across Canada as politicians and health officials urge residents to celebrate only with their households
December 26, 2020
- Provincewide lockdown goes into effect for Ontario.
- Two cases of the more infectious COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. (B.1.1.7) are confirmed in Ontario.
December 31, 2020
- Rod Phillips resigns as finance minister after a controversial vacation, setting off a wave of politicians getting called out for travelling abroad during the pandemic.
January 4, 2021
- All Ontario students move to remote learning following Christmas Break.
January 11, 2021
- Ontario surpasses 5,000 COVID-19 deaths
January 12, 2021
- Canada secures an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
January 14, 2021
- A stay-at-home order goes into effect for all of Ontario.
- Toronto releases its 2021 budget, projecting revenue losses of $1.6 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
January 17, 2021
- Almost two dozen warnings and tickets are issued after the first day of a big box store blitz in the GTHA.
January 22, 2021
- Canada Post tells residents to expect shipments delays after 182 workers test positive for COVID-19 at a Mississauga facility.
January 23, 2021
- The B.1.1.7 variant is confirmed in a massive outbreak at Roberta Place long-term care home in Barrie.
February 1, 2021
- Ontario confirms the first case of the COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa (B.1351) in Peel Region.
February 8, 2021
- Most Ontario students outside of Toronto, Peel and York Region return to in-person learning.
February 11, 2021
- Ontario’s education minister announces the postponement of March Break until April.
February 16, 2021
- The stay-at-home order is lifted for Ontario regions outside of Toronto, Peel and York, regions return to colour-coded framework as part of the provinces gradual reopening plan.
- Ontario students in Toronto, Peel and York Region return to in-person learning.
February 22, 2021
- Stay-at-home order is extended for Toronto and Peel as York Region moves back into the ‘Red Zone’
- Mandatory quarantine for international travellers at both air and land borders goes into effect, travellers must quarantine at their own expense.
February 26. 2021
- Health Canada approves the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use.
February 28, 2021
- The Toronto Raptors regular season game against the Chicago Bulls gets postponed after several members of the coaching staff and players go into COVID protocol.
March 1, 2021
- Some Ontario regions begin booking vaccinations appointments for any adult over the age of 80.
March 2, 2021
- Statistics Canada says the Canadian economy posts it worst showing ever in 2020, the GDP shrinks 5.4 per cent.
March 5, 2021
- Health Canada approves the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for use.
March 8, 2021
- The stay-at-home order lifts for Toronto and Peel as both regions move into the ‘Grey Zone’.
March 10, 2021
- Ontario reveals a list of pharmacies where residents aged 60 to 64 can begin booking appointments for the AstraZeneca shot.
March 11, 2021
- Canada marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, declaring a national day of observance to commemorate those who have died. The government has asked Canadians to think about those whose lives were claimed by the novel coronavirus, as well as the health-care and other essential workers who have been on the front lines.