We celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend here in the Great White North. Technically speaking, the holiday is on Monday but no one gets too fussy about when the celebratory meal occurs. Though transformed by modern convenience, Thanksgiving is an ancient tradition. Indigenous peoples in North America have a history of holding communal feasts in celebration of the fall harvest that predates the arrival of European settlers.

Our 2020 Thanksgiving promises to be a very unusual edition. A lot less gathering and socializing. Fewer family returning home or coming over. Likely more subdued and perhaps even a little depressing. The pandemic has changed nearly everything and we cannot pretend for even a weekend that it hasn’t.

The past two weeks have been discouraging. The surge in active cases in so many places. The math turning against us, worsening in the communities where we live and work. I suppose we all knew it was coming. But it is still discouraging because I, like everyone else, hoped for better. Here in my home province of Ontario, we set a record for new cases yesterday. The seven-day average for new cases in Canada is now the highest it has been through the entire pandemic. The virus is spreading exponentially again here and also in too many other places in North America. The potential for further growth and the disruptive consequences that follow remains an ominous threat. Within our B&M bubble, we are seeing a considerable increase in isolations and people going for COVID-19 testing. We have two new COVID-19 cases in our company ranks in the past two weeks bringing our total to three active cases.

Despite all the things going sideways in our world, I still believe there is a lot to be thankful for.

I visited three B&M project sites this week here in Toronto. It felt great to interact with our people and to see the progress of our work firsthand. We did our COVID thing. We distanced. We wore our masks. We sanitized. We talked outdoors or gathered in large indoor spaces. I am thankful for the spirit and the enthusiasm of our people, undiminished in spite of all the crap we are dealing with.

I am thankful that we are better equipped to deal with the pandemic now than we were in March. We know more about this coronavirus. We know what the riskiest activities are. We know how to be safe. COVID-19 is just another risk to be assessed and controlled and I am thankful that all B&M’ers are approaching this challenge so earnestly and responsibly.

In many places and on many sites, we never stopped. We have been at work throughout this entire pandemic. I am thankful that everyone has found a way to simply get on with it.

For those that paused, I feel thankful that we had work to return to. That our activities came back on-line. That we had customers who needed us.

I am thankful for the hard work and sacrifices of B&Mers to sustain our company and to protect each other’s health.

I feel so fortunate and thankful that the company remains strong – in spirit, in work activity, in opportunity and in outlook – and that we have so many people committed to doing the right things to keep it that way.

Happy Thanksgiving.