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DISPATCH 10: We roll up our sleeves and keep going

February 2021

Halfway through winter already?! You could say that we’ve grown accustomed to the lockdown lifestyle and added curfew (yep, it’s still going strong!). But the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape our daily lives and alter social, political, and cultural landscapes around the world. At the shop, we’re keeping our heads high and continuing to do what we do best: understanding Québec. And being there for our partners. Once again this month, we’re back to keep you in the loop and create a snapshot of what’s happening here, based on the news stories that have piqued our interest. From advertising to communications and human-interest stories, here’s what’s worth mentioning (in our humble opinion).

Quebecers are the most optimistic people in Canada

Despite being on the cusp of a second year of living with COVID-19, Quebecers’ irrefutable joie de vivre seems to be winning out. But this might not be all that surprising. According to a survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, while more than 51% of Canadians don’t expect life to return to normal in 2021, only 35% of Québec residents feel the same. Are we living in a dream world, deliberately choosing to look at life through rose-coloured glasses? Does our tendency to let our emotions guide us set us apart from the rest of Canada, where people more often look on the rational side of life? Probably. Quebecers are renowned for their optimism, and it’s coming out in spades—even in COVID times!

Photo credit | Cult MTL

A 100% Québec food delivery app à la UberEats?

Amid the pandemic, a few Québec players are vying to make a name for themselves alongside food-delivery juggernauts like SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, and UberEats. With 30% commission cut from every order, the popularity of these North American giants with Quebecers has been decreasing—and with good reason. While restaurants here are dropping like flies, the survival of those left standing is 100% dependent on take-out and delivery. In March 2020, apps like RestoLoco, Chk Plz, and Ueat decided to take matters into their own hands and offer local and less-expensive options for online food delivery. These apps are a good example of how, in addition to buying local, we’re always looking for ways to add value to the Québec economy and our communities. And who knows? This type of creativity and resilience could make way for a Québec Inc./Welfare State 2.0 era… anything is possible! But until then, chances are good that Quebecers will continue to support companies that promote local delivery.

Photo credit | Radio-Canada

Québec seniors are rocking the 2.0 world

Senior citizens are rarely the first demographic that comes to mind when taking a snapshot of target audiences online. But this might not be the case in Québec for much longer! Quebecers aged 65 and over have recently become much more active on the web. Seniors were already using email and Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, but the pandemic has led to a significant upsurge in the use of digital tools in their everyday lives. They’re using them to make online purchases, renew prescriptions, take care of their health—even watch online videos. At this rate, it might not be long before they discover Snapchat and TikTok, too!

Photo credit | The Montreal Gazette

Book sales are down across Canada but up in Québec!

While the rest of Canada saw a drop in book sales, Quebecers bought 18% more books in 2020 than in the previous year. But the best part is that half of these books were from Québec publishers! What’s more, 2020 also saw an increase in the sale of children’s books by Québec authors. Of course, this can be attributed in large part to the fact that the Québec cultural scene has been practically non-existent for months now; deprived of access to local theatre, concerts, exhibits, and everything else we’re used to enjoying in our everyday lives, we’ve turned to the one thing we can still hold on to: Québec literature. Culture is sacred in Québec: we need our daily dose to get by. And while we were big on books before the pandemic, this surge in sales proves that reading really is an important pillar for many Québec families. And that, generation after generation, we continue to be bitten by the reading bug.

Photo credit | Le Devoir

And the award for COVID Artist of the Year goes to…

Humour in Québec is a serious business (see what we did there?). It’s ingrained in our culture and our star system, not to mention in how we choose to express ourselves on a daily basis. So when life gets dark (say, during a pandemic), it’s only natural that we should rely on humorists to put a smile on our faces. And because so many of them have done just that since the beginning of the pandemic thanks to their boundless creativity and technological ingenuity, Québec’s famous Gala Les Olivier (THE event that honours the hard work of Québec comedy professionals) will include a “COVID Artist of the Year” award this year. So, to sum up the last few months in Québec? We read a lot. And we laughed even more. And for this, we can’t say thank you enough to the humorists and comedy professionals who are always there for us. We love them to bits, we really do.

Photo credit | Radio-Canada

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