Is B.C.'s economy on the mend? Perhaps so, judging from today's visits to London Drugs, IKEA, and White Spot

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      This morning, the Bank of Canada said that the ghastly economic impact of COVID-19 appears to have peaked.

      And while the pandemic has led to historic job losses, the central bank declared that "the Canadian economy appears to have avoided the most severe scenario" in its April Monetary Policy Report.

      Today, I decided to conduct my own anecdotal investigation in Metro Vancouver.

      The first stop was the London Drugs in Kerrisdale.

      There was no Soviet-style lineup along the sidewalk, which was a refreshing change.

      Inside the store, most staff were wearing face shields rather than surgical masks. It was comforting to be able to see them smile on the job.

      I picked up a couple of those face shields myself for $9.99 each. They'll come in handy on my next trip to No Frills.

      London Drugs seemed downright normal, apart from the low stock of paper towels. It wasn't busy but it wasn't dead.

      Then I decided to head out to the furniture playground of the middle class—IKEA in Richmond. It was a scene that might give conniptions to those worried about encountering large crowds.

      The parking lot was jammed. Dozens of customers were lining up outside.

      Obviously, there was a lot of pent-up desire to go shopping. This was a Wednesday evening, after all. 

      It certainly reinforced what the Bank of Canada was saying about the economy.

      I didn't get out of the vehicle and instead carried on to my next destination—that bastion of B.C. culture, White Spot.

      There was plenty of parking and I was greeted at the door by staff in some of the coolest PPE I've ever seen.

      Their half face shields covered their mouths and noses, but in a discreet way, so customers could still look them in the eye.

      The large restaurant in Kitsilano never looked cleaner. It was utterly spotless, having reopened only two days earlier, and there were far fewer tables than before.

      I sat down in a booth, a good four or five metres from the closest diners.

      A few minutes later, I ordered a strawberry milk shake and tucked into my meal. It felt completely safe.

      After paying my bill, I had a sense that B.C. is back in action, even though there weren't that many customers. The server said that each day has been busier than the day before. 

      They can't say this in Toronto, where nobody is walking into a restaurant and ordering a sit-down meal.

      COVID-19 is a devastating disease that's killed thousands of Canadians.

      Yet here in Metro Vancouver, life is starting to get back to normal for lots of us. Down the road from White Spot, the Pulp Fiction bookstore is doing a brisk business even though only three customer at a time are allowed on the premises.

      Yet another sign of the recovery is the standard prices for hotels in Victoria. They're not going for rock-bottom rates.

      For all of that, we owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team, health-care workers, emergency responders, and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

      Kudos to them for helping us navigate through one of the most challenging public-health crises of our lives.

      As Dr. Henry said in mid-May: "Managing the virus is the best thing we can do to manage the economy."