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The Unseen Impact of Pandemic Quarantine

An Interview with Jean & Gordon Grant

Summer 2020

“Before the pandemic, we used to go down to Richmond everyday — five days a week! We’d go there at 7:45am. The exercise session ends at 8:30am, and then 12 or 14 of us will go have coffee at Burger King. After that, everybody goes home except for us, we’d stay in Richmond to do our grocery shopping before we went home”.

For many years, this was the daily routine of Jean and Gordon Grant, former residents of East Richmond for twenty eight years. Some ten years ago, the couple returned to the Musqueam Reserve to be closer to Gordon’s family members from the Musqueam Nation, but they continued to return to Richmond every week to participate in seniors exercise classes at the local community centre and to socialize with their friends. 

“Since March, everything has changed. After all the community centres closed down, we don’t go to Richmond everyday anymore. We try to stay in touch with our friends by phone. At our age, what else is there to do?” 

“We’re home more than anything else now. We still manage to go to Richmond to eat and buy groceries once in a while. Now that restaurants have reopened, we can finally meet with our friends again and go for dim sum. Like today, six of us went out for dim sum together. All the waiters and waitresses all wear masks, and some places even have a machine to check your temperature. It feels pretty safe.”

The Unseen Impact of Quarantine
Jean Grant as a child, photographed at the Yucho Chow studio in Vancouver Chinatown, c. 1940s

Jean and Gordon Grant are members of the Musqueam Nation. The story about the Grant family has been featured in the documentary film All Our Father’s Relations (2016), which tells the story of the Grant siblings journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother.