Students spent their birthdays - or two of them - creatively while following COVID-19 restrictions. Photo credit: Gabrielle Vinette

With the pandemic’s one-year anniversary behind us, everyone has had at least one opportunity – or two – to creatively modify their birthday celebrations in order to follow COVID-19 restrictions.

Some had their birthday during the summer, where restrictions were not as limiting, while others celebrated during the lockdown.

Mary McPherson is a third-year student in the bachelor of commerce e-supply chain management honours co-op program. She spent her birthday on May 11 on a Zoom meeting with her friends for their weekly talk. The only difference that week was McPherson’s friends surprised her with a video they made featuring multiple well wishes.

“It was a great surprise since they were people that I haven’t been able to stay in touch with,” said McPherson. “It was different but still nice to be virtually with friends.”

McPherson then got to spend some time with her father and two brothers playing games online together. They got takeout from a Japanese restaurant, got a cake and toasted to her birthday.

Jackie Stephens, a graduate from the pre-apprenticeship for electricians program, spent her birthday, June 13, delivering grocery orders for Ottawa Valley Deliveries, a company which Stephens started herself. She then spent the rest of her evening with her six-year-old dog, Lady.

Ottawa Valley Deliveries is “like Instacart,” said Stephens. Instacart is an American company that delivers groceries. They deliver both in the United States and Canada, “But they don’t go to the Ottawa Valley.”

“We started with mostly Costco and local grocery deliveries, but then it skyrocketed. We did all the shopping for group homes,” she said. She mentions most people ordering from the company were senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The next day, which was a Sunday, Stephens played virtual games with her boyfriend, sister and parents. She could not be with her parents, who live in Windsor, Ont., or her sister, living in Victoria, B.C. But they still all had a blast with the games and a glass of wine.

Thinking of her next birthday, Stephens admits she is not optimistic. The pandemic may not be any better, but she hopes that by then she will be working as an electrician.

Brandon Saikoli, a veterinary technician student in his first year, spent his birthday, Aug. 26, eating Lone Star takeout at home with his parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew.

Lauren Tippins, a hairstyling student in her first year, had her birthday on Sept. 13. She spent the day with her mother, brother, two sisters and boyfriend.

“It was on a football Sunday, so we spent it watching the game,” said Tippins. Her step father made Tippins’ favourite dish, fettuccine Alfredo, as his present. Her boyfriend’s birthday gift was a tattoo, and she also received a sweater from her mother.

Tippins got her birthday tattoo back in January. It is a piece of black flowers with grey shading on her thigh.

Second-year student Tristan Maude, who’s in the tourism and travel services program, celebrated his birthday, Aug. 17 with his parents, brother, neighbours and their kids. They all gathered outside while socially distancing. He then went out to Boston Pizza with his parents and brother.

Einav Raz, a biotechnology student in her third year, spent her special day, June 2, at home with her parents. They had takeout from Pure Kitchen in Westboro. She received a bathrobe as a gift from her mother.

Michael Glass, a paramedic student in his second year, spent April 27 relaxing and drinking with his two roommates, then went to Local Heroes, a sports bar in the Bleeker Mall. The next day, Glass saw his mother while wearing a mask and following social distancing rules.

“I really wanted to see my mother,” said Glass. “But because of the restrictions, I had to wear a mask and social distance myself.”

Kevin Quazimi, a second-year biotechnology co-op student, spent his birthday, June 8, with his aunt, uncle and cousins, and then bought himself a cake at Farm Boy.