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Comfy on your Couch: Entertaining ideas

"The Dance Class" by Edgar Degas

Some days feel long, but the weeks are flying by; some of us feel like we should be doing more than we are and a lot of us are feeling frustrated and fatigued. Keeping amused and keeping curious are two great ways to help one appreciate being alive! We’ll take Dr. Bonnie Henry’s (Chief Medical Officer of British Columbia) thought to "be kind to ourselves" and chat about entertaining opportunities that we’ve found during COVID-19...and hopefully will continue to enjoy beyond!

Remote Tourism: Do you love to travel like us? Or perhaps not because it’s just too much hassle or because home is where you prefer to be? Or simply too expensive? Now it's simple to see the world as a Remote Tourist from the comfort of your couch. Browse the internet to find a location that you were always curious about - a remote island, the polar regions, your own country. Visit a country or city’s internet site and get their top 10 attractions. Explore their videos, images and possibly their remote tourism sites. Judy just did an interactive experience on the Faroe Islands and it was fascinating; both because of the topic and the way she engaged with it. It is a brief picture of geographic isolation and she loves the stark beauty of the North Atlantic.

Culture: Until recently, many of us enjoyed attending operas, plays, dance, music, art galleries, and movie theatres. Now on-line is the only option, but there are lots of options available - and the best the world has to offer is open to everyone 24/7! You can check out theatres from around the world, music in its many forms, documentary film festivals, virtual tours of museums, and art galleries. We’ve both listened to familiar and new types of music - both traditional and contemporary - and watched different dance genres.

Some of our favourites right now:

Google Arts and Culture is a (quite!) comprehensive resource to arts - scroll down to the “Explore” section and click on “collections”, “artworks”, or “places” to browse thousands of the world’s most exceptional bits. Aside from the wealth of options offered through the main page, the three little bars at the top left bring up the menu, which has more to explore - the “Experiments” section is really neat.

Some novel and intriguing ideas are popping up like the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, which is a Van Gogh exhibit that you can walk through at a distanced and timed pace or - wait for it - drive through in your car!

While there’s plenty of international stuff going on (see list above!), there’s lots going on in our local communities, too. For example, The Catalyst at FCAD is a series of blogs and posts from the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University that highlights the works of students and local artists. Being able to support your local arts and culture community is becoming increasingly available as everyone moves to online. Their creativity helps with engaging presentations to pique your curiosity, educate you, and of course tempt you to attend in the “normal” future. The list can go on…….because imagination knows no borders.

Knowledge: Learning is a lifelong habit and passion for both of us. There is so much news about COVID that it can be overwhelming. We are taking a little break from the regular news broadcasts and public TV. Most news stations have their broadcasts archived online, so you can catch up with your news if and when you feel like it. A benefit of watching online is that you can “pause” if you need to pause and “fast-forward” through segments you don’t care to watch. (Segway: an interesting read on how COVID-19 has changed media habits for different generations).

If you want to learn something new, try a TED Talk (or just search YouTube!) or subscribe to a national forum, such as the Munk Debates/Dialogues.

There are many courses online - some free and some you can purchase. Develop new skills with a Master Class in gardening, cooking, playing an instrument or try The Great Courses at with every imaginable topic available! The One Day University is a forum showcasing academics from around the world who present lectures on current and relevant topics. Their website has a library of past lectures and offers live streaming and events.

Your library: In one of our previous posts, we chatted about Overdrive and Libby, but some libraries are offering other special opportunities - free streaming services for a limited number of movies/documentaries per month, or free Ancestry - a great time to organize those old photos and look for the black sheep in your family by building your family tree.

Finding websites to your taste: There’s tons out there - great! But how might one go about finding what actually is of personal interest? Searching through Google is a good way to start. Try “free [what you’re looking for] streaming” or “10 best (free) [what you’re looking for] sites”. For example, by searching for “free online virtual museum tours canada” we found Visit Canadian Museums & Museums Across the World Online. In this particular case, a bonus was a link to a list of links to museums across the world!

Check for the date the content was posted - more recent is often better. Tanis bookmarks her sites of interest (how to bookmark was discussed briefly in last week’s post) so she can easily find them again later without having to search for them.

Some resources have ended their COVID-19 free offers and say so as you enter their website. If it’s something you were keen on, don’t be discouraged, go past the “landing page” - there may be a free trial period offered.


When we look back on this time, if we emerge healthy, we suspect it will be with some nostalgia. So many wonderful (and free) opportunities to amuse us and (for us) the gift of more idle time than usual to be filled. As we are pretty sure entertainment landscape will be changed forever, we are glad we have essentially been forced to begin acquiring the skills needed to keep up. Tech is not as scary as it used to be!

We’d love to hear what you enjoy doing - tech related or not. Please add a comment below (you’ll need to login first) to share your experiences and ideas!

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