With more than 37,000 deaths from COVID-19 in Canada, a new exhibit is coming to Kwantlen Polytechnic University to commemorate the pandemic and the thousands of seniors who died in long-term care.
On Friday (April 1), KPU’s Surrey campus will launch an in-person exhibit opening for “COVID in the House of Old,” one of Canada’s first public commemorations of the pandemic.
“‘COVID in the House of Old’ is a poignant multimedia installation created by York University professor Megan J. Davies and features original music by Toronto-based musician and composer, Hiroki Tanaka,” reads a release from KPU.
“Using multiple chairs, sound and speakers, ‘COVID in the House of Old’ tells the story of seven individuals from B.C. and Ontario whose (lives were) altered by the rapid spread of COVID through long term care.”
The exhibit comes two years after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11, 2020.
KPU says this “storytelling exhibit acknowledges the thousands of seniors who died in care homes or endured months of isolation, the staff who faced an overwhelming burden of care, and the families and friends unable to visit or help their loved ones.”
Davies said it’s a “powerful moment” to be opening to exhibit two years after the COVID-19 deaths began at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
“Certainly, it is important to remember how those tragic mass deaths then began taking place in care homes across the country, becoming a national crisis that revealed longstanding weaknesses and inequities in a broken system.”
Davies said she hopes the exhibit will prompt community discussions on COVID-19 deaths in senior care homes, encourage reflection and activism, and motivate Canadians to consider the systemic fault lines in the eldercare system that the pandemic revealed.
Meantime, KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis said it’s “important to provide a public venue for reflection and discussion on what so many have experienced in the last two years.”
The free exhibit will be in the Arbutus atrium at the entrance to the library of the Surrey campus, located at 12666 72 Ave. It will run April 1 to 28 during KPU’s
Members of the community are welcome to visit the exhibit for free in the Arbutus atrium at the entrance to the library on KPU’s Surrey campus, 12666 72 Ave., during opening hours from Apr. 1 to Apr. 28, 2022.