With spring officially underway, a lot of us are missing the events and activities we would usually participate in. Practicing physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 means staying home whenever possible. Fortunately for us, there are all kinds of virtual things to do!

While we can’t gather in person to enjoy concerts, theatrical performances, or museum exhibitions, we can still stay social and connected online. There are so many virtual experiences you can enjoy from the comfort of home. Go on a virtual museum tour or check out a live stream of animals at the zoo. You can also exercise your creativity and curiosity with activities, challenges, and virtual hangouts.

Here are a few virtual experiences from across Canada and around the world:

National Film Board of Canada website

Watch Movies

Just because you can’t go to the theatre, doesn’t mean you can’t go to the movies! The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has more than 4,000 short- and feature-length films available for free on their website. Their catalogue includes movies for the whole family, from documentaries to animated films to Canadian classics. Many of the films include closed captioning and described video. You can find the full list on their Accessibility page.

The NFB regularly adds new movies, so check back regularly. This week, they released Ice Breakers, a documentary short by Sandi Rankaduwa about a promising teen hockey star.

Want to watch with a friend? Call them and start the movie at the same time!

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven

Watch Virtual Performances

When Vancouver’s performing arts spaces closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) wrapped up BeethovenFest on March 15th with a Virtual Finale and livestreamed their performance of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. Since then, new physical distancing guidelines have taken effect, but musicians across the country are still performing together online.

You can watch performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or check out the virtual home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Musicians. The National Arts Centre has also organized a series of live online performances called #CanadaPerforms. Check out the calendar of livestreams, which include dance and theatre performances in addition to music, and family programming kids of all ages can enjoy.

The Virtual Museum of Canada

Explore Virtual Museums

The Virtual Museum of Canada has a huge collection of virtual exhibits and community stories from Canada’s major museums and galleries. No matter your interest, there’s something for everyone. The exhibits cover a variety of subjects including arts, history, science, nature, and technology. If you really want a day at the museum, you can step inside the Royal Ontario Museum or the Vancouver Art Gallery using Google Street View. The 360-degree view allows you to virtually walk through the exhibits and zoom in for an even closer look.

Toronto Zoo Facebook page

Visit Virtual Aquariums and Zoos

Watch the sharks swim and the penguins waddle with Ripley’s Aquariums At Home live streams! In addition to their animal cams, they also have a calendar of live events and downloadable educational materials for kids. For even more animal antics, check out the Toronto Zoo. You can tune in daily at 1pm to see the Toronto Zoo’s Wildlife Care team live on Facebook. The zoo is also partnering with Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants to host virtual learning live every Tuesday and Thursdays with downloadable resources so you can follow along at home.

Mo Willems holds up a drawing of Pigeon during the first episode of Lunch Doodles.

Get Creative

Connect with people online and get creative together with this list of creative challenges! There’s something for everyone in the family. Join the Quarantine Art Club for daily drawing prompts or make your lunch break more creative with children’s author Mo Willems and his Lunch Doodles. If drawing isn’t your thing, no problem! The Antisocial Art Show invites everyone to share what you’re making, whether you’re cooking your favourite meal, making music, woodworking, or crafting with the kids!

Children draw along with an artist on screen

Find Experiences to Spark Connection

Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Co Make Do (brought to you by Kudoz, Real Talk, Meraki and friends) is offering up a range of experiences to connect neurodiverse folks with self, community, and the wider world. The experiences will take place online and over the phone, for those without Internet access. Check out their weekly calendar and exercise your creativity, compassion, and curiosity with experiences like Kudoz virtual offers and daily #DrawTogether classes.

For even more virtual things to do, check out our COVID-19 Resources.