Lisa Van De Geyn

At this time last year, Canada was deep in the pandemic. Vaccines were just starting to be approved but the rollout was still some time away, and everyone, everywhere, was struggling to stay positive. It felt like an extended state of limbo, waiting for something to improve. For most people, the days ran together and everything seemed to be standing still.

But it turns out, that wasn’t actually the case. In fact, for some individuals, companies and organizations, the opposite couldn’t be more true. Progress was happening — albeit in slow and unconventional ways at times — in every sector, with an eye on brighter days ahead.

The pages of this magazine show just how innovative and exciting those days will be. For our last issue of 2021 — as we head into a year that will hopefully include much more advancement on, if not an end to, the current global health crisis — we’re taking a look at trends across industries. From food and beverage and med-tech to human augmentation and transportation, we’ve sought out the forward-thinkers, the innovators, the believers in “what if.” If there’s one thing each of these impressive companies have in common, it’s that they all believe in the intense drive and determination it takes to really create something amazing — they strive to instil that drive in their work, innovation and in their teams. Founders of Pasta Tavola, Victoria and Paula Watts, told us this: “We strive to be a leader in a category that is ubiquitous. We wouldn’t have made it this far without a drive to innovate and succeed.” Their words seem to ring true among all of the founders we spoke to and researched for this issue. What’s more, many of the companies we’ve selected were born during the pandemic, while others sought out new ways to grow and expand (and in some cases, completely reinvent) their businesses in the midst of incredible uncertainty. If that’s not worth celebrating, we don’t know what is.

This issue also aims to showcase some of the local talent in Durham Region. From our profile of chef Alex Page (pg 62) and sit-down with musician Robyn Ottolini (pg 66), to our gorgeous local shopping roundup (pg 55), we’re so proud to be able to support and promote the incredible work happening right here in our own backyard. That’s one trend the pandemic hammered home — the need to support one another, to nurture our communities. And we’re really hoping that one is here to stay.

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