Masset-based locum Dr. Matthew Menard premiered the Masset COVID-19 CanCan video series on YouTube in March 2020. (YouTube screengrab)

‘A smile in these weird times’: Haida Gwaii doctor airs COVID-19 ‘cancan’ video series

Dance footage combines with tips from local health workers about what you ‘cancan’ do during COVID-19

A Haida Gwaii doctor has been producing videos that highlight things residents “cancan” do during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Matthew Menard, who currently works as a locum in Masset, has been airing the “Masset COVID-19 CanCan” video series on YouTube over the past several weeks to connect with islanders, share knowledge “and hopefully a smile in these weird times.”

“A physician colleague of mine noted that everyone was constantly being told what they couldn’t do during the social distancing campaign,” Menard told the Observer on April 22, adding that the same colleague suggested he make videos focusing on the positive things people “can” do here while staying safe.

“I liked the idea of the cancan because it was fun and recognizable to most people. It also implies a little naughtiness that I thought might pique people’s interest and increase the chances that they would view it.”

ALSO READ: Banding together: Haida Gwaii nurse crafts headbands to save sore ears from mask straps

To drive the cancan connection home, Menard found old, black-and-white video footage of women with feathers in their hair performing the high-energy dance for a crowd. He plays the footage at the start of each video before announcing: “It’s now time for another Masset COVID-19 cancan. Even though you’re physically distancing there’s a lot of stuff you still cancan do.”

After Menard’s introduction, each video features footage submitted by different local health-care workers, such as nurse Luke Borserio and his “silly walk.”

“When I’m at home isolating, I like to silly walk,” Borserio says in his video, before moving in and out of the view of the camera, shuffling, walking backwards and high-kicking.

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii’s Luke Borserio and Terrace kayaker return from Nass River expedition

In another video, Susie Sulcs, who co-leads the mental wellness team at Haida Health, shows viewers how she likes to catch up on reading and cuddle her cats — both fat and skinny. Her mother also makes a meta cameo after Sulcs explains she likes to make video calls.

Dr. Tasha Maheu tells viewers “when I have to social distance I like to go for a walk with my partner at the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary” and shares views of the sanctuary at sunset, and nurse Emma Millson Taylor from Port Clements says, “when I am social distancing I can play peekaboo with my baby.”

ALSO READ: Tidal flows restored to upper Delkatla sanctuary

Nurse Matthew Torre goes on a bike ride with a friend and Dr. Riaan Van Der Wart says, “when I have a bit of time and do some social distancing, I take care of my spirit.”

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Dr. Skylar Van Osch’s video is arguably the wildest to date. He streaks across the screen in what is described as a “teensy thong,” with arms raised in triumph.

“There’s nothing like doing something a little wild to make people smile and forget about the pandemic for a moment,” Menard’s description of the video reads on YouTube. “Even if it only lasts a few seconds it’s still good medicine. Thanks for the wonderful rays of moonlight.”

Menard’s own video features him surfing in a funny costume.

He told the Observer he hopes to add to the series, but needs more people to participate by sending him raw footage.

“I have been told people are very much enjoying them,” he said, adding that he wants others to be inspired and make their own. “It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hopeful.”

ALSO READ: Northwest family doctors win awards for B.C. launch of CHANGE Program

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