Google mobility report shows Quebecers flocking to parks

© Allen McInnis An SPVM officer keeps an eye on a busy Jeanne-Mance park in Montreal on May 18, 2020, during COVID-19 pandemic.

Quebecers are still staying away from retail stores and transit stations, but there has been a surge in the number of people visiting parks, according to a new mobility report released by the search giant Google.

The report , which is based on geolocation data collected through applications such as Google Maps, shows movement trends over time, and by geography all around the world. It is split up into six categories: parks, retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, transit stations, workplaces and residential. It compares movements of people to trends observed for the five-week period of Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020. The goal of the report is to “include categories that are useful to social distancing efforts as well as access to essential services,” according to Google.

The data for the period ending May 16 shows a 66 per cent increase in people visiting parks in Quebec compared with baseline data, though it’s probably not abnormal for visits to parks to increase between January and May. The last report, issued March 29 and released on April 3, showed 68 per cent fewer visits to parks in the province.

Ontario (92 per cent) and Saskatchewan (121 per cent) registered an even greater bump in traffic to its parks, the report showed.

Visits to transit stations were also down in the province — by 46 per cent — compared with a 75 per cent decline in March. That data appears to jive with the decline in ridership observed by the Société de transport de Montréal, which recorded an 80 per cent decline in the use.

Related

Note to readers: We know the speed and volume of coronavirus-related news is overwhelming and a little frightening. To help with that, our daily live blog synthesizes the most important coronavirus-related news, especially as it relates to life in Montreal and Quebec. Follow the updates for May 22.

All our coronavirus-related news can always be found at montrealgazette.com/tag/coronavirus.

Sign up for our email newsletter dedicated to local COVID-19 coverage at montrealgazette.com/coronavirusnews.

Help support our local journalism by subscribing to the Montreal Gazette.