Canadians will be watching with bated breath as a new U.S. president takes office Wednesday.
The pandemic has placed limits on the size of the crowd that would typically gather in the U.S. capital for the ceremony.
So has the lingering threat of violence after U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building this month to stop the transition of power, egged on by the president himself.
Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of the event, further stoking anxiety among Americans and concerned observers.
Wanda Beatty plans to watch the ceremony from her Peterborough, Ont., home, switching between news outlets while chatting online with family.
Three of Beatty’s sisters live in the U.S. and she says the instability has taken a toll on them.
“I’m not worried for their safety, I’m just worried, really, for their mental health,” Beatty said in an interview this week.
“It’s such a bizarre, unprecedented time.”
Despite concerning recent events, Beatty says she’s hopeful that the transition will go smoothly.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that, hopefully, things won’t be as bad as it seems like there’s a potential for.”
Others across Canada are planning to watch the ceremony with roommates and in workplaces as they observe pandemic guidelines.
Katie Thompson of Thompson Chiropractic in Barrie, Ont., says the clinic plans to stream the proceedings live after several patients asked to schedule appointments around the event.
“It feels like we have been building up to this day for, well, quite frankly, four years.”