COVID-19: Calgary man covers garage walls with puzzles done during pandemic

Walk into Garth Wilcox’s garage in southwest Calgary and you’ll quickly see what he’s been up to during the COVID-19 pandemic: jigsaw puzzles.

“There’s 50 up there right now,” Wilcox said.

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The reason for his pandemic pursuit is simple.

“Just something to do,” Wilcox said. “With the way it is, there’s not a lot to do.”

He’s proud to show off some of the puzzles he’s pieced together.

“This one of the presidents of the United States was a very interesting one to do,” Wilcox said. “I like birds a lot, so my family keeps giving me ones of birds.”

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Other puzzles feature everything from railroads to rodeo.

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“Those 500 piece ones there, I can do those in basically a day,” Wilcox said.

The only puzzle he was tempted to quit doing contained 4,000 pieces — a task that took a month to complete.

“It was the hardest one I’ve ever done,” Wilcox said. “A lot of pieces of the same piece, really, and they’re all even the same colour.”

While puzzles of many types became hard to find during the early months of the pandemic, Wilcox said he’s having no trouble finding them now.

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“My wife has been shopping quite a bit, and she has found a few,” Wilcox said. “So I think I’ve got about five or six that I can carry on to.”

Wilcox’s wife Susan said she’s glad to see he’s found something to keep him occupied at a time when COVID-19 restrictions prevent many recreational activities.

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“It’s great because he can’t curl, he can’t golf, he can’t watch hockey games,” Susan Wilcox said. “So he can put in eight to 10 hours a day on a jigsaw.”

Wilcox said it’s worth it to keep himself busy and to brighten up his neighbourhood during these dark times.

“Lots of people go by when my garage doors are up,” Wilcox said. “And they say, ‘You’ve got quite a wallpaper going on in your garage there.’”

Wilcox is fine putting together whatever puzzles might come his way, pointing to one he recently completed that features dozens of country music stars.

“I’m not very much of a country fan. I’m an Elvis Presley fan,” Wilcox said. “Looking for a puzzle with Elvis.”

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