Vote for your favourite photo from the Canada Covid Portrait challenge this week!

By Zach Harper

As some provinces and territories start relaxing social distancing rules and some businesses begin re-opening during the coronavirus pandemic, people have continued to share incredible photos online documenting this time in Canadian history.

Canadian photographer George Pimentel's Canada Covid Portrait challenge has been inviting shutterbugs to share images that starkly show how COVID-19 has changed and affected our lives.

You've probably been documenting your life during these times and how much things have shifted for you. Canadians are welcome to submit photos to the project until June 26.

Canada Covid Portrait is "open to anybody with a cell phone who wants to convey what they're going through in COVID times," says George. You don't need to be a professional photographer to take part. You can use the hashtag #CanadaCovidPortrait on Instagram to submit a photo, or email @submissions@canadacovidportrait.ca.

This week, we're asking you to pick your favourite of eight photos. You can see them all below, with some information from each photographer about where the photo was taken and what it shows.

Many Canadians will probably be able to relate to David Chiu's photo. It shows how the Torontonian visited his mom to celebrate the special day – his family normally gets together to do that, but COVID-19 made things different this year.

Photo: © David Chiu

"On Mother's Day, I dropped by my mom's place with some gifts and to see her," he says. "Keeping our social distance, this selfie was captured in my mom's backyard. There were big smiles behind those masks, which my mom had made.

"We chatted and gave each other social distanced hugs and kisses – definitely a memorable Mother's Day."

Kama Jones's picture will also strike a chord with our readers. The photo was taken outside her home in Surrey, B.C.

Photo: © Kama Jones

"Every evening, our quiet suburban neighbourhood clatters with the sound of banging pots and pans (and bells and drums and trumpets!)," she says. "Thank You Hour celebrates and appreciates our essential services workers who are working on the front lines during this global pandemic."

Many families are having to find new ways to pass the time and take care of their children – along with keeping their busy minds occupied. Gabriela Carbrera's image, taken in Quispamsis, N.B., shows just that.

Photo: © Gabriela Carbrera

"As schools closed and we had to stay home, we were looking for interesting things to do, especially for the children," she says. "Visual artist Fabiola Martinez, generously offered free virtual painting classes for the community. Thanks to her, we started painting daily, enjoying the process and posting the paintings on the dining room wall. My daughter Lucia (5 years old) loved it especially. When I went to take a photo, Lucia got excited, she picked her favourite dress, a headband and started posing in front of the paintings."

Just like many other mass gatherings, religious services have had to adapt in the age of COVID-19. Jaclyn Chabot's photo shows her and her son taking part in a service at home in Pointe-Claire, Montreal.

Photo: © Jaclyn Chabot

"We are practicing Catholics now forced to watch Mass from home instead of participating," she says. "My husband reached out to our church to offer playing music, and on this occasion, he was needed to do some readings. Our toddler, who is normally well behaved in Church, has struggled to connect with online Mass since it doesn't make for an exciting 'movie.'

"In this photo my 4-year-old is waving to his father on the computer. I was touched by his waving, as I showed him having a connection to our Sunday mass on the screen."

Matt Hart's image, taken in Toronto, shows one way cities are helping people understand social distancing.

Photo: © Matt Hart

After huge crowds descended on Trinity Bellwoods park during a sunny weekend in May, the City of Toronto responded by painting white circles on the grass to enforce social distancing measures. Before being implemented in Toronto, other cities like New York and San Francisco had popularized the method.

Melissa Royle's image, taken in St. John's, shows how people have been coping with staying indoors by adding some humour to the mix. It shows her family members working at a table with a giant teddy bear.

"Day ?? #workingfromhome and we finally got a new hire," she wrote on Instagram.

Colleen Shinkewski's photo, taken in Saskatoon, shows one way people have been making sure they stay active during the pandemic.

Photo: © Colleen Shinkewski

"With in-person exercise classes cancelled, some have been forced to get creative," she says. "The building next door has begun doing socially distant exercises in the parking lot."

Dean Wang's image of two people touching a window pane in Richmond Hill, Ont. illustrates how he and his loved ones have been staying in touch while staying apart during the time of COVID-19.

Photo: © Dean Wang

"I miss the days we could pick up the grandkids after school, where we could hug them and all them how much we love them," he says. "Now, the only time we see each other is via video conferencing.

"On this day, our daughter called to tell us that the grandkids miss their grandma's cooking. So, we delivered some food to their front door and Ethan (our oldest grandson), is seen here, talking to grandma, while maintaining social distancing."

So, we want to know, which of these photos is your favourite? Let us know by voting in the poll below!

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