Summer has officially arrived and a good portion of the country has started the process of reopening the economy as we continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
As the weather warms, we'll continue to see people heading outside to get some much-needed sunshine and time in nature, while navigating the new realities that come with the social distancing measures that are still necessary in light of COVID-19.
We're almost a week into summer, and that means there are several great new photos submitted as part of the Canada Covid Portrait challenge. We want to know which of the images below is your favourite! Check out some information on how the images were taken and let us know your pick in the poll at the end of this story!
If you'd like to submit a photo for consideration to the Canada Covid Portrait challenge, you can do so until the end of the day on June 26. Use the hashtag #CanadaCovidPortrait on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asia Crawford's photo was taken in Vancouver and shows the family getting creative and adapting to having to spend so much time inside by hanging out in a wading pool in their living room.
"During the pandemic, our Mexican vacation we got the kids so excited about was cancelled!" she said. "Parks were closed! We couldn't take them out so much, so we had to come up with creative ways to bring the fun and vacation inside the home!
"What we realized was that we didn’t have to lose sight of the fun we could still have. It helped us get more creative and just enjoy quality family time we wouldn’t have got otherwise. In the long run we now have some great memories and we’re able to protect ourselves and neighbors from spreading Covid."
Maggie Devereux's image shows her daughter having an "impromptu play date" with her best friend while their families were in the backyards at the same time. The two live next door to each other in Toronto. Maggie's photo shows the importance of human connection and resilience during the pandemic.
"They chit chatted over the fence and then took turns going into their respective houses to get stuffs and toys to show each other one by one, including their mutual favourite, the bootie shaking llama," Maggie said. "They both got one for their birthdays this year and often play with them together, pretending that the stuffs are sisters and they're the parents.
"It's human nature to want to connect and I guess where there's a will, there's a way. It warmed my heart to see these two finding a way to feel each other's warmth, despite having to keep a distance."
Katrina Dreyer's picture shows her holding a sign with an important message about the coronavirus. The text on it reads, "I stayed at work for you to stay at home for us."
"Working during this pandemic has been an interesting experience for sure," she said. "There are so many new protocols that we had to accommodate very quickly, and levels of anxiety were heightened on both the provider and patient sides.
"The emergency room is always crazy, regardless of COVID, but I think we can all agree we have never worked more as a team. The support from the community for health care providers was so heartwarming and was very appreciated. It definitely gave us a little extra oomph during those difficult shifts. I am so thankful to be an emergency room nurse and have been able to do my part during this pandemic."
Tim Krochak's photo shows a reality for many new graduates this year. Many students leaving high school or finishing university in 2020 are not able to attend commencement ceremonies in person to pick up their diplomas and degrees and celebration with their peers. If they are, the ceremonies have had huge adjustments due to COVID-19.
Tim's image features several students at Halifax's Citadel High showing off their diplomas after receiving them. In front of the group of students are placards with other graduates' faces. The school has been giving students a three-minute time slot to go in and get their diplomas, walking across the stage to pick them up in an attempt to keep things as normal as possible during these times.
Wendy Sedgwick's picture shows a person out and about in downtown Toronto, taking in the summer rays while wearing a mask.
"There is always something to see and do on Queen Street – the most beautiful and vibrant street in the city," she said. "With its many trendy restaurants and shops, bars and nightlife, it has become a hub for cutting edge art, music and fashion trends.
"As a Toronto street photographer I love to photograph interesting and intriguing people. And not letting a global pandemic dampen the spirit of this fashion forward, vibrant and eclectic community, I was delighted to find many beautiful faces behind brightly coloured masks to photograph."
Marlana Thompson's photo shows her daughter, Teionrasharens Hunter Cook Thompson, wearing a beautiful black velveteen mask interfaced and lined with red flannel. It features white pine, cedar and strawberry beaded patterns in size 11 czechs. Her daughter did her own hair and makeup for the photo, which was taken in Akwesasne, Que.
"This is my way of giving thanks to the medicine plants Creator has given us to heal and so that we don't forget that this pandemic happened," she said. "I also bead three skydomes to represent the prayers to the creator for my three children. A single braid of sweet grass is sewn across the bottom, with two beds with every stitch. Dried sage was sewn inside the mask for extra cleaning and protection and the leather ties are made from brain tanned leather."
Sally Jane Wilson's picture shows David and Hiroko Tang with their two-year-old daughter, Alice, looking at tulips in Ontario.
"They told me they had found this area during the quarantine, as it was not far from where they lived, there was no sign of other people, and they had heard of the wonderful tulips that were planted there," Sally said. "They told me they came by that day to check on the progress of the tulips. It was my lucky day, as I was there for the same reason.
"What I had not expected was for us to meet and to have such an engaging time while maintaining six feet of distance between each other. We were all able to enjoy the tulips, the fresh air and each other's company."
Avard Woolaver's photo was taken in Brooklyn, N.S. on one of his drives back home across a field to a woodlot where he has been spending time during the pandemic.
"I'm fortunate to live in rural Nova Scotia, where social distancing is quite easy and there have been relatively few COVID cases," he said. "Still, the virus weighs heavily on me at times when I think about all the death and suffering in the world.
"Sometimes I drive the truck across the field to the woodlot where I make walking trails and enjoy being in nature. I took this photo on the drive back home. It seemed symbolic of our hope for a post-COVID world – bright days ahead, and bad times behind us in the rear view."