How was your Canada Day? Chances are you got outside this week to celebrate, and given that the weather has been so gorgeous throughout much of the country, there's a high likelihood many people will venture outdoors this weekend, too. With that comes the new reality of COVID-19 and social distancing.
As the spring has changed into summer, there have been dozens of fantastic photos taken for the Canada Covid Portrait challenge. They all show how Canadians have been adapting to the coronavirus pandemic by wearing masks, keeping two metres apart and taking precautions to slow the spread of the disease. You can see some of those great photos below.
We'd like to know which of them is your favourite! Scroll through to see all the information about each image, and then vote in our poll!
Annette Cheung's photo of her children running through a field in Vancouver will likely be relatable too many parents. Plenty of kids have been cooped up indoors all spring, so the chance to get outside and stretch their legs in the summer weather has been really valuable for little ones and their parents.
"When we discovered an empty field near our home, the kids were overjoyed to find a place where they could run around," Annette said. "This hidden spot was where we went for them to be free to play without worrying about crowds. They had so much fun, and reminded us that even in quarantine, we could still find joy."
Moe Cheshire's image shows his daughter, Kiki, getting excited about celebrating Canada Day in St. John's. The image was taken just before the holiday, and shows her with a huge smile on a front porch with two Canadian flags on each side of her.
"The COVID-19 pandemic slowly started here in St. John's," Moe said. "Schools were closed, we had to stay home, except grocery shopping once per week. In the beginning of May, we were allowed to have a bubble family. We were so lucky to be a bubble family with our friends who are from Newfoundland. We started to have dinner together often, but it wasn't in public. Mostly, each other's houses. On that day, everyone was happy because we were at camper together in the hot sun! It was the first time we spend time together in public in about 4 months."
Dale Crockett's image shows a mobile COVID-19 testing centre in Montreal in the city's Park Extension neighbourhood. Both of Dale's parents grew up there, his aunts on his mother's side have lived there for much of their lives and his maternal grandparents also lived there.
"It is a working class neighbourhood with one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the country; more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken here," Dale said. "When COVID-19 hit, it hit Park Extension hard. As of June 11, there were more than 2,000 cases and 129 deaths. Like many other immigrant communities, a combination of large families living together in small apartments meant physical distancing was difficult.
"I had not walked the streets for many years, but I spent a day there with my camera, and I saw people lined up outside a COVID-19 mobile testing bus."
Brian Elliot's photo shows a man holding bags while wearing a mask in Vancouver. Brian said the subject of the picture was a stranger, but friendly when the two met on the street one day.
"This was taken mid-June at Vancouver's West End Farmer's," he said. "I've been taking COVID-19 photos since late March, and this person was happy to oblige. He was so pleased that the market was back, even with the tight safety protocols in place."
Sherif Hosni's photo shows people using a Toronto subway car. Ridership on the TTC has massively decreased because of the pandemic, but many people still need to use the service to get around the city. Masks are now mandatory while using Toronto public transit. The city recently initiated Stage 2 of reopening, meaning some businesses and select stores can take customers again – with strict safety protocols in place.
"As you walk the streets of Toronto nowadays, you will notice more signs of life if you compare it to the situation a month ago," Sherif said. "Now, I can see people standing in the TTC because they can't find empty chairs or they practice social distancing. I have no other option when it comes to using the TTC, so I protect the others and myself by wearing a face covering. Meanwhile, I am interested in documenting daily life during the pandemic in Toronto, and it is a great chance to improve my storytelling skills."
Lizzie Lau's image shows her daughter getting creative at her 10th birthday party in Surrey, B.C. Her photo features Vivi hitting a special piñata for her bash.
"We realized a traditional party wasn't going to be a possibility," Lizzie said. "Vivi is half Guatemalan, so we always celebrate her birthday with a piñata. We had an enormous Angry Birds piñata in the garage that my parents had brought up from California several years ago. I suggested we tear it apart and reconfigure it as a coronavirus. We invited her BFFs to drive onto our property to wish her a happy birthday. Vivi and her cousins took turns bashing the piñata with hockey sticks and yelling out what they missed most because of the pandemic. It was cathartic and fun and afterwards she told me that it was her best birthday ever."
Sebastien Michaud's sweet photo shows a man carrying his sleeping daughter in a Black Lives Matter march in Montreal. As you can see, nearly everyone in the image is wearing a mask to help prevent spreading the coronavirus.
Valerian Mazataud's photo shows a circus performer outside a long-term care home in Montreal. The performer is on stilts in a special costume while she plays a violin. Valerian said the Droldadon company came to the Habitations de Chambley seniors' residence in the city's Rosemont district to give a show for those who had been stuck inside for months.
So, which of these photos is your favourite? Let us know below!