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

COVID-19 cases are dropping across Canada, but the pandemic remains an issue and social distancing and prevention methods such as hand washing will be with us for the future. As more Canadians venture out in public after months of isolation, we've seen more photos submitted as part of the Canada Covid Portrait challenge.

It's open to any Canadian with a phone, and no professional photography skills are required to participate. To submit a photo, simply email, or use the hashtag #CanadaCovidPortrait on Instagram.

We have nine new, incredible images showcasing life during the coronavirus pandemic this week, and we'd like you to vote for your favourite in the poll below! But first... some information about each of them:

Aisha Fairclough's photo shows her holding a rock painted with a rainbow with a message reading "protest" while she wears a mask. It very much captures the spirit of what's been going on in the last few weeks with the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and Pride month.

Photo: © Aisha Fairclough

"This year Pride looks a little different," Aisha said. "In the absence of large gatherings, we are missing community and chosen family. As such, many of us hold on to memories of previous Prides and are reminded of Pride's purpose and legacy through symbols of hope.

"As part of #PrideinPlace for @buddiesTO #AnaloguePride, I animated a park's walking trail with hand-painted rocks featuring affirmations of love, belonging and resilience. It's a small, but significant way to inspire thoughts of community, identity and love during someone's morning stroll. Pride lives everywhere all the time."

Dona Schwartz's image will be relatable to most readers. It shows her having a Zoom catchup session with family from her home in Calgary and their home in the United States.

Photo: © Dona Schwartz

"In 2014, I moved to Canada from the U.S., where all of my children live, dispersed in cities across the country," she said. "Each year my partner and I travel back to see them: on Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, at weddings, graduations, or to celebrate the birth of a new family member. We supplement these special reunions with online get-togethers.

"With COVID-19 travel restrictions, our only synchronous interactions take place in the two-dimensional spaces presented by our various devices' screens. Conflicting time zones, schedules and routines complicate our efforts to stay in touch. Our moods and our ISPs affect the clarity and duration of our communications. Over time, online family life seems to offer a new normal – not like being together in a real physical place, but connected, nevertheless. Still, I am longing for the next journey, when the ruckus and tangibility of family life is within immediate reach."

Melodie Murray's photo, taken by Rachel Connell, shows her and her partner at their wedding at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton in May. Like many who were planning nuptials this year, COVID-19 forced the couple to change their plans a bit.

Photo: © Melodie Murray/Rachel Connell

"We love our friends and family, and can't say that there weren't a few tears shed over the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on our wedding plans," Melodie said. "But at the end of the day, we had to decide what was important to us – and that was *us* – you and me, becoming family.

"And although our day was so different than we had planned, it ended up being more beautiful than we could have imagined. Cheers to 2020 - to realizing what's important, to creativity in this constantly changing world and to all the lemons that are being made into lemonade. As for these newlyweds, we're thankful that no matter how many other things might be cancelled, love isn't one of them."

Patti Keenan's photo shows Adam Keenan training for Olympic hammer throwing events in Victoria, B.C. Adam usually trains outdoors, but due to COVID-19, he wasn't able to do so as of March 2020, so he had to change things up.

Photo: © Patti Keenan

"To be able to continue his training, a stable concrete circle and safety cage is replaced by a self-built plywood platform and a wide-open farmer's field," Patti said. "Respecting the strict protocol of social distancing, his usual regime of training 12 times per week with his personal coach critiquing each throw, is replaced by 2-4 sessions per week; and supported by his Mom spotting the landing of a 7.26 steel hammer and video-taping his throwing technique. Not shown in the photo but equally important, to be able to continue his strength training, Adam created a makeshift home gym with limited equipment in the family garage.

"Resourceful, creative and driven, this National Team Athlete found a way to continue his Olympic dream during the pandemic amidst a multitude of obstacles."

Arindam Das's photo shows people lining up for COVID-19 testing in Montreal outside one of the city's largest hospitals earlier this year.

Photo: © Arindam Das

"There was an intense feeling of uncertainty during the quarantine days," Arindam said. "The situation demands the photo to be in monochrome, which will reflect the situation... The aerial view not only showed the social distancing, but the parked cars also added metaphorical layer in the photo. The classic, old architectural structure of Hôtel-Dieu with the masked people standing in front reminds me of the Spanish flu and it seems that we are going through the pages of history once again."

Ian Darragh's photo shows Matwal, an international student who is studying financial management in Toronto who also works delivering pizza and doing errands for elderly and disabled people who cannot leave their homes. He dreams of becoming a financial advisor at a bank when he's completed his studies.

Photo: © Ian Darragh

"I try to stay safe by wearing a mask and using plenty of hand sanitizer," Matwal said.

Brant Slomovic is an emergency room doctor in Toronto. His image shows a sign in the ER telling personnel to wash their hands before reaching a blue line on the floor. It also features a medical professional's hands, bandaged due to dry skin from using so much hand sanitizer.

Photo: © Brant Slomovic

"Now more than ever, there is an awareness of physical space and where your hands are at all times," Brant said. "In addition to the moments when moving between patients, there is constant vigilance around the cleaning of hands. Repeated washing and use of hand sanitizer takes a toll – dryness and irritation, cracking and eczema - even during these spring and summer months, which in normal times are a reprieve from the dry winters.

"Until now, I have strongly resisted the crossover of work between my photographic life and medical life, but with the onset of the coronavirus, things changed. The New Normal is Anything but Normal."

Shelly Marriage's photo shows Erika Skretkowski, Nicole Restrepo and Lucy Giavon wearing masks, lined up in a row. They are eighth grade students who did not have the opportunity to take a graduation photo together, so they improvised.

Photo: © Shelly Marriage

"They staged their own grad photo shoot, carefully wearing masks and trying to match their dresses to make the most of the 'new norm,'" Shelly said.

Kama Jones's photo, taken in British Columbia, shows her son heading home to the mainland on a B.C. Ferry.

Photo: © Kama Jones

"When I returned to work on June 1 as an essential service worker (teacher), it was a tough decision about whether to send our son back to school to finish off his school year," she said. "My dad recently retired and offered to be grandpa-nany/home school teacher for the rest of the school year on Vancouver Island. They hiked, played card games, built LEGO and spent time with my 89-year-old grandma. I am REALLY looking forward to spending the next two months with this little guy – without also having to juggle working from home."

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

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