This is a public record : These are the pandemic moments Canadians are documenting

This is a public record : These are the pandemic moments Canadians are documenting
Top Stories readers submitted photos showing how they re spending their time during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Compilation photo)


TORONTO -- For some Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity to slow down and reflect on what matters most to them. For others, it’s been a time of incredible financial stress and uncertainty about the future.

Some have discovered newfound passions or hobbies while others have found comfort in the company of family and friends – even from a distance.

While there have been ups and downs, there has also been overwhelming gratitude for the communities and frontline workers who have worked together to prevent further spread of the virus.

In an effort to gauge how Canadians are reflecting on these extraordinary times, asked readers to share what they will remember most from the pandemic.

And although some would rather forget these past few months altogether, many others felt inspired to communicate what has stood out to them during the global health crisis.

Here are some of the moments they would like to remember.

After discovering that a few of his ancestors had died during the Spanish Flu in 1918, celebrated photographer George Pimentel said he began to research that moment in history. Upon looking at the old photos from life during that time, he felt inspired to document the current pandemic for the record.

“It’s important for the Canadian archive to have this,” he explained during a telephone interview with on Wednesday. “This is a public record.”

The professional entertainment and events photographer took to the streets to begin shooting photos of daily life in Toronto, where he lives, and posting them on his Instagram.

Pimentel then teamed up with Canadian art expert Sara Angel, who is leading a project called Canada COVID Portrait. The aim of the project is to create an archive, gallery, and book containing photos from the pandemic that have been submitted by Canadians.

“You don t have to be a professional,” Pimentel said. “Professionals, amateurs, people with cell phones, anybody, we wanted everyone’s perspectives.”

Pimentel and Angel have been collecting and sharing the photos on Instagram and on their website before they put together an exhibit and a book.  

As he photographs people in his own neighbourhood and sees the photos submitted by the public, Pimentel said he’s been struck by the emotion in these images. He’s taken photos of a senior woman praying on the steps of a church she couldn’t enter, a homeless man using a fishing pole to hold out a coffee cup for change, and a 13-year-old girl celebrating her birthday on her driveway as friends drove by in vehicles.

“I’m going to remember how people are really suffering,” he said. “But at the same time, that people are still living. They have to live and it’s almost like people are really coming together and doing the best they can to make do with how they live.”

As the photography project shows, Pimentel is far from alone in his endeavour to document life during the pandemic.

Every couple of days, Nancy Iwachniuk and her sister stroll through their small community of Osnabruck Centre in South Stormont, near Cornwall, Ont. On one of their walks around the “country block” in May, she said they decided to take some “memory photos” of their neighbours standing in front of their homes.

“After the go ahead, we did this and made a poster from all of the pictures for our memory of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020,” she wrote in an email to on Monday.

Charlene Hatcher, a 16-year-old from Kingston, N.S., has also taken it upon herself to document her surroundings during the pandemic.

“I’ve been keeping both a written and photo journal ever since March break when school ended to document how COVID-19 has affected me and the effect it has had on Canada and the world,” she said.

Kathy Vannord, from Springfield, Ont., shared two photos of her husband, Mike, visiting with their two-year-old grandson, Matthew, during the pandemic. In the photos, Mike can be seen crouching down inside the home and looking out through a glass backdoor while his young grandson stands on the other side of the door and looks in.
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