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From the thousands of photos that run in The Globe each year, our editors selected the images that meant the most to them for this retrospective. We hope this collection will act as a time capsule of sorts – a marker of what we lived through together in 2020

Our visual team assigns hundreds of stories and photos each year, from breaking news and investigations to features and portraits.

To select the images for this package, we first canvassed our editors for the photos that meant the most to them – the ones that encapsulated a key moment or emotion from the tumultuous past year. With the list narrowed down to about 150, we began the work of trimming and adjusting the images into a tightly edited series that we felt represented the best and worst of 2020 – from protests over pipelines and a national reckoning on race and policing, to the tragic shooting in Portapique, N.S., and moments of resilience in the face of a deadly pandemic.

It's not a comprehensive account of every news event that happened during this strange, overwhelming, unprecedented (and thankfully almost over) year. But we hope it will act as a time capsule of sorts – something readers can come back to in the years to come as a marker of what we lived through together.

JAN. 8 | EDMONTON Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard near Tehran on Jan. 7, killing 176 people – including 57 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. Many of the victims – doctors, graduate students, professors, children – lived in Edmonton, where members of the Iranian community held a memorial service for the victims.

JAN. 8 | NORTH VANCOUVER Shokoofeh Shams and her son light candles at a vigil at Amir Bakery for the victims of the Ukrainian airliner crash. The bakery is owned by Amir Pasavand, whose wife, Ayeshe Pourghaderi, and daughter, Fatemah, were killed in the tragedy. SHAGHAYEGH MORADIAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

JAN. 9 | TORONTOThe crash of Flight 752 – which was shot down by Iranian forces not long after takeoff – killed dozens of Canadians and prompted candlelight vigils across the country.

JAN. 9 | WET'SUWET'EN NATION, NORTHERN B.C. Supporters of Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs set up a canvas tent along a remote logging road near Houston, B.C. The road leads to a crucial bridge where barricades were erected to protest Coastal GasLink's natural gas pipeline project, which crosses unceded Wet'suwet'en traditional territory. Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs signed a memorandum of understanding in May to have the federal and B.C. governments recognize their Indigenous governance system, but the dispute over the 670-kilometre pipeline's ongoing construction remains unresolved. JIMMY JEONG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

FEB. 25 | TORONTO Protestors block a rail line in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in northern British Columbia, who are standing against a natural gas pipeline that would cross their territory. The blockades choked rail traffic in Ontario and Quebec.

FEB. 17 | TABER, ALTA. The federal government announced it would spend $1.7-billion to clean up orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C., creating upwards of 5,000 jobs in Alberta alone, which has roughly 95,000 inactive and 69,000 abandoned wells like this one, on Zorka Millo's farm near Taber.


MARCH 29 | BOBCAYGEON, ONT. A body is removed from the Pinecrest Nursing Home in this small town 150 kilometres northeast of Toronto. No one knows how the coronavirus found its way inside in mid-March, but within two weeks, nearly half the residents had died of COVID-19, and dozens more residents and workers were infected.

MARCH 19 | WINDSOR, N.S. Stella Anthony used to visit her husband, Doug, three or four times a day at the Dykeland Lodge Nursing Home. When long-term care facilities closed their doors to visitors, hoping to keep out the coronavirus, Stella wept at the window, whispering, "I love you and I miss you" during a visit that lasted only minutes. DARREN CALABRESE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

MARCH 22 | TORONTO In normal times, this stretch of King Street West – the heart of the financial district – would be packed. But nearly five million Canadians are now working from home, leaving Toronto's towers dark.


There was an eerie stillness pervading Toronto's downtown core. Instead of making a record of empty streets, I tried to capture the mood of a basically deserted city, the sense of unknowingness people felt. I chose to use panoramic cameras to try to instill the feeling of distance and emptiness everyone was experiencing. – Fred Lum

MARCH 17 | OTTAWAA pedestrian wearing a mask make his way down Sparks Street. DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

APRIL 8 | VANCOUVER With churches closed and Easter just around the corner, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Parish set up an improvised outdoor confessional for parishioners in the parking lot, with a deacon taking confession from those in vehicles, and Father Nick Meisl taking walk-ins at a folding table, complete with a frosted privacy screen. DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

JUNE 24 | TORONTO Three months into the lockdown, customers are still lining up to get into grocery stores in order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. But the panic-buying that defined the early days of the pandemic, when toilet paper, flour and other essentials disappeared from store shelves, has largely abated.

MARCH | GATINEAU, QUE.Ottawa’s Museum of Nature shut down in mid-March (just before what should have been a busy March Break), along with its 20,400-square-metre research centre across the river in Quebec. The facility houses more than 99 per cent of the museum’s 14.6-million specimens, including the taxidermied remains of a grey wolf, two grizzlies and a muskox that bide their time in the Large Skeleton Room, along with crates of whale bones.

MARCH 16 | TORONTOIt's 9:25 a.m. on the first Monday of the lockdown. The intersection of King Street West and Bay Street is quiet with few commuters. FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

APRIL 24 | PORTAPIQUE, N.S. A homemade heart is silhouetted in the window of a house in memory of the victims of the worst mass killing in modern Canadian history. A gunman dressed as an RCMP officer murdered 22 people on a shooting and arson rampage that lasted from the night of April 18 until the early hours of April 19, raising questions about why the RCMP failed to alert residents the killer was still at large.

APRIL 24 | ENFIELD, N.S. RCMP officers console one another after an emotional moment of silence for RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and mother of two who was killed in the line of duty during the rampage through several rural communities in Nova Scotia. DARREN CALABRESE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

JUNE 26 | TRURO, N.S. Amelia McLeod is consoled by her mother, Jeannine Doiron Garrett, during her high school graduation ceremony, which included a tribute to her late father, Sean McLeod. He died alongside his 36-year-old partner, Alanna Jenkins, in a house fire set by the Portapique murderer, leaving behind two daughters and a two-year-old granddaughter. Amelia's classmate Emily Tuck, along with her parents, also died. The Cobequid Educational Centre ceremony was held at a farm due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Reporting this story has been devastating. I was one of the first on scene, with a few other reporters, to confirm the shooter was deceased. Five days later, our phones started blaring with emergency alerts reporting yet another active gunman outside Halifax. I stood crying on the roadside with a colleague before deciding to go home to my scared wife and kids, and that's when I passed the farmhouse. This year has presented incredible hardship for us all, but nowhere has a community's core been so profoundly shaken. Like most rural communities, however, there remains great resilience and tenderness. – Darren Calabrese

MAY | TORONTOThe cherry blossoms in High Park usually draw thousands of visitors hungry for signs of spring. But this year, the park is closed down to prevent crowds from gathering and potentially spreading the coronavirus.

APRIL | HALIFAX The photographer’s daughters, Harriet, 6, and June, 3, watch from their front porch as people line up on the sidewalk – at a distance – to get food from a mobile delivery service.

JUNE 16 | TORONTO Andrea Sergeant tries on a graduation cap after winning the award for "most likely to become an Olympic athlete" at a small virtual party with teachers and students. Ms. Sergeant planned to attend York University for psychology in the fall, where the majority of her courses were expected to be online.

APRIL 20 | VANCOUVER With so many businesses on Granville Street closed due to the pandemic (and many of them shut down for good), artist Will Phillips makes the most of the blank canvas. "When you see everything boarded up, it makes you feel like the world is going to end," he says. "But if you see art everywhere, it gives you the perception that this is a different moment and that people are still living."

MAY 28 | TORONTO A week after Trinity Bellwoods Park was jammed with groups of sun-seekers ignoring physical distancing rules, the city painted eight-foot circles on the grass to help stir-crazy visitors keep their distance.

JUNE 2 | TORONTO Neighbours convene at 7:30 each night to show support for residents of the Elm Grove Living Centre, a long-term care home in Parkdale that saw 12 COVID deaths in mid-April and 119 positive cases.

MAY 7 | TORONTO The photographer keeps her kids Sebastien, Odessa and Senna, busy outside. With schools, camps and daycares closed, parents – mostly moms – were thrust into the role of caregivers, even as they juggled full-time jobs. Between February and October, more than 20,000 Canadian women left the workforce, according to RBC, largely due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, 68,000 men joined the workforce over the same period.

JULY 31 | CALGARY On a day when Alberta recorded 513 new cases of COVID-19, patrons enjoy a meal inside pop-up garden globes at Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant. LEAH HENNEL/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

AUG. 17 | TORONTO Toronto Raptors fans gather at Ontario Place for a drive-in viewing party of Game 1 of the playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. The Raps would go on to sweep the Nets in four (though they lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the semifinals). YADER GUZMAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

AUG. 14 | REGINA Fans take to their balconies for a rooftop concert by Saskatchewan band The Sheepdogs.

MAY | MONTREAL Alex Montagano (shown here with neighbour Sharon Pearce-Anderson) built this "Hugging Station" so he could embrace family members amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

SEPT. 10 | TORONTO It was a quiet opening day for the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, with just a smattering of masked patrons attending a screening of Night of the Kings at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. TIFF is just one arts organization among hundreds across the country struggling to survive the shutdown.

MARCH 20 | EDMONTON It's two weeks before Easter, and Candace Cook and her 11-year-old son, Nathan, show off their collection of Ukrainian Easter eggs, or pysanky. Cook is undergoing chemotherapy, which means her immune system is compromised, making her more vulnerable to the virus. AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

OCT. 15 | SASKATOON Schroh Arena is home to the city’s 50- and 60-plus leagues, a demographic that’s highly susceptible to the virus. Richard Hofferd cleans the men's dressing room with disinfectant, as part of the league's plan to keep the rinks running this fall.

JULY 9 | TORONTO Before and after: Alex Him got a haircut on the day the city moved into stage 2 of the provincial re-opening.

JULY 25 | TORONTO Peter Korchinski is overcome with emotion at a memorial for his daughter, Regis Korchinski-Paquet. The 29-year-old Black and Indigenous woman fell from her balcony on May 27 after police were called to her apartment during a mental health crisis, sparking further calls to cut police funding.

MAY 29 | OAKLAND, CALIF. A demonstrator shouts at police while holding up a cellphone photo of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 by an officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. "This is George Floyd!" the protester shouts. "Do you see him?" SARAHBETH MANEY

JUNE 19 | TORONTO As part of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in May, artist and activist Syrus Marcus Ware helps paint 'DEFUND THE POLICE' on the street outside Toronto Police headquarters. BLM Toronto is also calling to cut funding for prisons, immigration detention centres, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency.


In the wake of George Floyd's killing, it was incredible to see the words BLACK LIVES MATTER painted in bright yellow in front of the White House. When I received a tip that BLM Toronto would be painting the street in front of police headquarters, I wanted to document it. Activists, artists and other eager Torontonians stepped in to block traffic. A ring of people with linked arms protected artists armed with chalk and measuring tape, who began stencilling letters. Buckets of paint were handed out from an unmarked van, and rollers dripping in bright pink hit the street. As quickly as it had begun, it was over, and the words DEFUND THE POLICE were left in large pink letters that could be seen from the surrounding towers. – Solana Cain

JUNE | PICKERING, ONT. Marjory Robert holds a candle and a photo of her late husband, Gilles, 78, who died from COVID-19 at the Orchard Villa long-term care facility in April. He was one of 78 residents to die at the home, making it one of the hardest hit in Ontario. The candlelight vigil was organized by the families of Orchard Villa residents to commemorate Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

JULY | TORONTO Tiffany Fung, who works with the Midwifery and Toronto Community Health (MATCH) Program at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, dons personal protective equipment as she gets ready for a home visit with a client who’s either COVID-19-positive or suspected of having the virus. MATCH was created to reach those who wouldn’t normally have access to midwife care – some 60 per cent of her clients are living in the shelter system. In order for her to take on the risks associated with her work during COVID-19, Fung and her partner sent their two children, aged four and six, to live with their grandparents three hours outside Toronto for three weeks each month. CHLOË ELLINGSON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

OCTOBER | TORONTO Social worker Laurel Franks brings a cup of water to 92-year-old patient Onofrio Suppa inside the the COVID-19 unit at Toronto Western. COLE BURSTON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

NOV. 4 | TORONTO This pop-up COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Scarborough's Milliken Park Community Recreation Centre is part of an effort to increase testing among hard-hit communities with high proportions of new immigrants, racialized residents and people living in poverty.


Nurses gathered in a community centre change room, a soft morning light on their gowns. The usual sounds – the laughter of kids, the thud of basketballs – was missing. Like so much of the city, the coronavirus had transformed the space. As the hours passed, a stream of patients filed in, learning if they, too, had been infected by the virus. – Cole Burston

SEPT. 3 | GATINEAU, QUE. Students in Quebec were the first in Canada to return to school after the extended summer break. Grade 4 students – who aren't required to wear masks – sit on logs in a tent set up as an outdoor classroom at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School. JUSTIN TANG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SEPT. 18 | TORONTO Momir Lovric, a server at Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality's Maison Selby, disinfects surfaces after the latest seating. In just a couple of weeks, indoor dining would once again be banned to help slow the second wave of COVID-19. More than 140 bars and restaurants – and countless other small businesses – have shut down since the start of the pandemic in Toronto alone. CHRISTOPHER KATSAROV/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

OCTOBER | FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATIONAs the second wave of COVID-19 intensifies, and with Halloween on the way, Tammy Bannon has painted her front window with "This year is Boo-Sheet." Bannon came across the idea on the internet and thought it might help lift the spirits of her neighbours. DAVID JACKSON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

OCT. 26 | FREEMANSBURG, PENN. Freemansburg is part of Northampton County – a swing county in a swing state that's crucial in this dead-heat presidential election. In the end, it would be more of a blowout, with Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris – the first female, Black and South Asian vice-presidential candidate in U.S. history – winning the popular vote by 6.9 million and taking 306 electoral college votes (including Pennsylvania) to Trump's 232.

OCT. 20 | ST. MARY'S BAY, N.S. Mi'kmaq lobster fishermen from the Sipekne'katik First Nation (from left to right: Andrew Robinson, Nikita Paul, Levi Paul Sr., Evan Dennis and Kaitlin Marr) exercise their treaty right to earn a moderate livelihood. The move provoked violence and vandalism against the Mi'kmaq by white fishers who dispute their constitutional right to fish outside the federally regulated season.

OCT. 27 | NESKANTAGA FIRST NATION, ONT. This fly-in community in northern Ontario has been under a boil-water advisory for 25 years, forcing residents to drink bottled water flown in from Thunder Bay. In October, community members were evacuated after an oily sheen appeared in the reservoir. Some 90 long-term boil-water advisories have been lifted since 2015, but another 59 are still in effect, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hinted the pandemic would derail the Liberals' self-imposed deadline of March, 2021, to lift them all.

OCT. 7 | VANCOUVER In a sign of the economic calamity wrought by COVID-19, this homeless encampment, which first sprang up in the summer, now includes 400 tents and hundreds of residents, including Corwin Lumley. Locals have been demanding the city find the campers homes, amid concerns about the spread of the virus in such tight quarters. DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

OCT. 20 | WAUZHUSHK ONIGUM NATION, KENORA, ONT. A scene of resilience: the photographer's daughter Clairen listens to instructions from her teacher while attending virtual classes. ZACHARY SKEAD/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL

DECEMBER | TORONTO Tamara Rumsey, a registered pharmacy technician, draws the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine – the first vaccine to gain approval from Health Canada – from a vial at a University Health Network pilot site.

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