People & Places

The first 60 days: A photographic journal of a city in quarantine

First, the streets got quiet. With offices and schools closed and everyone urged to stay home to reduce community transmission of COVID-19, downtown Ottawa emptied of its usual activity.

A member of the media at the corner of O’Connor and Wellington streets gathers footage on March 22 for coverage of the federal government’s action plan for containing COVID-19. Photo by Tobin Grimshaw

Caution tape, normally associated with criminal activity or disaster, roped off any opportunities for human interaction or play.

Left: By March 19, OC Transpo had cordoned off the front of its buses to protect against transmission. Right: Ginny Grimshaw watches as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conducts his March 18 briefing. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw

We got pets, cheered on frontline workers, and began to cherish outdoor time.

Every trip outside brought relief and tension as residents welcomed the fresh air and navigated the pandemic. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw

 

 

We saw different styles of protective gear, a new appreciation for pets, and a pent-up desire to be outside. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw

On those rare occasions when we met face to face, new ways of socializing emerged — a safe distance now the respectful, and responsible, direction on which to err.

Friends gather outside their home on O’Connor Street while maintaining physical distance on Wednesday, April 1. Photo by Tobin Grimshaw

Long lineups, vacant LRT seats, and face shields at cash register counters marked our city with the stamp of COVID-19 and with it the unanswered question: when will things get back to normal?

Left: Pimisi station is abnormally quiet on April 10 as most city residents work from home. Right: A Plexiglas shield prevents transmission of the virus at a Quickie convenience store. By late March, a new respect for frontline workers had emerged and businesses we’re taking new measures to protect their staff. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw

As spring blossomed, we went outside to play, connecting with one another while keeping the space between us.

Left: Two girls wear protective masks on Tuesday, May 19. Right: While LCBO stores were allowed to remain open, rigorous sanitizing and limited capacity meant long lineups at Lansdowne Park. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw
Left: People are seen enjoying the Tulip Festival on Sunday, May 17. Right: Niamh Taylor dances in the street on Monday, May 18, two days after Ontario entered Stage 1 of reopening and easing regulations. Photos by Tobin Grimshaw
People take to the streets in the Glebe on Saturday, May 16 — the day that Ontario reopened private parks and campgrounds for day use. Photo by Tobin Grimshaw