Breathing Space Archives

We asked the UCalgary community to send us photos that tell a story from their lives during this time of physical distancing — they delivered.

What do your socially distant days look like? Share a photo of a view that gives you room to breathe; an activity you've taken up; or a random act of kindness spotted in your neighbourhood. Send, with caption, to and we'll be in touch!

We had a particularly lovely sunset a few days ago on campus, and I drew a melancholy Dino on it as I felt it captured the mood quite nicely.

Mika Agayeva

Third-year student, BSc, Department of Psychology


You can see my makeshift weight area over my shoulder near door — missing the campus gym badly!

Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, PhD, assoc. prof., Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

He participated in an online talk about how changes in DNA can lead to improved cancer treatment.


Each morning, the natural light opens my home office to a paradox of monotonous business meetings in the heart of home. The spruce trees frame a stunning view of downtown.

Jim Dewald

Dean of the Haskayne School of Business


I’m telling you boss, these numbers just don’t add up!

Lucy the dog — Lucy's owner is Boglarka Soos

PhD student in Community Health Sciences and Data Manager in the Department of Family Medicine


This beautiful rainbow, across the street from my home, was an awe-moment and a message of hope. I reflected on how it takes both the sun and the rain to create the brilliant colour. Now that is the spirit of cooperation … together we can!

Jacqueline Smith, PhD, RN

Director of Mental Health & Wellness & Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing


Fresh flowers have always been an important part of my home and these past few months have not changed that. They brighten up the space and add beauty when there is uncertainty.

Margaret Kangas

Third-year student, Schulich School of Engineering


I started with backyard birdwatching. Wildlife watching got exciting when a skunk took up residence, and was elevated to new heights when the moose strolled down the back lane.

Elizabeth Henderson, CMM, MBA, MEDes, BSc, BA

Associate Director, Community Engagement, HSB


My daily neighbourhood walks are brightened each day by ingenious socially-distanced communications between neighbours.

Kim Lenters, Associate Dean (Student), Faculty of Graduate Studies

& Associate Professor (Language and Literacy), Werklund School of Education


It's a city's people who breathe life into it — their movement, the voices, their presence are all bright and necessary accessories to showcase the glass and concrete landscape. To see these same structures bare and empty is entirely odd, and even a bit disconcerting.

Christy Turner

Analyst, Technical Business, UCalgary


It’s delightful to come across these stones painted with inspirational quotes when walking my dog. There is quite a collection scattered throughout my neighbourhood and yet no two are the same.

Lois Epp, Advancement Communications

Owner of Oscar, who is old, shuffles when he walks and leaves no stone unturned


During his quarantine, Eddie always makes sure to stay busy and fit as he's a big fan of carbohydrates and sugar, much like his owners.

Eric Hilbrecht

Heavy Equipment Technician, Grounds department


Just beyond the city’s edge in all directions lie networks of country roads that provide cyclists blue skies, fresh air and unobstructed views of a prairie landscape ... Rides can provide mental health breaks that vary from a few minutes to hours.

Leland (Lee) J. Jackson

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental Design


Not the worst time for an 11-year-old to break his arm — he's not alone in missing out on soccer, swimming, etc. Only downside is not getting to show it off at school.

Jacquie Moore, BA'97, Senior Writer, Communications, Office of Advancement

Jacquie's son, Leo, broke his arm while climbing a pole for fun in a parking lot. Desperate times.


It seems like a time when our inner journey and our outer journey are somehow converging.

David Lertzman, Ph.D

Assistant professor, Haskayne School of Business, co-chairs Haskayne Adventure Leadership program

This year’s garden cleanup has lost any edge of drudgery — outdoor space, kneeling next to beds of dried fall leaves crumbling between rubbing hands, and chionodoxa waiting patiently for their reveal.

Anne Flynn

Professor Emerita, Dance, UCalgary & Immediate Past-President, Dance Studies Association


Take care of yourselves, take care of your children, and thank you for all that you’re doing.

Dianne Gereluk

Dean and Professor, Werklund School of Education

From home, we have views of the mountains and the Mormon temple. Every evening brings a set of varied and stunning scenes as the evening progresses and night descends. It's a nice end to the days, especially during these interesting times.

Dr. Baljit Singh

Dean and Professor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UCalgary


My husband, Robert, and I have never been more grateful for our backyard: we’re set up for brief visits from one or two family and friends at a time, 10 feet apart. I miss hugging them but so happy to re-connect with great outdoor chats.

Val Fortney, BA, ‘86


Social distancing has created more space for me as a writer. I’m finally able to lose myself in my poker parenting memoir, delving into my past selves through journals, magazines, letters, photos — and yes, even old drafts of university papers.

Shelley Youngblut

BA'85, CEO & Creative Ringleader, Wordfest


Fighting COVID-19 from home base with a little background music

Dr. Ian Lewis

Assistant professor, AIHS Chair in Translational Health - Metabolomics, Biochemistry


Four times a week I run with Finn, who belongs to medical resident. There are 100 medical, nursing and other student volunteers helping hospital staff right now while our clinical learning is on hold — we're so happy to help!

Moss Bruton Joe

Cumming School of Medicine student


This week marked one year since the passing of our friend Dave Treadway, an adventurer and outdoorsman. Across Canada his friends and family went camping to mark this anniversary. Most camped in their back yards. We settled for the living room. If you can’t go out to the mountains, bring the mountains to you!

Sean Hedley, dad to (from left) Harvey, Mary & Francis

Grandparents are Werklund student Leslie Hedley and UCalgary News editor David Hedley


I was supposed to embark on a national book tour this month for my new novel, The Subtweet. I had reservations about pivoting to a virtual tour but, after making six 'stops' this week from Vancouver to Toronto — from home here in Calgary — I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is possible to have meaningful engagement with these events online.

Vivek Shraya

Assistant professor, Department of English, Faculty of Arts


I'm getting used to the new reality of wearing 'way more gear' in the operating room during this COVID-19 pandemic. It makes me feel privileged to work at the Alberta Children's Hospital with all my colleagues and patients and families of Alberta. We are all in this together!

Dr. Nivez Rasic, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Cumming School of Medicine & AB Children's Hospital Research Institute


I needed to be on campus today and I brought along my camera. In my 38 years at UCalgary, I have never seen the campus so desolate and empty. But, on the bright side, the birds felt free to take advantage. I managed, in my brief walk to capture the first robin I have seen this spring.

Dr. Hank Stam, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Arts


I feel a little bit lost dancing alone. The biggest challenge to keep up my stretching and exercise routine going so I'm ready to dance when our world goes back to normal. I miss my teachers and I can't wait to see them in the studio again.

Llola Pirri, age 13, is a student at Airborne Dance Studio