The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
Get our free newsletter
Sign Up
Photo Essays

‘Inside Stanley Park, It Doesn’t Feel like a Pandemic Anymore’

Felipe Fittipaldi had just moved to Vancouver when COVID-19 hit. He found refuge within the trees.

Paloma Pacheco 28 Jun 2020 |

Paloma Pacheco is a Vancouver-based freelance writer and a graduate student at UBC’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media. She is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

When Brazilian photojournalist Felipe Fittipaldi moved to Vancouver in late January, he was ready for anything except a pandemic.

“I didn’t know much about Vancouver yet,” says the Rio de Janeiro native. “Then, only a few weeks later, I found myself stuck at home.”

The lockdown quickly put a damper on his plans to explore the city. Luckily, Fittipaldi and his partner had chosen to settle in the West End, a neighbourhood that provided them ample opportunity to get outdoors safely.

Stanley Park soon became a daily haven. “You can see it from our window,” said Fittipaldi. “It became kind of like my refuge outside my home. It was the safest place to go outside.”

The photographer began documenting his walks through the park’s forest — the way the sunlight would hit the trees at a particular hour of the afternoon, the eerie silence of a once-bustling basketball court, other people also out on their own, finding quiet solace in the stillness of nature.

The resulting images capture a meditative slice of Vancouver’s early days with COVID-19. Fittipaldi spoke with The Tyee about the process and intention behind them. We’ve edited it for length and clarity.

851px version of FITTI_007.jpg
‘In the case of the basketball court, I play basketball there and they took off the hoop. They took it off because they didn’t want people to be playing team sports in the park. For me, it was hard… and I missed it a lot.’

Why did you choose to start photographing in the park?

Fittipaldi: I’m very into nature; it’s one of the reasons we moved close to Stanley Park, because I love to be in the woods. I travelled to New York not too long ago, and in Manhattan they have Central Park, which is great; it’s amazing to have that big park in the middle of the city. But Stanley Park is different from Central Park, because as you get to the centre you don’t feel like you’re in the city anymore, and you’re still very close to downtown. For me, that was amazing. I’d never seen something like that in a big city.

Before the pandemic, Stanley Park was a place for exercise, for solace, but it was also a place for social interaction. There would be people in the grass, having barbecues, playing team sports and getting together for a beer. But during the pandemic Stanley Park was not a place for social interaction anymore. With all the social distance measures, they closed the cafes and the roads. So the park was, for us, in the beginning, a place for social interaction and to get to know people. And then, during the pandemic, it was more a place for solitude. To be on your own in the woods, to meditate, to be with yourself, to interact in a different way with the park, to make a connection with nature — at least that’s how it was for me. And when I started shooting, I could feel that other people were dealing with the park in the same way.

When you get inside Stanley Park, it doesn’t feel like a pandemic anymore. You can social distance from everybody else. You are free to walk without a mask because nobody’s around. You can get into the woods so deeply that it felt like an escape from the nightmare that we were living here in Vancouver, especially in the first weeks of the lockdown, when you would walk in the downtown streets and it was like a ghost city.

851px version of FITTI_003.jpg

Looking at the photo of the woman who is walking through the forest, off the path, with a mask on — it’s so striking because it’s something that is so odd, considering how life was before the pandemic. I feel like there is something about the photos that really speaks to this moment that we’re all living through.

That’s the main thing about the essay, I think, because it’s how I was feeling as well. My wife and I made plans to move here and we got here in the middle of this crazy pandemic. When I was in Stanley Park, it was a time that I was on my own; it was a time to think about things that normally you don’t have time in your daily life to think about. I would just go to Stanley Park and think about my life, my past, think about my future….

So that’s kind of the theme of solitude in the images, the contrasts, the feeling you have with the people on their own, it was intentional because it was the way I was feeling about the pandemic and how I was dealing with it. It helped me to process everything.

851px version of FITTI_009.jpg

Have you been continuing to visit the park over these last few weeks? What has changed?

Everything is changing now except for the roads [which are still partly closed to vehicles]. A lot of coffee shops and facilities are still closed but a lot of people are socializing — barbecues and stuff. The basketball court where I used to play reopened two weeks ago. It’s full of people now, everybody’s playing. We’ll have to see what happens — if we have a second round of the virus — but it seems like things are getting back to normal now.

Have you continued photographing now that things are opening up again?

No, for the last two weeks I haven’t been shooting. But if I see something interesting, then I’ll definitely take my camera and shoot it. I am still exploring the park; I haven’t seen every part of it yet. If I find something really interesting, I would like to expand the essay, even though we are in a totally different stage of the outbreak right now.

The photo essay is a very personal work. It’s not a journalistic work, but more personal, artistic. I think it’s about how important it is to have green space in urban areas, and the coronavirus pandemic is an amazing opportunity for us to think about that.

851px version of FITTI_010.jpg
‘It’s in the middle of the woods. There’s no trail to get there, you have to be lucky to find it. It’s been there for 30 years now. It’s amazing to come across something like this, it’s like finding a treasure in the middle of the forest.’
851px version of FITTI_004.jpg
851px version of FITTI_008.jpg
851px version of FITTI_006.jpg
851px version of FITTI_005.jpg
851px version of FITTI_001.jpg

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll