People & Culture

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Canadian Photos of the Year competition

Canadian Geographic is proud to recognize 13 outstanding photographers who captured some of the best images of 2022

  • Jan 13, 2023
  • 830 words
  • 4 minutes
A lynx peers intently out from spring foliage in northern Ontario. (Photo: Alan Poelman)
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A Canada lynx stares intently out from spring foliage in northern Ontario. A red fox, framed by a rainbow, creeps down a rocky slope. A long exposure of waves crashing against the red rocks of the Prince Edward Island coast lends a contemplative feel to a photo of a now-vanished landmark. The winning images in Canadian Geographic’s 2022 Canadian Photos of the Year competition are a testament to that perfect combination of timing, skill and luck that produces an unforgettable photo. Canadian Geographic is pleased to award Alan Poelman of Atikokan, Ont. the grand prize of $5,000 and the prestigious title of Canadian Photographer of the Year. Read on to learn more about Poelman and see all the images that most impressed our judges: wildlife photographer Mark Raycroft, Photographer-in-Residence Scott Forsyth, and Weather Network personality Kim MacDonald.

Canadian Photographer of the Year 2022

Alan Poelman

Alan Poelman captured this photo of a ground squirrel while on assignment with Tourism Saskatchewan in Grasslands National Park. (Photo: Alan Poelman)
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Alan Poelman vividly remembers the moment he knew he had captured his “bucket list” shot. He was driving down a dirt road near his hometown of Atikokan, Ont., in the spring of 2022 when a Canada lynx suddenly loped across the road. Although lynx are normally skittish, Poelman had a hunch the animal would be hiding in the brush at the side of the road, so he pulled over and laid on his stomach in the dirt. Sure enough, the lynx sat quietly for several minutes, giving Poelman the shot of a lifetime. “I never thought I’d get a portrait of a lynx looking right back at me,” the 38-year-old photographer says. “They’re wonderful looking animals.”

Poelman’s first camera was a point-and-shoot digital camera that he would use to take pictures of family, friends and his golden retriever, Bond, plus the occasional nature scene at his family’s cabin on Turtle Lake. It wasn’t until a few years ago, while studying social work at Algoma University, that he began to take photography seriously as a hobby. “During my education, I had a friend who would encourage going out on hikes and taking pictures of the surrounding Lake Superior landscapes. I started to notice the [mental health] benefits of getting outdoors and photography,” Poelman explains. It’s now something he recommends to clients to help foster mindfulness.

Poelman found support on Instagram, amassing an extensive community of followers who appreciate his eye for symmetry and duality (his account, @alftown, references both his own name and the alien of 80s television fame). His work also caught the attention of the tourism boards of Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which invited him to capture and share some of the most iconic landscapes in those provinces. This year, he hopes to visit Canada’s east coast for the first time, experiment with more drone photography, and perhaps nab his next “bucket list” shot, a wolf in the wild.

“My dad was driving down the highway a couple of weeks ago and he passed a wild wolf, just staring at him,” he chuckles. “Maybe one day.”

Wildlife in Action

Winner: Jean-Simon Bégin

A red fox creeps down a rocky slope under dramatic evening skies on Newfoundland’s eastern coast.

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Runner-up: Charles Dion

A hooded merganser preens at Kingsbury Marsh in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

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Honourable mention: Norrie Franko

Muskoxen huddle together on a windy ridge in a bid to keep the summer blackflies at bay near Wolf Lake Camp in Nunavik in far northern Quebec.

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Epic Landscapes

Winner: Jeremy Klager

A 260-second exposure lends a dreamlike quality to this photo of waves crashing against the red rocks of Thunder Cove Beach on Prince Edward Island. The formations include the iconic “Teacup Rock,” which was washed away by Hurricane Fiona just a few weeks later.

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Runner-up: Brandon Broderick

British Columbia’s Nass River is seen from above at low tide near the Nisga’a Village of Ging̱olx.

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Honourable mention: Lisa Bourgeault

Bow Peak is reflected in the glacier-fed waters of Bow Lake on a misty morning in Banff National Park, Alta.

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City Life

Winner: David Paul

A construction worker trudges through falling snow on a mid-winter morning in Toronto.

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Runner-up: Gabor Dosa

Fans of the UBC Thunderbirds cheer for their home team at the season opener against the Alberta Golden Bears in Vancouver.

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Honourable mention: Justin Jasmins

Crowds flock to the neon lights of the midway on a summer night at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

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Weather, Seasons and Sky

Winner: Jeff Wizniak

Cumulonimbus clouds tower above a tornado on the ground near Blaine Lake, Sask., in July 2022. The tornado, which caused some damage in the area, was later rated an EF2.

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Runner-up: Adrian Yu

Only the tallest buildings in Toronto are visible above a layer of dense fog in this drone shot taken on an autumn evening.

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Honourable mention: Adam Coish

The pier at Port Stanley, Ont., is wrapped in gnarled fingers of ice created by the spray from Lake Erie during a powerful winter storm in December 2022.

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