Announcing 2023 Canadian Wildlife competition

Under the midnight sun, an Arctic fox in its summer coat trots across the tundra with agility. Nesting material in tow, a northern gannet returns to its dense colony. A party of sea kayakers has drawn the interest of a raft of inquisitive sea otters that are bobbing in the Pacific waters off the western coast of Vancouver Island.

Announcing the winners of the 2023 Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year competition


The stunning biodiversity of this nation as well as the skill of our photography community are both shown in the winning photos of Canadian Geographic’s 2023 Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year competition. We are happy to name one photographer as the winner of this edition of our most well-liked photography competition, whose work stood out among the more than 14,000 entries: Our Canadian Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Jean-Christophe Lemay, is the recipient of the $5,000 main award.
Announcing 2023 Canadian Wildlife competition continue reading to find out more about Lemay and view the images that most pleased our judges, which included Canadian Geographic’s editorial team, head of marketing and creative Javier Frutos, and wildlife photographers Michelle Valberg and Ryan Tidman.

Canadian Wildlife Photographer of the Year

On September 30, 2019, Jean-Christophe Lemay was on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, high in the Chic-Choc mountains, as dawn broke. His opportunity to witness the Gaspé caribou herd was fleeting, as the region closed for the mating season. Lemay saw something startling as the sun rose: 14 caribou, or about half of the Gaspé population at the time, were all around him. Lemay recalls, “I shot videos, took pictures, and just enjoyed the moment for six or seven hours.” It was so bizarre that I was unable to leave. It was, I believe, my favorite day spent in the great outdoors.

The 32-year-old wildlife photographer, who was reared in L’Orignal, Ontario, after being born in Ottawa, still finds great joy in that memories. Lemay has always been moved by the breathtaking scenery that encircles Rimouski, Quebec, where he has lived since 2010 while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology. However, the water was his initial photographic love rather than wildlife. In his youth, Lemay went on summer surfing expeditions to the east coast of the United States, where he honed his skills by using his first camera, a small waterproof Pentax W80, to take pictures of waves and surfers.

His love of nature increased while he was an undergraduate. Although the St. Lawrence River’s waves were unphotographable during the icy Rimouski winters, there was no shortage of animal subjects for his research. According to Lemay, “I believe that foxes are the animal that I have photographed the most.” They are lovable, ubiquitous, and attractive in photos. But the Canada is my fave. Lily. These animals are simply breathtakingly gorgeous and enigmatic. It’s a little challenging because they’re also quite evasive.

Since then, Lemay’s ethereal wildlife pictures have been featured in publications as Beside, Canadian Geographic, and Nature Sauvage. He has also gained a sizable social media following. Lemay established JC Lemay Photo, his first store and gallery, in Rimouski in June. Lemay has a straightforward vision for the future: “It’s a huge privilege to be doing this as a full-time career.” All I want to do is carry on like this forever.

Terrestrial Life


Walking across the tundra on Bylot Island, Nunavut, is an Arctic fox. The photographer, who studied the habits and preferred habitats of the foxes while spending three months camped out in Sirmilik National Park, noted that this particular fox was especially bold and inquisitive.

Runner-up: Jean-Simon Bégin


The photographer saw a pine marten chasing a hare while tracking lynx tracks in a northern Ontario woodland. He quickly took this picture of the marten ferociously pursuing its victim.

Things With Wings


A northern gannet brings nesting materials back to its colony on Île Bonaventure in Quebec. More than 200,000 breeding birds spend the summer on this small island off the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, including a raucous colony of gannets.

Runner-up: Mary Madden

Near Kamloops, British Columbia, three fledgling great grey owls perch on a mossy branch. Great Grey Owls can lay up to five eggs when food is plentiful; the young owls begin to crawl out of the nest after approximately a month and take to the air one to two weeks after that.

Aquatic Life


Off the western coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a party of sea kayakers, including the photographer, are being observed by a raft of inquisitive sea otters. Following their near-complete eradication by fur traffickers during the 1800s, sea otter populations in British Columbia have recovered thanks to a reintroduction initiative.

Runner-up: Eli Wolpin

At God’s Pocket Marine Provincial Park, off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, an anemone blooms in a shallow kelp forest. Underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau ranked Browning Passage, where this photo was taken, as one of the world’s top cold-water diving locations.

Honourable mentions


This rough-skinned newt is crawling over a mushroom in Delta, British Columbia. Rough-skinned newts are common along the British Columbian coast. They are quite lethal when eaten, but garter snakes have developed a resistance to the toxin in what scientists have called a “evolutionary arms race.”

Brandon Broderick


On the Skeena River in British Columbia, gulls quarrel over oolichan. Little fish that resemble smelts called oolichan spawn in the springtime in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, providing a pleasant meal for both people and animals after a hard winter.

Alex McKerracher


At the Robert Edmondson Conservation Area in Moffat, Ontario, a bronze jumping spider peers over the edge of an autumn maple leaf. Like other spiders, bronze jumpers are important pest controllers wherever they are found because they can eat almost anything that fits in their mouths.

Eric R. Smith


On a cold winter’s day near Penhold, Alberta, a white-tailed jackrabbit seeks refuge in a snow burrow but is unable to break free from the hoar frost that adheres to its whiskers. The temperature hovers around -20C.

Audrey Carpentier


On a cold winter’s day near Penhold, Alberta, a white-tailed jackrabbit seeks refuge in a snow burrow but is unable to break free from the hoar frost that adheres to its whiskers. The temperature hovers around -20C.


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