Social distancing just got a whole lot more wholesome. Across the country, Canadians are adapting to a totally different way of life, and the huge change in our social lives means that some days are harder than others. However, motivational chalk messages in Ottawa have been popping up on pavements, sidewalks and driveways, and they’re so heartwarming it almost hurts!

As Canadians across the country continue to practice social distancing, and as many of our workers continue to risk their health, people in Ottawa have been sharing their appreciation for those on the front line.

From health care workers, to police officers and retail staff, Ottawans are sharing the love, and they're doing it with bright colours and outdoor chalk!

One Ottawa local is using her specific art skills to decorate the city's sidewalks and pavements with love and positivity.

Speaking to Narcity on Monday, mural artist and art teacher Becca Courtice explained that she's trying to make Ottawa smile again, using her street art and bright messages.

"I was just getting overwhelmed with the amount of negativity and anxiety-inducing news spreading around social media, and I had an urge to head outside and write a positive message for my neighbourhood," she said.

"I thought maybe that original message, 'We're all in this together,' would help people feel a little less alone. Then after seeing how many people loved that first one, I just kept going."

If you're looking for some heartwarming news today, you just found it!

The positive feedback was instantaneous, says Courtice.

“I could see people stopping to read them, smiling, and even taking photos of them. I talked to a lot of neighbours passing by while I was doing them each day, too, who thanked me for giving them their daily dose of positivity on their walks.”

“Just in the few days I started doing these, I met more of my neighbours than I ever had in over 2 years of living here. It's crazy how being forced apart can actually really bring people together,” she added.

However, despite the amazing reaction, the artist soon realized there is such thing as too much of a good thing!

“I started realizing that my artwork was actually causing little mini social gatherings– people were stopping to see the pieces and standing around too close to each other, so I felt a little bit of responsibility to stop encouraging that.” 

Instead, she’s taken the art to her street-facing windows. “My neighbours can look up and see a message in my window, but I can do it from inside my own home,” Courtice explained.

“I'm encouraging others to do this as well, and even put a tutorial on my YouTube channel showing how to DIY your own window art.”

Across social media, residents of the capital have also been sharing pictures of their own driveways, as well as public sidewalks and displays, which show love and appreciation for those who deserve it most right now.

Written in chalk across Ottawa's sidewalk are messages like, "Hope is stronger than fear," and "We're all in this together."

One particularly sweet note reads, "Big shoutout to the scientists, health care workers, janitors, grocery & drug store workers."

While Vancouverites applaud health care workers every night, and Torontonians sing on their balconies to keep spirits high, it seems Ottawans have come up with their very own way of showing solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing never looked so bright, colourful and chalky! 

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