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Toronto Star Photo department, good news and great pictures in the shortest month.

February, the shortest month did not leave the Toronto Star photo department short of good news or great pictures.

The Photo Department is now under the direction of a new Visuals Editor, Taras Slawnych. We are pretty excited about that.

We have also won four Society for News Design awards of excellence for photography. So before we get into the February highlights, here are the four winners:

LUCAS OLENIUK - A protestor, unconscious and not breathing, was rushed away from Bahraini security forces after being shot in the head moments earlier.  A group of Shiite anti-regime demonstrators drew fire from Bahrain security forces near Manama when they tried to march downtown to the Pearl Square from the town of Budaiya Friday evening.  A state sanctioned pro-regime rally was underway in downtown Manama when the clash occurred. Read about the story behind this image here!

RICK MADONIK - A man holds a knife to his own neck to show what he wants done to Libyan leader Muammar Ghadhafi as rebel fighters are greeted at the gates of Ras Lanuf after its liberation from Ghadafi forces. A rebel attack forced Gadhafi forces back towards Sirt. This is the first time the rebellion from the east has advanced into the western part of the country. See more of Rick's work in Libya here!

RANDY RISLING - When three-year-old Abdisalam Osman came to Benadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia from acute malnutrition, measles, and tuberculosis he was given a 50 percent chance of survival. 

AARON HARRIS - Performer Rebecca Fylyshtan practices 'Aquatika' at the Toronto School of Circus Arts in Toronto, Ontario, Thursday, August 18, 2011. Toronto School of Circus Arts has been instructing the general public in circus arts since 1999. Many of the instructors at T.S.C.A. have performed on stages around the world, in a variety of media streams including live shows, street festivals, and feature films. 



Best of February

RICK MADONIK - An eastbound VIA passenger trail derailed in Burlington Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, causing three reported deaths and numerous injuries. More from the VIA derailment

CARLOS OSORIO - A man consoles a woman on a Go bus near the site of the train drailment. A VIA Rail derailed in Burlington on February 26, 2012, near the intersection of Plains Rd. E. & King Rd.

BERNARD WEIL - The locomotive involved in the Via train crash is hoisted out of the ditch.

STEVE RUSSELL - A member of the media waits outside the Civic Ballroom at the Sheraton Centre downtown for a press conference as talks continue between the City and the CUPE 416 representing the outside workers.

ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE - A lone protestor leaves the University of Toronto enroute to a demonstration outside Queen's Park. Hundreds of college and university students rallied to demand lower tuition fees.

TARA WALTON - Toronto Zoo's newest polar bear plays in his enclosed viewing area Friday February 3, 2012.  The male cub was rejected by it mother following birth at the Toronto Zoo last October.  The zoo is inviting the public to participate in a name contest between February 2 and March 16.

DAVID COOPER - Love From Afar, the Canadian Opera Company's production at the Four Seasons Centre.

DAVID COOPER - Islander Kent Chapman brought his very own "deck chair" onto the ferry on the way to Toronto Island. He was given the chair and a matching couch by a friend and was bringing it home. 

KEITH BEATY - Men's jewelery

RICHARD LAUTENS - Kenneth Guy, 33, lost his job as a hotel front desk clerk in 2010 and was forced to go on welfare for the first time. He retrained last year as a cook and although it hasn't lead to a full-time job, the training helped him get his foot in the door at another hotel where he is now working part time as a waiter. He figures he earned about $5,000 last year, not enough to leave welfare completely.

STEVE RUSSELL - Zebras from O, a water-themed stage production by Cirque du Soleil that is currently playing in Las Vegas at the Bellagio perform on an Infiniti JX in the North Building at the Canadian International Auto show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. More from the Canadian International Auto Show

STEVE RUSSELL - Dressed like chauffers, a group waits to unveil the new Mini Cooper Goodwin, only 21 will be avaiable in Canada at the Canadian International Auto show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

STEVE RUSSELL - Linden MacIntyre reacts to a quip by Margaret Atwood at The Book Lover's Ball a Black-tie Gala featuring Celebrity Authors and Top Canadian Designers in Support of Toronto's Library.

RICK EGLINTON - Despite the threat of snow surfers were out in full force at Toronto's Ashbridges Bay. A surfer runs a wave precariously close to the rocky shoreline.

RICHARD LAUTENS - Canada's top hurdlers left to right, Perdita Felicien, Phylicia George and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, get together to talk about their high school track experiences and the upcoming Olympics at a press conference at the University of Toronto to promote a May 12 national high school track meet.

TARA WALTON - 92 year-old Wally Stanowski smokes his pipe while posing for photos in his Etobicoke home.  Wally is the oldest living Maple Leaf and last link to their Stanley Cup wins in early '40s. 

RICK MADONIK - The 1962 Leafs were honored before the game. Eddie Shack (left), Bobby Baun and George Armstrong sing along during as the national anthem prior to NHL action between Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals.

RICK EGLINTON - James Reimer and the Leafs practice before on the day of the NHL Trade Deadline.

RENE JOHNSTON - Montreal Canadiens' Rene Bourque checks Toronto Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel near the photographer's hole The Leafs lost 5-0. 

STEVE RUSSELL - James Reimer goaltends in a snow storm in second period action as the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Edmonton Oilers.

RICHARD LAUTENS - Leafs General Manager, Brian Burke watches practice.

RICHARD LAUTENS - Toronto Raptor forward Andrea Bargnani has been off the court with leg injuries. 

RENE JOHNSTON - Toronto Maple Leafs Nikolai Kulemin and Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty get tied up on the boards in the third period.

STEVE RUSSELL - Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon tells the referee that their still should be time on the clock, 0.3 seconds were added.

STEVE RUSSELL - New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sinks the winning three pointer over Jose Calderon with 0.5 seconds left in the game as the Toronto Raptors fall to the New York Knicks 90-87. See more LINsanity in Toronto here!

RICK EGLINTON - Raptors' Leandro Barbosa struggles to take control of the ball from Spurs' Manu Ginobili.

RENE JOHNSTON -  Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon gets into the armpit of Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics.

ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE - Toronto Rock Colin Doyle is pushed over by Philadelphia Wings John McFadyen, left, and Paul Dawson.

DAVID COOPER - Blue Jays left handed pitcher Ricky Romero throws from the mound on the field during work outs with the Blue Jays during spring training in Dunedin.

RICHARD LAUTENS - In second half action, after making a tough pass, Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon gets a knee courtesy of Detroit Pistons guard Walker Russell. The Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 103-93.



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