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Fundraising begins for burned out SPCA in Aylmer where 70 animals died





The Aylmer SPCA didn’t survive a fire, July 03, 2018. Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia 129531

Jean Levac / Postmedia News

The SPCA of Western Quebec confirmed Wednesday that more than 70 animals perished in the fire that burned the Aylmer shelter to the ground late Monday night.

“To say that the last 30 hours have been difficult and devastating is an understatement. There are simply no words to describe our incredible loss and sadness,” the organization said in a news release.

Six dogs were rescued by firefighters and taken into the care of the SPCA de l’Outaouais. The assistant director at the shelter — unaffiliated with the SPCA of Western Quebec — reported Tuesday that the dogs were shaken but otherwise unharmed.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. The loss has been set at almost $600,000.

Just before 11 p.m. Monday, people driving in the area saw flames shooting from the building at 659 rue Auguste Mondoux, near the intersection of chemin Pink and chemin Vanier. It was brought under control by 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, but the two-storey structure was destroyed.

The SPCA of Western Quebec has asked anyone with an inquiry about a pet adopted from the shelter or an animal they were considering adopting before the fire to email

It thanked those from across Canada and the United States who had reached out with offers of support.

“We do see each of your posts, but are not in a position to respond at this time. We ask that you be patient with us, as we are focusing our efforts on caring for the animals who survived and those who remain in foster homes.”

Fundraising efforts have begun to help rebuild the animal shelter. The SPCA of Western Quebec is a non-profit organization, funded only by adoption fees and donations.

The Fire Fundraiser for Furry Friends will be held Sunday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Carleton Place. A Facebook page dedicated to the effort says organizers are “welcoming the entire Ottawa pet community for a SUNDAY FUNDAY FUNdraiser at our Carleton Place Waterfront Location, South Shore Landing Inc. to SUPport the SPCA in Quebec who had a devastating fire on Monday night.”

A GoFundMe campaign has also been created. The campaign administrator, Samantha Rock, set a $100,000 goal. In one day, $4,644 had been raised by 104 donors.

“As an animal lover myself I started this campaign in hopes to raise money so we can rebuild this SPCA,” said Rock in a statement on the GoFundMe page. “100 per cent of donations will be made to the SPCA of western Quebec.”

The shelter is also accepting direct donations — monetary only at this time. These can be made to (which will issue donors a tax receipt), via PayPal at or directly to via  PayPal.

The organization said it will provide more information in the coming days about how to donate materials such as food, toys and crates.

“It will take us some time to rebuild, but we will do everything we can to make that happen,” it vowed.

The SPCA of Western Quebec, a no-kill shelter, has been operating for 30 years.

With files from Taylor Blewett




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Ottawa unveils funding for poultry and egg farmers hurt by free-trade deals





Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share due to two recent free-trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada’s agriculture minister announced Saturday.

Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference.

“Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow,” she said.

The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free-trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.

The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.

But on Saturday, Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years — beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.

Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year.

Payments based on formulas

David Wiens, vice-president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future.

“I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on,” he said.

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Employee of Ottawa Metro store tests positive for COVID-19





Metro says an employee of its grocery store on Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa has tested positive for COVID-19.

The company says the employee’s positive test result was reported on Nov. 25. The employee had last been at work at the Metro at 50 Beechwood Ave. on Nov. 19.

Earlier this month, Metro reported several cases of COVID-19 at its warehouse on Old Innes Road.

Positive test results were reported on Nov. 2, Nov. 6, Nov. 11, and Nov. 19. The first two employees worked at the produce warehouse at 1184 Old Innes Rd. The other two worked at the distribution centre at the same address.

Metro lists cases of COVID-19 in employees of its stores and warehouses on its website

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Tinseltown: Where 50-year-old ‘tough guys’ become youngsters again





Audy Czigler wears glitter like a Pennsylvania miner wears coal dust. It’s on his face and hands, in his hair and on his clothing. It’s an occupational hazard that he says he just can’t get rid of.

And when he’s sifting through job applications from people wanting to work at his Tinseltown Christmas Emporium on Somerset Street W. in Hintonburg, the glitter is a consideration. For he’s not looking for people who can simply endure it; no, he’s screening for people who revel and carouse in glitter, for those for whom the 10,000th playing of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is as refreshing as the first, for those who believe that the 12 days of Christmas last 365 days a year. The believers.

Sure, he has heard the voices of skeptical passersby on the sidewalk outside his shop, especially in the summer months when visions of sugarplums have receded from many people’s minds.

“I hear them out there a few times a day,” he says, “wondering how a Christmas store can possibly survive year-round.

“I want to go out and tell them,” he adds, but his voice trails off as a customer approaches and asks about an ornament she saw there recently, of a red cardinal in a white heart. Where is it?

There’s scant room for sidewalk skeptics now, crowded out by the dozens of shoppers who, since October, have regularly lined up outside the store, patiently biding their time (and flocks) as pandemic-induced regulations limit the shop to 18 customers at a time.

Once inside, visitors will be forgiven for not first noticing the glitter, or even the rendition of Baby, It’s Cold Outside playing on the speakers. For there’s no specific “first thing” you notice. The first thing you notice is EVERYTHING — a floor-to-ceiling cornucopia of festivity, reminiscent perhaps of how the blind man in the Gospel of John may have felt when Jesus rubbed spit and mud in his eyes and gave him sight for the first time.

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