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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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City committee votes to name Sandy Hill Park after Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook





OTTAWA — Ottawa city councillors have voted to rename a Sandy Hill park after celebrated Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook.

The community and protective services committee approved a recommendation to rename the park at 240 Somerset Street East the “Annie Pootoogook Park.”

Pootoogook was an award-winning artist who lived in Ottawa. She died in 2016 at the age of 47 when she fell into the Rideau River. Ottawa police investigated her death, but it was ruled non-suspicious.

Stephanie Plante submitted an application to the city to commemorate Pootoogook by renaming the park after her.

Plante says she met with Veldon Coburn, the adoptive father of Pootoogook’s eight-year-old daughter, and reached out to Pootoogook’s brother in Nunavut to discuss the idea.

“Women matter, the arts matter, and most importantly Inuit people matter,” Plante told the committee.

“As of today, it’s quite possible an entirely new generation will write Annie Pootoogook Park on birthday party invitations, t-ball sign ups, dog park meet ups, soccer registration forms, summer camp locations.”

Alexandra Badzak, director of the Ottawa Art Gallery, told the community and protective services committee the arts community supports honouring Pootoogook.

“Those of us in the arts in Ottawa, across Canada and internationally know of the importance of Annie Pootoogook’s work,” said Badzak. “Who’s pen and pencil crayon drawings drew upon the legacy of her famous artistic family.”

The head of the National Gallery of Canada said Pootoogook’s artistic legacy is remembered across Canada.

“There’s absolutely no question that Annie Pootoogook is deserving of having Sandy Hill Park named in her honour,” Sasha Suda told the committee Thursday morning.

“She was an unbelievably bright light. Despite the briefness of her career, she leaves an incredibly strong legacy through her art work and in the ways that she changed the art world.”

Coun. Mathieu Fleury told the committee plans are in the works to set up an exhibit space in the Sandy Hill Community Centre to highlight Pootoogook’s work. The city is also working to set up programming for Inuit and artists in the park.

Council will vote on the proposal next week.

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City aces legal dispute over Kanata golf club





An Ontario court judge has upheld a 40-year-old agreement that says the Kanata Lakes Golf and Country Club must remain open space and not be redeveloped into a housing community.

The decision is a big win for the city, Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds and her constituents, who have spent two years trying to prevent property owner ClubLink from turning the course into a 1,500-home development with its partners Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes.

Sudds, who said she burst into tears over Friday’s decision, called it “terrific news” for the community. As many as 500 homes back onto the course and more than 1,000 households use the grounds for recreation, she said.

“The green space, the golf course itself, which really is right in the middle of our community here, is used by the community quite frequently,” said Sudds, who recently moved the neighbourhood. “I see people out all hours of the day throughout the winter. It’s amazing to see all the tracks snowshoeing and skiing and dog-walking.”

40-year-old agreement ‘valid’

ClubLink, which bought the 50-year-old course in 1997, announced in December 2018 that it planned to redevelop part of the property.

Local residents, along with the newly elected councillor and the city’s own legal department, argued that the development shouldn’t go ahead due to a 1981 legal agreement between then City of Kanata and the developer. That agreement called for 40 per cent of the area in Kanata Lakes to be open space in perpetuity.

“The 1981 Agreement continues to be a valid and binding contract,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Marc Labrosse wrote in his 44-page decision.

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Ottawa residents remain pro-Trump Avenue





It appears Donald Trump still has a home in Canada’s capital, even if he has departed Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, residents on Trump Avenue, in Ottawa’s Central Park neighbourhood, put the possibility of changing the name of their street to a vote following the former president’s tumultuous time in office.

The neighbourhood has several streets named after icons of New York City and Trump was a famous real estate mogul before he was elected.

In order to change the name of a street, the city requires 50 per cent plus one of all households on that street to be in favour.

There are 62 houses on Trump Avenue, meaning at least 32 households would have had to vote to change the name.

The city councillor for the area, Riley Brockington, said Wednesday that 42 households voted and the neighbourhood was divided, 21 to 21. 

Without the required margin to enact the change, Brockington says the matter will not proceed any further. 

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