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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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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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