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Families hit by Ottawa-area tornadoes treated to Christmas surprise

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CTVNews.ca with files from CTV Ottawa’s Megan Shaw


Published Friday, December 21, 2018 7:49PM EST

It’s been a difficult year for dozens of families who lost their homes when six tornadoes ripped through the Ottawa region in September. But an Ottawa woman is working to make their holidays a bit brighter.

Earlier this month, Tanya Laughlin set up an online registry for those affected by the disaster. Since then, donors have purchased dozens of gifts.

“We do have some international buyers. There’s a family in Ireland that has bought stuff, the Toronto area, Ottawa area, Vancouver,” Laughlin told CTV Ottawa.

The Amazon wish list includes gifts that were hand-picked by those who lost possessions or whose homes were destroyed by the tornadoes. Gifts range in price, from a colouring book for $5.99 to a laptop for $330. Household items, such as bedding, lamps and kitchenware, make up a large portion of the list.

Each item is wrapped by hand and personally delivered by Laughlin.

Still, the registry is about 100 gifts short. With just a few days left before Christmas, Laughlin hopes she’ll be able to get a gift to everyone.

Among the recipients are Jessica and Jordan Woods, whose home was demolished by the storm. They’re spending the holidays in a rental home. They say that this year, Christmas shopping has been particularly challenging.

“Normally we love shopping for Christmas, we love shopping for the kids, but this year the motivation just wasn’t there for us. And when this came about, it was like a blessing,” Jordan Woods said.

“We just can’t get over the generosity of people who don’t even know us,”

The tornado was the most powerful wind storm to hit Eastern Ontario in more than 100 years, according to Environment Canada. Approximately 3,300 people turned to the Red Cross for support following the devastating weather event. Canadians have since donated millions to support recovery efforts.

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LIFESTYLES

Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

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LIFESTYLES

Top environment official urges Canadians to back Ottawa’s ambitious plans to tackle plastic trash

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The second in command at the federal Environment Ministry challenged Canadians to continue to speak up about the problem of plastic pollution and push elected officials, scientists and businesses to do more.

Quebec MP Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, made the comments online at Vancouver’s annual zero waste conference on Friday.

He said most Canadians want solutions to curb the tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic garbage that ends up as litter each year on the country’s beaches, parks, lakes and in the stomachs of animals. 

“Making sure that message is heard with industry stakeholders, elected officials and make sure that they are constantly putting pressure on it … so we notice that this is something that Canadians want, the backing of Canadians to go and undertake these huge challenges,” he said.

Schiefke filled in for  Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the last minute after Wilkinson was called away to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass one of the most expensive fares in Canada

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OTTAWA — OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass is one of the most expensive passes in Canada, and transit riders are facing another 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares on New Year’s Day.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting on the 2021 budget, CTV News Ottawa looked at the cost of a monthly adult bus pass at transit services across Canada. Ottawa ranks behind the TTC in Toronto, Mississauga’s “MiWay”, Brampton Transit and Vancouver “TransLink” Zone 2 access to the suburbs for most expensive transit fares in Canada.

The cost of an OC Transpo adult monthly bus pass is currently $119.50 a month.

The 2021 City of Ottawa budget includes a proposed 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares. If approved, an adult monthly transit pass will increase $3 to $122.50, while a youth pass will increase $2.25 to $94.50 a month.  The cost of an adult single-ride cash fare would rise a nickel to $3.65.

The TTC is the most expensive transit service in Canada, charging $156 a month for an adult fare. MiWay charges $135 a month, and the cost of an adult monthly pass with Brampton Transit is $128.

Metro Vancouver’s transportation network “TransLink” has three fare zones. The monthly bus pass cost for “Zone 1”, which covers Vancouver, is $97 for adults. The “Zone 2” fare, which covers Vancouver and the suburbs of Richmond and Burnaby, is $131 a month.

Edmonton Transit Service, which includes a Light Rail System with 18 stations on two different lines, charges $97 a month for an adult monthly bus pass.

An adult monthly bus pass in Calgary costs $109 a month.

The survey by CTV News Ottawa of transit fares across Canada shows Gatineau has higher transit fares than Montreal and Quebec City. The STO charges $99 a month.

A monthly adult bus pass costs $88.50 in Montreal and $89.50 in Quebec City.

The cheapest adult monthly bus fare is in Charlottetown, at $58.50 a month. A monthly bus pass in Whitehorse costs $62 a month.

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