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Heating oil drains into Ottawa River after spill in downtown Gatineau, Que.




An undetermined amount of heating oil has ended up in the Ottawa River after a spill in downtown Gatineau, Que., near the offices of the provincial environment ministry.

The spill happened at 170 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville during a delivery Friday, according to an email from ministry spokesperson Alexandre Ouellet, the regional director of the Outaouais Environmental Control Center.

Initially, the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Fight Against Climate Change said the spill, also near the city’s courthouse, was between 700 and 1,200 litres.

A Saturday morning update downgraded the amount to 200 to 300 litres. 

The spill happened at 170 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, according to a spokesperson with the environment ministry in Quebec. (Radio-Canada)

No visible sheen on river Saturday morning 

Ouellet said the oil spilled onto the pavement and into a storm drain flowing into the Ottawa River. An environmental emergency team was sent in to ensure that necessary measures to protect the environment and keep people safe were put in place, he said.

Ouellet said temporary barriers known as booms were deployed to limit the amount of fuel that reached the river — and that they had contained most of the oil. 

On Saturday morning, new checks were made at the Ottawa River, he said, and no oil sheen could be seen on the surface.

The impact to the river is still considered low, and the recovery work was expected to wrap up around noon Saturday, according to Ouellet.

While it’s impossible to tell how much of the fuel reached the river because of its icy conditions, Ouellet said it appears the river wasn’t seriously affected. He said Gatineau’s drinking water quality was likely not compromised, but the city has been notified of the situation as a preventive measure.

Ottawa Riverkeeper executive director Patrick Nadeau says his group will be following up to see what happened during the oil spill. (Radio-Canada)

Ottawa River source of drinking water for 2 million 

Ottawa Riverkeeper, a grassroots charity dedicated to protecting the river and its tributaries, said that while it doesn’t consider the oil spill major, it will be investigating to understand precisely what happened and to make sure the emergency response was adequate and timely.

“An oil spill in the aquatic environment is never good news,” said executive director Patrick Nadeau.

The fact the oil spilled into an ice-covered river in wintertime, Nadeau said, will make the clean-up efforts difficult.

 “In our opinion probably very little oil that reached the Ottawa River last night would have been able to be recovered,” Nadeau said.

“Oil of course is toxic to the aquatic species, so it’s not good news to have that entering our waterways.”

The Ottawa River is also the source of drinking water for some two million people, he added.

A Petro-Canada truck is parked at the scene of an oil spill in Gatineau, Que., on Dec. 21. The company’s spokesperson said a third-party Petro-Canada fuel distributer, Petro-Canada Fuels, responded to the incident. (Radio-Canada)

Teams from the environment ministry, the City of Gatineau and Petro-Canada were on scene late Friday to contain the spill.

A Petro-Canada spokesperson told Radio-Canada that a “response plan was immediately initiated” following the spill and that the ministry and local officials had both been notified.

The City of Ottawa said it was also aware of the incident.


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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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