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Operation Big Turkey expanding in Ottawa

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CTV Ottawa


Published Sunday, December 23, 2018 4:02PM EST


Last Updated Sunday, December 23, 2018 4:05PM EST

Operation Big Turkey is expanding to 6 locations across the capital on Christmas Eve starting tomorrow afternoon.

Organized by chefs Chris Knight and Scott Warrick, and constructed by an army of hundreds of volunteers, more than 2500 meals will be served to seniors, families and the city’s homeless.

Volunteers and chefs at Algonquin College spent hours chopping, slicing and stirring food. Donations from Farm Boy and several hotels and restaurants in the city have helped provide all the elements for a memorable meal including 750lbs of turkey, potatoes, salad and pies.

“This is now part of a lot of people’s Christmas tradition and I think it speaks to people wanting to do something at Christmas instead of maxing out their credit cards.” said Knight who first started serving meals 14 years ago to some of the city’s less fortunate.

“The good news and bad news is we still some of the people we saw 12 years ago who are still coming back, still in need. But it’s almost like we’re family for one night.”

Talented chefs and students from the college teamed up with eager volunteers who washed dishes, pots, pans and trays with a smile. Barbara Bullock was among the more than 200 volunteers donning an apron.

“It’s wonderful to see all these people, so many have done them for decades or a good decade; in some cases, it’s so nice to see.” said Bullock.

Former graduates, like Angela Ierullo cooked up family recipes including a vegetarian lasagna filled with eggplant and other fresh vegetables.

“As the Italian, I was responsible for lasagna so we made 18 pans of lasagna. It’s vegetarian because they’ll have turkey on the meat side.” said Ierullo.

The partnership between the groups – is a win-win for students from Algonquin and organizers of the feasts. “For us it’s great, because our students get involved, our faculty gets involved. This is what the students need to see…giving back to the community…  it gives them the opportunity to see a large-scale operation serving 2500 meals and practice, practice, that’s what they need if they want to be successful” said Michael Bakogeorge, Academic Chair of Algonquin College’s Food and Beverage program.

Operation Big Turkey locations and times include:

Restaurant E18hteen – 3-5pm

Overbook Community Centre – 2-4pm

Carlington Recreation Centre – 12:30-2pm

Ron Kolbus Centre – 3:30-5:30pm

Jack Purcell Community Centre – 3:30-6:30pm

Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre – 2:30-4:30pm

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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