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Downtown businesses preparing for Elgin St. road closure




The City of Ottawa says Elgin Street road closures will take effect on Monday, Jan 7.


Drivers can expect Elgin St. to be closed to traffic from Somerset to Catherine Streets.


Businesses are preparing for the major closure of the downtown artery.


“There hasn’t been any upgrade of the infrastructure in over a hundred years,” said the owner of Happy Goat Coffee Henry Assad.


“It has to be done.”


With his Elgin location as one of the busiest in Ottawa, Assad is remaining optimistic.


“We have to put a positive spin on this, rather than it’s shut down,” said Assad.


“It’s not shut down, everything is open!”


The managing partner of PiRho Grill on Elgin St. shares the same sentiment.


“Once the construction is done, it’s going to be nice,” said Tom Tohme.


“It’s part of the business.”


Tohme says the 36-million dollar makeover is necessary to compete with other Ottawa destinations.


“Back 30 or 40 years, Elgin was the plae to be and it still is,” said Tohme.


“With the construction, you’re revamping it and making it even more interesting.” said Tohme.


Owner of Pot and Pantry on Elgin St., Robin Coull, is confident her loyal customer base will support her shop.


“I know a lot of my customers,” said Coull.


“They work in the neighbourhood, they live in the neighbourhood.”


Pot and Pantry customer Joanna Zappia travels in from Westboro for her kitchen needs.


“There’s just stuff you can get here, that you can’t get anywhere else,” said Zappia.


“It’s harder to find parking around here now that the street is closing but who cares, there’s products that you want and the faces you want to see.”


The following changes will also be made on Elgin St. between Laurier Avenue and Somerset Street.

  • One southbound lane will remain open along Elgin St. from Laurier Ave. to Somerset St.
  • the northbound lane on Elgin St. will be closed from Somerset St. to Nepean St.
  • The exit lane from the City Hall parking garage to Elgin St. will be open. Vehicles will be able to access Elgin St. as usual from Nepean St.

There will be detours in places during the construction. There will be free parking at Ottawa City Hall  after 6 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays during construvtion.

The work is expected to last through the entire year and possibly into 2020. Sidewalks will be open to pedestrians to access businesses on Elgin St.





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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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