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





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





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





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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