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Take a look at some of the top Canadian news photos of 2018

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The Humboldt Broncos bus crash was selected as Canada’s News Story of the Year. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)

Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., when its bus and a semi-truck collided at a crossroads on April 6, killing 16 people and injuring 13.

(Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

The crash made headlines around the world and struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians, uniting the country in grief. It was chosen by Canadian media as Canada’s News Story of the Year.

(Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Canada’s dynamic duo

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir concluded their illustrious careers in 2018, winning their second ice dance Olympic gold medal with a record-setting total score at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

(Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

The iconic Canadian ice dancers were named CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year.

(Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

Toronto van attack

Ten people were killed and more than a dozen injured after a van plowed into pedestrians on a crowded sidewalk in Toronto on April 23.

(Albert Leung/CBC)

Alek Minassian, 26, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, and is set to go on trial on Feb. 3, 2020.

(David Donnelly/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were among the high-profile dignitaries who joined the sprawling crowd of mourners at a vigil in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square to honour the victims of the attack.

(Carly Thomas/CBC)

Toronto Danforth attack

Toronto was struck by tragedy again after a shooting rampage on the city’s bustling Danforth Avenue on July 22.

(Patrick Morrell/CBC)

Reese Fallon, 18, and Julianna Kozis, 10, were killed, while 13 others, ranging in age from 17 to 59, suffered gunshot wounds.

(Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Kinder Morgan protests

The proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline has been one of the most contentious and divisive issues in Canadian politics this year, prompting several protests across the country. 

(Christer Waara/CBC)

Above, two Greenpeace Canada activists are seen scaling one of Kinder Morgan’s drills in Delta, B.C., in May.

In March pipeline opponents held demonstrations in front of the offices of MPs across the country as part of a national day of action against Kinder Morgan.

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Historic flooding in New Brunswick

(Trevor Lyons/CBC)

Record-level flooding devastated parts of New Brunswick this summer, washing away roads and destroying homes.

(Shane Fowler/CBC)

The federal government provided support to the province’s flood relief effort, including help from the military.

(Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

Worst fire season on record in B.C. 

British Columbia was under a state of emergency this summer as nearly 13,000 square kilometres of the province burned, pushing past the record set in 2017.

(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Tornado rips through Ottawa, Gatineau, Que.

(Kristin Nelson/CBC)

A powerful twister tore through the rural Ottawa community of Dunrobin on Sept. 21, destroying dozens of homes.

The tornado — one of two that touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau region — had wind speeds reaching as high as 265 km/h.

(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canada legalizes recreational cannabis 

Canada became the first major Western nation to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis for recreational use in 2018.

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The world was watching when the country made history with the first legal sale of non-medicinal pot just after midnight on Oct. 17, marking the beginning of what the New York Times dubbed Canada’s “national experiment.” 

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The move to legalize cannabis for recreational use, sparking an entirely new industry wih wide-ranging implications for nearly every facet of society, has been voted The Canadian Press Business News Story of the Year.

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

B.C.’s giant old growth cedars 

British Columbia’s coastal forests are home to enormous, ancient trees that can reach staggering heights and live for up to 1,000 years. 

(Chris Corday/CBC)

The trees are a symbol of the ongoing battle in the province between environmentalists — who want old-growth trees off limits to cutting — and forestry workers, who want at least some old-growth trees available to logging.

(TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance)

Ken Wu, executive director for the environmental group Ancient Forest Alliance, is seen above with a stump of a Western redcedar measuring four metres across at Gordon River, near Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island. 

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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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