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Petition calls for U.S. to give Northwest Angle to Canada

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There is a call for the U.S. government to adjust the border near Manitoba to give Canada the geographic oddity known as the Northwest Angle.

Known simply as the Angle to the 120 people who live there, it is a jetty of Minnesota sandwiched between Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.

It is the only place in the United States outside Alaska that is north of the 49th parallel. And it was based on a flawed map from 1755.

“Make America great by correcting this critical survey error,” states a petition, called “Give Canada back the Northwest Angle located in Manitoba,” and created as part of We the People.

Launched in September 2011 under then-President Barack Obama, We the People is a section of the White House website for petitioning policy experts. Petitions that meet a certain threshold of signatures are typically reviewed by administration officials who are prepared to issue official responses.

The threshold for a response is 100,000 signatures, so it could take some for the Northwest Angle petition to find its way onto the desk of U.S. Congress.

It was created Sunday, and as of Wednesday, had just 32 signatures.

The international boundary that takes in the Northwest Angle was made shortly after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 between the U.S. and Britain.

However, Benjamin Franklin and British representatives relied on a 1755 map from American John Mitchell, who was not a professional geographer or map-maker.

He was a  physician and botanist who developed an interest in geography and created his map based on materials he found in official archives and private hands. But he misattributed the source of the Mississippi River as being at the edge of Lake of the Woods, and drew the lake itself in the shape of an oval rather than bent and bowed by the multiple bays it actually contains.

The Northwest Angle is a thumb of land isolated from the rest of the U.S., linked by land to the eastern edge of Manitoba. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Treaty of Paris stated the boundary between U.S. territory and the British possessions to the north would run “…through the Lake of the Woods to the northwestern-most point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi.”

The source of the Mississippi River, however, actually lies nearly due south of Lake of the Woods, rather than north and west of it.

The end result is a thumb of land isolated from the rest of the U.S. In those months when Lake of the Woods is free of ice, Angle residents can reach the mainland U.S. directly by boat.

However, to make the journey by land, residents must pass through two Canada-U.S. borders — at the east and southern boundaries of Manitoba.

“Even the most mundane tasks involve a certain amount of shuttle diplomacy. Grocery shopping is once a week, and that’s an hour and 15 minutes, one way,” states a story on the region by CBS News in 2016.

“First, residents have to notify Canadian authorities that they’re about to cross the border. Then, it’s a 60-mile [96.6-km] or so trek through Canada back to the U.S. boundary line to cross back into Minnesota and the nearest town.”

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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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

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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

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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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