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‘Please take the time’: Couple sound alarm about leaving ice, snow on vehicles

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A Cantley, Que., couple are calling on motorists to properly brush snow and ice off vehicles after a dangerous situation unfolded on Highway 50 in Gatineau, Que., on New Year’s Day.

At about 1 p.m., France Racine and her partner Carl Taillefer were driving home when their Ford pickup truck was hit by a large chunk of ice.

The impact cracked open the centre of the windshield and sent shards of glass flying onto the couple.

Their 11-month old son was in the backseat.

“We were very, very scared, but we are lucky the three of us are fine,” Racine said, “especially our son in the back.”

France Racine, her partner and their 11-month-old son were heading from Cantley to Lac Simon on Highway 50 on Tuesday when a chunk of ice flew off another vehicle into their windshield. 0:41

‘Please, please take the time’

The ice had flown off a red Chevy Silverado pickup truck in front of them, not far from the Labrosse Boulevard overpass. ​

Taillefer was driving in the left lane and saw the ice come off the truck, but said he couldn’t brake or swerve to avoid getting hit because there were vehicles behind and beside him.

He drove for another kilometre before pulling over in an area with a wider shoulder.

The couple say they’re lucky they weren’t injured or possibly even killed in the incident. (Supplied by France Racine and Carl Taillefer)

Racine said the couple called police but that no officers were dispatched because they didn’t have the licence plate number of the Chevy truck. Relatives came to pick them up and their truck was towed to a garage for repair.

She’s pleading with drivers to clean potentially dangerous debris off their vehicles.

“Even if you’re in a hurry, please, please take the time to clean your car. In the winter there’s snow and ice. It’s very important because it could save some [lives],” Racine said.

In Quebec and Ontario, drivers can be fined between $100 and $200 for failing to clear all snow and ice off vehicles. Drivers can also have their licences suspended for unsafe winter driving.

If loose debris from a vehicle results in a collision causing injury or death, drivers can also face criminal charges.

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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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