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Selfie-takers flock to Cape Breton for towering snowbanks

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CTVNews.ca Staff with files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald


Published Friday, January 11, 2019 7:01PM EST

If basketball superstar Stephen Curry were to stand on LeBron James’ shoulders, the two NBA players still wouldn’t be as tall as Nova Scotia’s tallest snowbanks.

At the northernmost tip of Cape Breton, snowbanks have been measured at four metres high – so tall that they obscure trees and create a tunnel-like driving experience.

The towering walls of snow have drawn plenty of spectators to North Mountain, a remote stretch of land along the picturesque Cabot Trail. Many have left their vehicles to take photos of the wintry spectacle.

Among them was Jessica Martin, a tourist visiting from Montreal.

“Taller than I am, that’s for sure,” Martin told CTV Atlantic. “I’ve never seen that before and we do get a lot of snow in Montreal – at least, I thought we did.”

The unusually tall formations were created by a variety of factors, including heavy snowfall in the autumn.

The weather station at North Mountain reports 217 centimetres of snow on the ground. For comparison, Sunshine Village – a popular ski resort in the Rocky Mountains – has a base snow depth of 151 centimetres.

All that snow has meant a difficult winter for drivers in the region. Highways around Cape Breton Highlands National Park are intermittently closed due to blowing snow.

Sometimes, the conditions are so poor that snowplows can’t be brought in to clear the roads, according to Parks Canada spokesperson Kelly Deveaux.

“When the road is closed on North Mountain, we understand that there are impacts. But when the visibility is so reduced that it poses a risk for the travelling public and our crews, we are in a situation where we do have to close the road,” she said.

Parks Canada is advising spectators to exercise caution when visiting the snowbanks. Visitors are asked not to climb the snowbanks, and anyone who pulls over is asked to do so safely.

 

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LIFESTYLES

Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

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LIFESTYLES

Top environment official urges Canadians to back Ottawa’s ambitious plans to tackle plastic trash

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The second in command at the federal Environment Ministry challenged Canadians to continue to speak up about the problem of plastic pollution and push elected officials, scientists and businesses to do more.

Quebec MP Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, made the comments online at Vancouver’s annual zero waste conference on Friday.

He said most Canadians want solutions to curb the tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic garbage that ends up as litter each year on the country’s beaches, parks, lakes and in the stomachs of animals. 

“Making sure that message is heard with industry stakeholders, elected officials and make sure that they are constantly putting pressure on it … so we notice that this is something that Canadians want, the backing of Canadians to go and undertake these huge challenges,” he said.

Schiefke filled in for  Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the last minute after Wilkinson was called away to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass one of the most expensive fares in Canada

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OTTAWA — OC Transpo’s monthly bus pass is one of the most expensive passes in Canada, and transit riders are facing another 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares on New Year’s Day.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Transit Commission meeting on the 2021 budget, CTV News Ottawa looked at the cost of a monthly adult bus pass at transit services across Canada. Ottawa ranks behind the TTC in Toronto, Mississauga’s “MiWay”, Brampton Transit and Vancouver “TransLink” Zone 2 access to the suburbs for most expensive transit fares in Canada.

The cost of an OC Transpo adult monthly bus pass is currently $119.50 a month.

The 2021 City of Ottawa budget includes a proposed 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares. If approved, an adult monthly transit pass will increase $3 to $122.50, while a youth pass will increase $2.25 to $94.50 a month.  The cost of an adult single-ride cash fare would rise a nickel to $3.65.

The TTC is the most expensive transit service in Canada, charging $156 a month for an adult fare. MiWay charges $135 a month, and the cost of an adult monthly pass with Brampton Transit is $128.

Metro Vancouver’s transportation network “TransLink” has three fare zones. The monthly bus pass cost for “Zone 1”, which covers Vancouver, is $97 for adults. The “Zone 2” fare, which covers Vancouver and the suburbs of Richmond and Burnaby, is $131 a month.

Edmonton Transit Service, which includes a Light Rail System with 18 stations on two different lines, charges $97 a month for an adult monthly bus pass.

An adult monthly bus pass in Calgary costs $109 a month.

The survey by CTV News Ottawa of transit fares across Canada shows Gatineau has higher transit fares than Montreal and Quebec City. The STO charges $99 a month.

A monthly adult bus pass costs $88.50 in Montreal and $89.50 in Quebec City.

The cheapest adult monthly bus fare is in Charlottetown, at $58.50 a month. A monthly bus pass in Whitehorse costs $62 a month.

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