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Rescuer of 11-year-old found facedown in snow was in the ‘right place at the right time’

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He wasn’t on duty on Thursday, but when a Foam Lake, Sask., volunteer firefighter heard about a missing 11-year-old girl, he knew he had to do something to help with the search.

“I was at a work and I’d seen cop cars taking off from different directions from town here at Foam Lake,” said Cole Maksymytz, recalling the scene when police received word at about 5 p.m. that the girl had wandered away from her Bankend home. The tiny hamlet is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

He followed the police and talked with officers, who explained to him that a 11-year-old girl had been at home sick, and wandered away from the house while her mother was away, some time between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.. The mother had seen tracks heading west from the house, but couldn’t find her daughter nearby, recalled Maksymytz.

“I was thinking Jesus, if it was one of my kids, I’d want somebody, I’d want everybody that could help out there helping,” said Maksymytz, who has four children of his own.

Small footprints in the snow

Officials told him they had crews on the search and didn’t need extra help, but Makysmytz kept his eyes peeled as he drove toward home with two of his children with him in his truck.

“Driving down the back road, I noticed on the field, a trail. At first, I thought maybe it was a deer or a moose or something,” he said, explaining a closer look revealed footprints.

“‘Well, this could be her,'” he recalled thinking. “It had to have been, because the footprint was so small.”

Maksymytz followed the trail in his truck, until his kids piped in to say they saw something black up ahead.  

Cole Maksymytz’s two children, Danica, 6, and Cade, 4, were in the truck when with their father when they spotted something black lying ahead of them. (Submitted by Cole Maksymytz)

“So we drove up there and there she was, laying face-first in the snow,” he said, adding his thoughts immediately went to whether she was alive.

At this point, it was 7:40 p.m. in the evening, and the girl had walked nearly six and a half kilometres from her home, he said.

Relief filled him when he checked and found the girl still breathing, with Maksymytz quickly carrying her to his truck.

“It happened that my daughter knew this girl because she goes to school with her,” he said, adding his six-year-old daughter was able to tell him the girl’s name as they drove her back to the police and the ambulance.

I’m happy I did something to save someone’s life.– Cole Maksymytz, volunteer firefighter

On Friday, he learned the girl was recovering well, after receiving treatment for hypothermia and injuries related to exposure.

It reminded him of why he wanted to be a volunteer firefighter in the first place, to help people.

“I’m happy I did something to save someone’s life,” he said. “It just so happened that I was in the right place at the right time.”

Maksymytz also serves in the Wishart fire department. His fire chief there, Darrell Bzedl, was among the locals giving credit to the volunteer for his actions. 

“He went above and beyond to do what he did,” said Bzedl, adding, “We have a good ending thanks to it.”

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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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