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Carbon monoxide poisoning at LaSalle elementary school sends 43 students, staff to hospital





Montreal’s fire chief suspects a faulty heating system could be responsible for a carbon monoxide leak that sickened dozens of students and staff at an elementary school in the city’s southeast end on Monday. 

First responders took 35 children and eight adults from Des Decouvreurs elementary school to at least three Montreal-area hospitals — the Montreal Children’s and Sainte-Justine hospitals, as well as the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The sick children are between the ages of six and 13. 

“They were nauseous, they vomited, and they were dizzy,” said Urgences-Santé spokesperson François Labelle.

Des Decouvreurs school, located on 39th Avenue near Riverside Park in the borough of LaSalle, was evacuated soon after a 911 call came in from the school at 11:12 a.m. The children who weren’t sick were moved to nearby Notre-Dame-des-Rapides school. 

Des Decouvreurs remains closed as the investigation continues.

CO detector missing or faulty?

According to fire Chief Francis Leduc, the carbon monoxide leak could have come from a bad connection in the school’s heating system. He said such a defect is not uncommon, and because carbon monoxide is odourless, its presence can be hard to detect. 

Leduc said most schools are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, but Des Decouvreurs was not.

Marguerite Bourgeoys school board says that’s not true.

Spokesperson Gina Guillemette said the school does have a carbon monoxide detector, but officials are now trying to determine if it was working.

Code Orange

The Montreal Children’s Hospital issued a Code Orange, indicating that it is dealing with a major incident. It is holding a briefing this afternoon to give more details about its response.

The hospital sent out a tweet asking people to avoid the emergency room for non-urgent cases. 

Robert Lalli arrived to pick up his sons and said he wasn’t told much about the nature of the evacuation. (CBC)

Parents called to pick up students

The school board called parents and sent them an email, asking them to pick up their children at Notre-Dame-de-Rapides and explaining that the building had a problem “possibly related to the school’s heating system.”

Robert Lalli, who has two sons at Des Decouvreurs, said parents received very little other information about what had happened.

“We only know the school was evacuated for precautionary reasons for a possible type of leak — gas leak,” he said.

He said he’s satisfied with the school’s response.

“They can’t call everyone the minute it happens,” Lalli said. “The school’s got to do what the school’s got to do.”

Dozens of children and staff at the LaSalle’s Des Decouvreurs elementary school were taken by ambulance to at least three Montreal hospitals, after an apparent carbon monoxide leak. (Radio-Canada)

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge tweeted that he and Health Minister Danielle McCann are following the situation closely and have been in contact with Urgences-Santé, as well as school board officials.


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa





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





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





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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