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Otter found living under garbage bin in downtown Winnipeg




The Winnipeg Humane Society’s emergency response team has had some pretty odd calls over the years, but likely nothing otter than one they received Friday afternoon. 

The agency responded to a report of an otter living under a downtown Dumpster.

Nihal Bhullar, a 20-year-old University of Winnipeg student, called authorities after stumbling along the otter over her lunch-hour.

Bhullar was walking back to class when she noticed a small crowd around a garbage bin between two apartments on Balmoral Street, across from the university’s east doors.

Bhullar thought she’d misheard the man who told her there was an otter under the garbage.

“He showed me a video and I was like ‘wait, what?'”

‘He needs to be saved’

Eventually the crowd dispersed, and Bhullar found herself alone with the otter.

“I thought, I’ve got to call someone because he clearly does not belong here,” she said.

“He’s far from home, he needs to be saved.”

Bhullar was joined by Dawn Williams, who lives in the apartment at 391 Balmoral Street next to the otter’s chosen dumpster, and the pair waited for help to arrive.

Nihal Bhullar, left, and Dawn Williams stand next to the garbage bin where the otter was found Friday. (Shane Gibson/CBC)

Bhullar says they talked to the otter, and and made sure the misplaced mammal didn’t leave the safety of the garbage can.

They also gave the otter a name.

“We called him Otty the otter,” laughed Bhullar.

“Me and Dawn were outside in the freezing cold for two hours with him — obviously we came up with a name.”

The pair say Otty looked healthy and happy enough to be living under a garbage can, at least until until crews arrived.

That’s when Otty took off running, says Bhullar.

The otter can be seen amongst garbage around the dumpster it was found living under Friday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Nihal Bhullar)

“He managed to escape from them and run under a fence and then he went under another fence and another one after that,” she said.

After his flight, Otty ended up in a gap behind the apartments.

Thankfully, Williams was there to let rescuers in the front of the apartment block and lead them to the back door where they came face-to-face with the wily animal. 

‘It was not natural habitat for him’

After a further brief chase, crews caught Otty using a net, and put him in their truck bound for the Humane Society, where manager of investigation and emergency response, Heather Neil, says Otty spent the afternoon “resting comfortably.”

“We have him tucked away, we keep the lights dim and kind of keep him away from people so we don’t cause him any stress,” she told CBC News.

“Otherwise, he seems to be OK.”

Neil can’t say why or how the otter got under the dumpster, but figures Otty had been there for a few days based on reports they’d gotten and the fact the otter had built a pair of small slides in the snow leading to the dumpster — just like the animal does to get down riverbanks in the wild.

Otty the otter relaxes at Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre Friday while awaiting to be released back into the wild. (Photo courtesy of Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre)

“We don’t come across otters, generally, you see them along the riverbanks, and that’s where their natural habitat is, but this one was quite a ways away from the river,” she said.

“I have no explanation about how he got there, but it was not natural habitat for him.”

She says it’s the first time they’ve received a call about an otter.

A spokesperson from Manitoba Conservation said otters can live within city limits along the Red River and have occasionally been reported roaming in the city.

Neil said Otty has been taken to Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre to get checked over and will be released back into the wild if the otter is given a clean bill of heath.


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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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