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Government names new director of National Gallery of Canada




The government has selected a new director to add her touch to the canvas of Canada’s National Gallery.

CBC News has learned that Alexandra Suda will be announced today as the director of the National Gallery. Suda comes to the position from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), where she is currently the curator of European art and the R. Fraser Elliott chair of prints and drawing.

She also previously worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

‘Exceptional talent’

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said the government was confident they had made the right choice to lead the gallery.

“Through her exceptional talent, she will lead the National Gallery of Canada with the highest standards, making Canadians proud of their national art institution,” he said in a statement.

Suda replaces Marc Mayer who served two five year terms as head of the gallery. Last year, Mayer moved ahead with a plan to sell a Marc Chagall painting from the gallery’s collection to raise money to buy another work in Quebec that was set to leave Canada.

That decision sparked controversy and the gallery eventually abandoned the plan, after the Quebec government stepped in to prevent the other work from leaving the country.  

Right choice

Stephan Jost, head of the AGO and Suda’s current boss, said she is absolutely the right person to lead the gallery.

“She thinks like a director. She thinks like an executive. And that was clear from the first meeting I had with her,” he said. 

He said she knows how to work with donors, artists and the public to create the right space. He argued she also knows what the gallery needs.

“There’s this need for the National Gallery to both be, you know, Ottawa’s main museum and be truly a national museum of a vast country,” he said. “You have to have a local audience but you also then have to really connect nationally whether it’s Newfoundland or, you know, Vancouver.”

Budget constraints

When Mayer moved to sell the Chagall he said the gallery desperately needed the money to be able to go after Canadian art that is in danger of leaving the country.

Jost said he is confident Suda will be able to deal with cost pressures. He said the key is to lead the market, not follow it, and look for underappreciated art.

“The AGO doesn’t have the acquisition budgets of the National Gallery and so everybody who works at AGO knows how to acquire things. You just have to be smarter than everybody else because you can’t follow. We don’t have the money to do it.”

Jost said Suda is also a quick learner and will adapt to Ottawa. Her French language skills, for example, will improve quickly, he said.

“She has limited French skills but she’s really smart. Give her 18 months she’ll be there OK.”


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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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