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School boards cancel classes Wednesday as southern Quebec hit by intense snowstorm




What’s already being called the winter’s biggest snowstorm is upon us. 

Environment Canada says southern Quebec will be walloped by as much as 40 centimetres of snow between now and Wednesday evening.

The warning, in fact, blankets much of the province, from Gatineau all the way to the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

The low-pressure system has moved in from the American midwest, intensifying over the Great Lakes.

Expect temperatures of around – 13 C overnight. With the windchill, that will feel closer to – 22.

Montreal school boards declare snow day

Major school boards across the greater Montreal region have already announced they’re cancelling classes on Wednesday.

The English Montreal School Board, Lester B. Pearson board, the Riverside board, along with the French-language Commission scolaire de Montréal, Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Commission scolaire de Laval have all declared a snow day.

Among other schools that have already announced closures are Trafalgar School, the Study and the Oral School for the Deaf.

100 extra SQ on the road

Quebec’s Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said the provincial police are ready with an emergency plan to track problems, and 100 extra officers are being deployed.

“Everybody will be working tonight, for sure. There will be about 1,600 snow trucks on the road,” Guilbault said. 

“We hope that if it’s possible, people will stay home or adapt their drive,” she said.

Expect the snow to fall at a rate of four centimetres an hour at the height of the storm, with at least 30 centimetres of snow in total falling by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Tough morning commute

The morning commute will likely be a major challenge, with snow and blowing snow reducing visibility to near zero at times.

Montreal’s transit agency issued a warning to commuters Tuesday, reminding them to give themselves extra time to get around in the morning.

Work from home if possible

Most of the snow will be on the ground by Wednesday morning, but Guilbault said people should avoid driving if possible and consider working from home as strong winds will continue to blow snow onto roads.

The temperature is going to rise to around –2 C in the afternoon, he said, but even walking around outside will be made difficult by the wind. It will be particularly windy in the Quebec City area, with gusts reaching 80 km/h.

In Quebec City, the snow will start a bit later, and there won’t be as much.

Drive prepared

Transports Québec says while it is ready to maintain the province’s 32,000 kilometres of roadways, drivers should do their part, as well.

Before heading out, people should check road conditions through Quebec511’s web, mobile and phone platforms.

Drivers should ensure their vehicle is well prepared for winter driving, cleared of snow and stocked with winter equipment, including a first-aid kit.

Drivers must adapt their driving to the conditions, the ministry says, keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them and staying out of the the blind spots of snow-clearing and snow-removal trucks.

Montreal school boards have already announced schools will be closed Wednesday, after what’s expected to be the biggest snowstorm of the season overnight. (CBC)

Montreal snow removal to begin Thursday

Snow-removal operations on Montreal’s streets will begin when the snow stops falling and blowing. 

Jean-François Parenteau, Montreal’s executive committee member in charge of citizen services, says that should be by early Thursday morning.

Parenteau said the city is in direct contact with the Transport Ministry in order to streamline the operations on highway and city streets.

Teams of blue collar and contract workers are standing by to clear the snow overnight, he said. 

“This is a different situation than we’ve seen in the last weeks,” Parenteau said at city hall Tuesday. 

In the meantime, workers will continue spreading abrasives on icy streets. 

“Considering the quantity of snow, we will still have snow-covered streets and highways,” Parenteau said. 

He recommended Montrealers leave their cars at home if possible and use public transit instead. 


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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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