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Ottawa father celebrates birthday rescuing young man from smoke-filled house





An Ottawa father celebrated his birthday in the most unusual fashion yesterday. Matt Godin ran into a smoke filled house and woke up the young occupant sleeping inside. And if that wasn’t enough, he then jumped in to help firefighters dig out the fire hydrant, buried under snow.Godin credits his mom for the fact that he was in the right place at the right time. She had called him yesterday morning to come pick up his birthday cake. That’s when he saw smoke and took off down the street in his truck to check it out.

It was 9:30 in the morning when Matt Godin pulled up outside this house on Mimosa Avenue, around the corner from where he lives.

“I noticed the first unit,” recalls Godin, “There are flames coming out of garage and smoke billowing out.”

Godin, who works shift work at OC Transpo on fleet maintenance, called 9-1-1 then banged on the door and the windows.  No one responded.  

Godin had a feeling though that someone was in the house.  He had seen a car in the driveway, cleared of snow with recent tire tracks.  This time, he decided to go inside.

“I was ready to break the door down,” he says, “but tried the door handle; it was unlocked. I went in yelling to see if there was anyone there.  I cleared the bottom floor then went upstairs.  In the second bedroom, there was an occupant asleep.  I woke him up, told him there was a fire and we have to get out right now.

Godin asked him whether there was anyone else in the house.  He responded that his sister may be there so Godin did a thorough sweep of the second floor, searching under beds and in the bathroom.  When he was assured no one else was there, he and the occupant went outside. That’s when firefighters arrived on the scene.  But Godin’s job wasn’t done yet.

“Our firefighters noticed he was still in the area,” says Danielle Cardinal with Ottawa Fire Services, “He was adrenaline infused and opted to take a shovel and helped clear the hydrant at that fire. I think it’s great. I know he’s been adamant that he doesn’t want to be called a hero. His main message is that he hopes someone would do the same for me if he were in that situation,” says Cardinal, “So just ensuring that if you do come on an emergency, that you’re first making that 911 call that was the pivotal part in all this, making sure emergency responders are on the way so you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way.”

“When they arrived, they asked if I wanted to help,” says Godin, “and threw me a shovel and with all the adrenaline, I blew through shoveling that fire hydrant in about 20 seconds.”

“That’s very Matt, I’m really proud of him,” says his wife Amy Gordon.

That evening, for their birthday tradition of wearing funny hats, the couple’s 4-year-old son Theo decided which one dad would wear.

“We went to pick them out,” says Gordon, “and Theo said daddy needs the fire hat because he made a rescue yesterday. It’s pretty cute.”

“I think it’s incredible that people are willing to do that,” says Martin Moore, who lives next door to where the fire occurred, “He’s a Good Samaritan.”

Godin shrugs off the “hero” label and says he just wants to encourage people to do their part including clearing fire hydrants.  As for his birthday, it will be a memorable one.

“It was my 41st,” he says, “so, yeah, I won’t forget this one. Probably for a while.”

The family members of the young lad that Godin saved came to his house last evening to thank him.  He says it was an emotional moment for him and certainly a birthday he will never forget.



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City staff propose ‘gold belt’ to hem in future Ottawa development





The City of Ottawa is about to have a second marathon debate about where to allow future suburbs to be built, and this time staff propose hemming in development by creating what’s being dubbed the “gold belt.”

Eight months after city council decided to expand the urban boundary by 1,281 hectares to help house a growing population, senior city planners have released the map of which properties should be developed — and which property owners stand to see values soar if their lands are rezoned. 

They include areas north of Kanata on March Road, near the future Bowesville O-Train station in the south end, and at the southern edge of Orléans.

Scoring rural properties on such things as how close they are to transit and how costly it would be to build pipes and roads proved a challenge over the past several months, however.

“The easy land has been gobbled up in years past, in previous boundary expansions,” said Coun. Scott Moffatt, who belongs to a group of councillors that meets about the new official plan. “So now we’re looking at those leftover pieces and where we can [grow], knowing council was clear we would not be touching agricultural lands.”

270 hectares short of goal

Staff struggled to come up with all 1,281 hectares council approved adding in May 2020 because they had too many issues with “sub-optimal” lands.

Instead, they recommended converting 1,011 hectares of rural land to urban for now to meet provincial requirements, and then spending the next five years studying three options for making up the 270-hectare shortfall.

That opens the door to creating an entirely new suburb. 

For instance, one option involves a huge parcel near the Amazon warehouse southeast of the city where the Algonquins of Ontario envision a community of 35,000 to 45,000 people called Tewin, which they would build with developers Taggart.

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How an Ottawa woman built a majestic snow dragon in her front yard





OTTAWA — You may sometimes feel winter drag on, but one Ottawa woman is not letting that dim her creativity.

Dr. Mary Naciuk is family doctor and rural emergency room physician. She spent some of her free time this weekend building a majestic snow dragon in front of her south Ottawa home.

“It’s just fun to get outside and do something creative,” she told CTV News on Sunday.

There was plenty of snow to use, after Ottawa saw a record 21 cm of snow on Saturday.

She said that after her husband cleared the driveway, the pile of snow left behind lent itself to being turned into a magnificent dragon, but it takes more than just the right kind of snow to make a sculpture like this.

Naciuk tells CTV News a shovel, a butter knife, a spoon and even a blowtorch were used to give the dragon its sharp edges and defined scales.

“Anything pointy with a small detail is really hard to do with just your fingers or the butter knife and spoon I was using, so (the blowtorch) just makes a fine point,” she said.

Her son tweeted about it on Saturday and Naciuk says many people have stopped to take a look.

My mom has reached the pass me a blowtorch and shovel and watch me make a snow dragon stage of the pandemic

(I was only allowed to shovel piles of snow) — Tom Naciuk (@NaciukThomas) January 16, 2021

“A lot of people stop on their way to the ice rink and have a look and take pictures. It’s kind of fun,” she said.

It was a welcome relief to spend some time working on something creative outdoors, Naciuk said.

“Get outside, get some exercise, clear your mind, do something that is not COVID for a few hours. It obeys all the rules. It was great,” she said, adding that the dragon took her about five hours to build.

She’s been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for months. 

“It’s been a steep learning curve. It’s been exhausting,” she said. “A lot of the time is learning how to deliver care to people and maintain all the precautions that we need to. That’s been hard. A lot of people are not able to work from time to time, so we fill a lot of extra shifts. It’s been a lot more hours of work than it used to be, that’s for sure.”

Naciuk returns to work on Monday after a weekend of respite but says if the conditions are right—a nice mild day, a good snowfall, and some free time—another sculpture may well appear.

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Keeping the vaccines flowing, staying at home, and a new American President: Five stories to watch this week





OTTAWA — The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Ottawa continues, but there are questions about supply. How are police and bylaw handling the new stay-at-home order? And, a day of prayer for a beloved spiritual leader. looks at five stories to watch this week.

Vaccine rollout continues

Residents of Ottawa will continue to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccines but there are new questions about how much supply the city will have.

Last week, it was announced that Pfizer would be cutting shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada in half over the next month because of an expansion of its European factory. That means it’s unclear how many additional doses Ottawa will be receiving in the coming weeks.

On Saturday, Mayor Jim Watson told the CTV News at Six that between 5,800 and 6,000 doses were expected in the city on Tuesday, but now he’s unsure if that will be delivered.

The City’s vaccination teams have visited all 28 of the city’s long-term care homes and are expected to begin working with residents and staff of the city’s high-risk retirement homes soon.

Will COVID-19 cases keep climbing?

It has now been three weeks since the provincewide shutdown began in Ontario and it remains to be seen if Ottawa’s curve will start to bend toward lower rates.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa more than doubled in the first two weeks of January and the number of people in hospitals nearly quadrupled. However, the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period has been slowly dropping in the past few days.

It is still too early to tell whether the stay-at-home order that came into effect on Jan. 14 has had any effect on transmission.

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