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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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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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