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Adam: McKenna says she won’t run for Ottawa mayoralty — but hope springs eternal

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Catherine McKenna has ruled out running for mayor of Ottawa — ever, she says. That’s a real pity because she would be an ideal candidate.

In a surprise announcement last week that she was leaving federal politics to spend more time with her family, the Ottawa Centre MP and infrastructure minister also expressed no interest in running for mayor. “Jim Watson, I am not running in the next mayoral election, or ever,” McKenna said, addressing the mayor by name. “Hopefully, that’s definitive. It’s not even possible.”

Ottawa has a thin pool of serious, substantive and diverse candidates with great ambition for the city. If, indeed, some are out there, they are hiding. They haven’t shown up, election after election. So, when McKenna suddenly became available, it whetted the appetite. Ottawa hasn’t had a woman as mayor in 24 years, and here was a good chance to at least break that male dominance. Alas, it is not to be.

McKenna has three children and wants to spend time with them. No one can begrudge her that decision. But there’s no denying that her retirement from federal politics and the decision to not even consider running for mayor are both big losses for the city.

A star candidate in 2015, McKenna won Ottawa Centre by defeating the late NDP MP Paul Dewar, then comfortably winning re-election in 2019. She was a key member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, first serving as environment minister and ably stick-handling the government’s controversial climate change file. She turned once-hated carbon pricing into acceptable public policy, then became infrastructure minister. She had everything going for her.

Wishing McKenna would run is no strike against Watson. We don’t even know if the current mayor will run again. He’ll be 61 when the election is held next year, and a lot is riding on his decision. Some of his council colleagues contemplating a run may take a pass if Watson tries for another term.

All considered, Watson has been a good mayor. He never pretended to be a great visionary, and when voters elected him they knew they getting a steady man with a safe pair of hands. It says something that he has won three consecutive terms. If he runs and is re-elected, the city will be fine. The question that’s often raised about Watson is whether after a long municipal career, including 12 years as mayor, he has something new to offer —  or whether the city should go in a different direction.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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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

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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

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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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