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Back to school: Bus troubles, possible strikes, and a new curriculum

Some students will be starting the year without buses, plus what’s new in the provincial school curriculum.

Good morning!

My it was, er, cold this week wasn’t it? As many of you noted, the temperatures for Tuesday and Wednesday in the newsletter were not at all correct. Temperatures did not drop below zero! Sorry about that! Promise they’re right today. (Or at least as right as Environment Canada forecasts can be, anyhow.)

And for those of you who were looking for a link to (maybe) the best Italian sausage sandwich you’ll eat, you can find that here. For some reason, our email software inserted a random bad link. We’re trying to figure out why it happened, but we’ll be more vigilant going forward. (As a bonus, we’ve included an excerpt further down the newsletter.)

One last bit of housekeeping: because of the Labour Day long weekend, there will be no Lookout on Monday, and not Capital Eats on Tuesday. Our regular schedules will resume on Wednesday.

Now, let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Weather Report

Wednesday: 19 🌡️ 7 | 🌧

Thursday: 23 🌡️ 10 | ☀️

Friday: 27 🌡️ 14| ☀️


Back to school: Bus troubles, possible strikes, and a new curriculum

What happened: Students at public and Catholic schools in the city’s west end were greeted with an unwelcome surprise just before the school year started — as many as 9,000 of them may be without buses, CTV reported.

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), which oversees school buses in the area, reached agreements with nine of ten school bus companies. The remaining bus company without a deal provided 36 routes for both boards in the west end. The transportation authority said it was trying to work with other companies to cover those routes.

  • “We were not able to successfully renew the contract for service provided to some West End schools in both Boards.… OSTA is currently collaborating with other bus operators to try and come up with viable solutions,” an email to parents said, according to CTV.

Good news elsewhere: Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario, which covers boards to the east and south of the city, was able to reach a tentative deal with all its bus providers, CTV reported. The organization said the four-year deal should provide more stability for students in these areas.

At the bargaining table: The union representing elementary school teachers rejected a proposal by the province to head to binding arbitration if a new contract couldn’t be agreed on at the bargaining table, The Canadian Press reported.

  • Earlier, the secondary school teachers’ union accepted a deal to go to arbitration, but still need members’ approval. The union will hold a vote on the proposal next month, according to Global.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce urged all the teachers’ unions to take the deal, which would allow for two more months of bargaining before handing over to a third-party arbitrator, CBC reported. The unions have said they are preparing strike votes for the fall if bargaining does not move forward.

New curriculum: A big change is coming to language classes in the new school year, as the new provincial curriculum will focus on cursive writing, phonics, critical thinking, and digital literacy. There will also be 30 minutes of dedicated reading time, CTV reported. There will also be more math and reading support thanks to an increase in funding, plus new mental health modules have been added to health classes.

Safety blitz: The Ottawa Police Service said they’d started posting officers in and around school zones this week as part of a back-to-school crackdown. Some students are back at school this week, and the city is already facing a shortage of crossing guards, according to CTV.


Staying informed about the world doesn’t have to be boring

Looking for news outside of just Ottawa? You may like International Intrigue.

It’s a free global affairs briefing created by former diplomats to help leaders like you understand how geopolitics, business and technology intersect. They deliver the most important international news and analysis in <5-minute daily briefing that you’ll actually look forward to reading.


🚒 8: The number of people displaced by a serious fire in a Chesterton townhouse complex. Several units were damaged, but no one was hurt. [CTV]

🎤 25: That’s how many years Paul Paquet has been a quizmaster, running trivia nights in and around the city. [CBC]


👶 Lanark County won’t explain why it abruptly pulled funding for a local daycare agency whose parents need to search for new subsidized child care with only two weeks' notice. The county only said that organizations need to comply with “certain criteria” but that details were confidential. [CTV]

🏆 The Stanley Cup spent a day in Frank Ryan Park when Las Vegas Golden Knights assistant trainer Mike Muir brought the trophy to town for a day Monday. [CTV]

🏛️ Former Ottawa councillor Mathieu Fleury has been hired as the chief administrative officer of Cornwall. After 12 years on council, Fleury decided not to run in the last election. He’s been hired for a five-year term to his new job. [CTV]

🏘️ A proposed subdivision of 939 homes in Perth would increase the town’s population by up to 2,500 people — a one-third increase. The proposed development on the Perth Golf Course, Canada’s oldest, has some residents worried it’s too big. [CBC]

🍳 The people of Kingston were asked to stop putting cooking oil and grease down the drain because it was causing buildups that can clog sewers and treatment facilities and even lead to sewage backups. Residents are encouraged to freeze their oil and grease then dispose of it in their green bin. [CBC]

🪖 In a preliminary report on the deadly crash of a military helicopter from the Pettawawa Garrison, investigators are focusing on human error, possible technical problems, and environmental factors as possible causes of the crash. [CBC]


This week’s house of the week is actually a cottage. But a cottage in the city! Just across the street from the Auger’s Bay Beach, this three-season home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, and it would be possible to winterize if you were looking to be able to visit year round. In the city’s far northwest in Constance Bay it’s a little getaway within Ottawa.

House of The Week is a home selected by the Lookout team and is not a paid advertisement. All ads are labelled as such. If you’re a realtor who wishes to feature your home in our newsletter, please contact our sales team.


🥼 A new treatment for epidermolysis bullosa, the disease that the butterfly child Jonathan Pietre suffered from, has been approved in the U.S. While the drug maker has not yet applied for approval for the drug in Canada, it offers hope to the people with the debilitating illness. [Ottawa Citizen]

🚧 Another delay means the Chaudière Crossing won’t fully reopen until Sept. 29. Spring flooding set back construction on the bridge over the summer. [CBC]

🚨 Residents of Lowertown say the opioid crisis in the neighbourhood is out of control. The concentration of shelters and supervised consumption sites has put the area under extreme pressure not felt elsewhere in the city. [CBC/Radio-Canada]

💰 The Ontario government is threatening to return a parcel of land recently approved for development back to the provincial Greenbelt after the landowner put it up for sale. Because this land and many other parcels were removed from protection, it’s estimated their overall value has increased $8.2 billion. The process for opening the land up is being investigated by the RCMP. [The Canadian Press]

🏚️ The federal government is looking to find a new location for the prime minister’s official residence, deciding 24 Sussex has been neglected for too long and isn’t worth repairing for the purpose. The grounds are also too small for modern security concerns, sources told CBC. [CBC]

🖼️ A protester was arrested yesterday at the National Gallery of Canada for splashing pink paint on Tom Thompson’s painting Northern River. The protester is part of a group demanding the federal government start a national firefighting force to deal with increasing wildfires because of climate change. The painting is under glass, and the group said the paint was washable. [CTV]

  • Most city services will be closed on Monday for Labour Day, and garbage collection will be moved back one day. [City of Ottawa]

  • Sadly, Little Amsterdam Eat + Drink on Dalhousie has closed. [Reddit]

  • Montreal Road will close overnight tonight and tomorrow at the 174 in both directions from 7 pm to 5:30 am as an ongoing part of LRT construction. [City of Ottawa]

  • Some adorable baby snapping turtles were released into the Rideau River last week by volunteers in Old Ottawa East and South. [Twitter]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.


The pizza’s good but the sandwich takes the bow

Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

Capital Eats is written by our food editor Ralf Joneikies.

Genio Ienzi is a man after my own heart. A life-loving man dedicated to bringing pleasure to people through his artfully crafted sandwiches.

Walk into this space and what do you even call it? It doesn’t appear like a restaurant despite the few tables and chairs. I sat at a bar to place my order but the assortment of kitchen tools scattered about the walls and shelves gave it the appearance of a second-hand curio shop.

Yet there was Genio smiling and asking me what I’d like. It turns out that at his restaurant, it’s always best to check Twitter or Instagram to see what’s on offer that day. The menu is never entirely the same.

On this day he had roast beef and an Italian fennel sausage and loving fennel as I do, I immediately gave in.


🏒 Ottawa will be one of the original six cities to host a team in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League. The league’s first 24-game season will begin this year. No team names or arenas have been announced yet. [CTV]

⛳️ The team of Joel Michaud and Brad Kerfootwon the annual Ottawa Sun Scramble, despite a late charge from Andy Rajhathy and Sens star Claude Giroux. [Ottawa Sun]


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Congrats to Adam, who was the only one who knew that last year’s property tax increase was 2.5 percent!

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