City braces for new vehicle protest

A new protest is rolling into town this weekend, and officials are bracing for its arrival by closing off parts of downtown to protesters.

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Good morning!

It’s been a balmy and blustery April week. Almost the time of the year to take the balcony hammock out. Alas, not quite yet (as you’ll see when you get to the weather).

Big news here at the Lookout. We’re close to hitting a huge milestone here of 400 Insider members. We love that so many of you want to get to know, and enjoy this city even more.

Right now we’re 39 members away from 400. To celebrate this milestone, we’re giving away 39 discounted memberships to our Lookout Insider membership. Scroll down to learn more and get the discount link.

Right then, on with the newsletter.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Wednesday: +6 🌡️ -3 | 🌧/❄️

Thursday: +12 🌡️ -1 | ☀️

Friday: +13 🌡️ 0 | ☀️

The ‘Thunder’ Rolling Into Town

Thunderstruck: Ottawa police are preparing for the arrival of a motorcycle protest with a “vehicle exclusion zone” downtown. Officials are trying to head off a repeat of the winter’s convoy disaster. As many as 1,000 motorcycles and other vehicles roll are expected to roll into town Friday.

  • “No motor vehicles involved in any event (rally, protest, demonstration) are permitted inside this zone. However, the roads are not closed. Residential and business traffic, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and public transit are permitted,” the city said in a statement.

The actual effect on traffic isn’t yet clear, or how it will be enforced in a way that still lets citizens through with their vehicles. The city says to monitor its traffic map and traffic updates Twitter account over the weekend.

Not impressed: One person who isn’t impressed with the plan is Coun. Catherine McKenney, who said on Twitter little seemed to have been learned from the previous protest.

  • “I am appalled at the lack of understanding from senior city staff [and Ottawa Police Serivce] of the danger impacts to residents in Centretown who bore the brunt of the last illegal occupation that was grossly mismanaged,” McKenney said.

The councillor posted a map they said was released by organizers, which instructed protestors to park on a number of side streets off Bronson Avenue.

From the organizer: One of the motorcycle convoy’s leaders said because of the city’s changes, the weekend would turn into a mess. “Thousands of people are coming to the city. There could be over a thousand bikes coming to your city. We had a route nailed. … Now it’s going to be a free-for-all,” Neil Sheard said according to the Canadian Press.

Protest plan: Sheard told CFRA the plan was for a series of drive-bys downtown, and a ceremony at the National War Memorial. Part of the motivation of the protest is the way the Memorial was—their words here—desecrated because a fence was put around it by police to protect it from the urine and general disrespect of convoy protestors this winter.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • 2,845: The number of open health-care jobs in the city, six times what it was in 2015. Nurses’ unions blame a law capping pay increases for health care workers. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • 90%: The percentage of bee colonies many honey producers are finding dead as the season begins. [CBC]

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Track Laid For Stage 2

LRT progress: They’re officially laying track for the eastern leg of the LRT extension, which will take it all the way to Trim Road. A variety of dignitaries showed up to write their names on stone, before the first bit of track was ceremonially laid. Mayor Jim Watson tweeted the line will be in service by 2024—assuming things go to plan.

The plan: The city expects to lay about 25 kilometres of track by the end of the year, according to the Ottawa Citizen. There will be five new stations, which will mean people in Beacon Hill, Blackburn Hamlet, and Orleans will be within five kilometres of the LRT. An update on the project’s progress is expected Friday. The eastern extension is supposed to be completed by Nov. 25, 2024, according to the Citizen.

Meanwhile… In the west end, things aren’t so rosy. There’s currently no date for when the LRT from Tunney’s Pasture to Moodie Drive will open, according to CTV. The construction company building the line wouldn’t tell the broadcaster if this half of the line would be running in 2025, when it’s currently scheduled.

Changed by Nathan Cirillo

Life-changing: She was nearby when Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot at the National War Memorial, and it had a profound effect on Margaret Lehre. The 68-year-old nurse told the Ottawa Citizen the tragedy “galvanized me into action.” She has since volunteered with Doctors Without Borders and spent time with the Red Cross in the early part of the pandemic at devastated Quebec nursing homes.

Donating a kidney: In October 2020, she donated a kidney. Since then, she’s become a Transplant Ambassador with the Ottawa Hospital, to encourage others to donate organs if they’re able.

  • “I think it is just something so tangible that you can do without risk to yourself that has such a huge impact on a person’s quality of life. I don’t think people appreciate what a difference it makes on that person’s day-to-day quality of life,” Lehre said to the Citizen.

That Friend Who Knows All The Coolest Restaurants?

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That could be you. No seriously.

With a Lookout Insider membership, you’ve got a leg up when it comes to choosing the next night out on the town.

Our weekly members-only newsletter covers Ottawa’s best (and least-known) restaurants, with dishes you should try, memorable date night recommendations, and the best Ottawa events.

This isn’t just a listicle. Each restaurant is visited and reviewed by our food editor, so you know it’s high quality.

And until Saturday, we’re offering 25 percent off a Lookout Insider membership to the next 39 people who join. But hurry, these discounts will disappear quickly.

Get 25% off a yearly membership or 25% off a monthly membership for your first year — but hurry, last time we ran a discount we ran out in a few days.

Stories You Might Have Missed

Magic mushrooms for sale: A shop in Ottawa is selling psychedelic mushrooms to protest unjust drug laws. The Golden Teacher has set up downtown and a second store, Shroomyz, is set to open in a few days on Preston. It’s currently illegal to possess, sell, or produce the fungus. [CBC]

Quebec tax crackdown: Revenu Quebec in the midst of a years-long crackdown on residents who claim an Ontario address to avoid paying the higher taxes in la belle province. The problem seems especially focused in the Outaouais, where neighbours are reporting each other for having Ontario licence plates. [Radio-Canada]

Saved from under a tree: A man in his 70s was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. He had been cutting a tree when it fell and pinned him. Several firefighters were needed to lift the tree off the man, before he could be treated by paramedics and flown to hospital. [CTV]

SIU clears Ottawa cops: Two officers were cleared of wrongdoing when a man died in custody last year. The man was arrested after a drug search, and while in jail went into medical distress. He died in hospital of an overdose. [CTV]

Community Highlights

  • Don’t forget to renew your plates. It might not cost a renewal fee, but you still need to do it every one or two years. If you don’t, and cross into Quebec it might cost you a fine of almost $500. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • The plan for Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal visit has been released. The two will be in Ottawa on May 18! [CTV]

  • What does it take to bring people back into the office? Minto’s answer is to make people want to come back in. [OBJ]

  • Here’s a nice story about how the Orleans board game store Red Dragon became a community hub. [CBC]

  • Calling all Little Jo Berry fans! The bakery is now offering frozen take-home options so you can bake that goodness at home. [Apt613]

  • Doing something fun and exciting doesn’t need to break the bank. Narcity has a list of things to do around Ottawa that won’t break the bank.

Today's Top Photo

Ron Dennis

Today’s great photo landed in our inbox from reader Ron Dennis, who sends us this shot of the Man with Two Hats sculpture on a lovely day don at Dow’s Lake.

Have a shot of our city you want to share with readers? Send it in and we’ll feature it in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 1,719 (+91)

  • Deaths: 760 (+0)

  • Ottawans In Hospital: 37

  • Ottawans In ICU: 4

  • Acute Beds Occupied: 101%

  • ICU Beds Occupied: 70%

  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 23%

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Written by managing editor Robert Hiltz and food and wine editor Ralf Joneikies