Details sparse on Wellington Street closure

Wellington was shutdown after a police incident. But sources told local media it might've been a hoax.

Geoff Sharpe
13 Jun

Good morning!

E-scooters are coming to Ottawa which means you’ll have a new way of getting around if the LRT breaks. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). 

There’s still time to submit your votes for Ottawa’s best park. Voting closes at the end of the week, so get your votes in soon. 

A few of you mentioned we should include something on Italian week. We agree! Stay tuned for some stories later this week. 

Onwards.

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Monday: 24🌡️11 | ⛅

Tuesday: 27🌡️15 | ☀️

Wednesday: 28 🌡️18 | ☀️

Wellington Street closure may have been a hoax

Parliament Hill and the area surrounding it were evacuated on Saturday and Wellington Street between Elgin and Bronson because of a suspicious incident. Now, sources who spoke to CBC claim that the tip which caused the lockdown may have been a hoax. 

What happened: According to CBC, police were investigating a “suspicious incident” after they received information about a threat in the area. Two people and two vehicles of interest have been identified. People who worked in the Parliamentary precinct were notified about a possible threat and told to shelter in place.

  • Last night CBC reported that the lockdown may have been a hoax or a bad tip. No arrests or charges have been announced, and according to CBC sources, none are planned at this time.

Wellington changes: Just a few days ago it was reported by CBC that Ottawa city was in discussions about turning over Wellington Street to the federal government. The changes were prompted by the convoy takeover which cost the city an estimated $37 million.

  • Not an easy change: The Ottawa Citizen reported that Ottawa City manager Steve Kanellakos identified a number of challenges, including underground services, emergency access and rerouting transit vehicles.

Ottawa by the numbers

4.3%: The unemployment rate in May, down from 4.6 percent in April. There were 10,000 new jobs created in May with professional services, real estate and public administration jobs all growing. [OBJ]

$1.25: That was the price of gas one year ago in Ottawa. Gas prices hit 215.9 cents at many stations on Saturday. Experts say it’s partially due to the weak Canadian dollar. Sadly prices are expected to continue to rise. [CTV]

Monkeypox arrives in Ottawa

Friday it was confirmed through lab testing that Ottawa had its first case of monkeypox, according to CityNews.

  • The person who had it has recovered and close contacts were notified.

What is monkeypox: It’s an infectious disease, mostly found in wildlife in Africa. Transmission occurs through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or mucous membranes. Symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that appears on the face a few days after contact. 

Is it a big deal? This is the key question. After COVID, the media and public have a heighted (rightfully so) sense of concern around viruses. But unlike COVID, monkeypox is not as easily spreadable. Transmission, according to CityNews, has only happened between household members. 

  • Experts say we are probably weeks behind in identifying how much it’s spread, mostly due to the limited amount of testing that’s possible, according to CBC. 

Vaccination: It’s recommended by the federal government that people who are at high risk of exposure get vaccinated, according to Global News.

New restaurant Musowu worth a visit for ramen fans

Ramen in a bowl
Musowu Black Tonkotsu Ramen - Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

Food and drink editor Ralf visited a new ramen restaurant called Musowu at 470 Rideau St. near Montreal Road. As far as we can tell, we’re the first place to review the restaurant. 

Here’s an excerpt from his review:

As always, I'm keen to try a number of things. and I ordered the gyoza ($5.50), Japanese fried chicken ($8) and the Black Tonkotsu Ramen ($16.85). I may be the sole patron in the place, but all my food arrives at once. The fried chicken batter appeared somewhat reddish, but I found that there was no spice-heat whatsoever to these moist and perfectly fried and delicious morsels. This was an above-average start with a portion larger than I expected.

Jobs around town

  1. Public relations consultant at the Métis Nation of Ontario 
  2. External communication centre operator at Canadian Security Intelligence Services
  3. Communications manager, government relations at CWB Group
  4. Consultant at StrategyCorp
  5. Councillor's Assistant at City Council
  6. Program manager, social housing at City of Ottawa Housing Services

Council seeks to address renovictions

A proposal coming up at city council could reduce renovictions and help prevent dramatic rent increases that lead to increased unaffordable housing. 

What are renovictions? It’s the act of evicting a tenant, or multiple tenants, to upgrade a unit or building. Usually, this allows the landlord to increase the rental price beyond what they normally could. It’s increasingly becoming a problem in a tight housing market where finding affordable rentals is difficult.

  • In many cases, landlords are accused of letting rental units decline to a point where they’re forced to renovate them as a roundabout way to evict tenants and increase rent. 

According to CBC, the report recommendations include changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and barring demolitions of residential units that are six or more units without a permit.

  • According to CBC, an outright ban on renovictions would be outside the powers of the city. 

Background: The changes were partially brought in as a response to the deaths of four people in Sandy Hill who died after living in a rooming house left to deteriorate to a squalid level, according to the Ottawa Citizen. 

  • Both tenant rights groups and landlords are criticizing the move. According to CBC, one landlord says renovictions is a made-up term, and the Landlord Tenant Board (LRB) already protects against it. ACORN says most people aren’t aware of LRB rules and this policy will do little to combat renovictions, according to CBC.

Housing crisis solution? One creative solution to the housing crisis that’s receiving increased attention is building co-op housing. According to National Observer, rents tend to be lower because co-ops are mission-driven. Most co-ops were built between the 70s to 90s through dedicated federal funding. 

  • Changes could be on the way. The most recent budget includes $1.5 billion for the creation of co-ops, through grants and loans. 

New affordable housing: OBJ reported that the federal government is contributing $6.6 million to affordable housing built at Christ Church Bells Corners.

Bank Street offers multiple Middle Eastern delights

The interior of Sultan Nuts
Sultan Nuts - Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

This is an excerpt from a review of Middle Eastern restaurants and shops along Bank Street that Ralf visited last month. 

The Ottawa Roastery — 2188 Lamira St.

Starting just Southeast of the Billings Bridge shopping centre, you'll make a left turn on Lamira and soon find yourself at this well-respected Ottawa institution. Since 1975 this shop has been providing freshly roasted nuts and coffee to Ottawans who appreciate the freshness of the products they'll find here.

The cashews and almonds are highlights for me as are the flavour-packed, but smaller, Turkish pistachios. Coffees come from Brazil and Colombia and are offered at three different roast levels and they will grind yours to order based on the brewer you use at home. There's such a high rotation of these items that it's difficult to imagine anything being past the sell-by date.

Other items such as Turkish delight, chocolates, date-filled biscuits, teas, dried fruits, gift boxes of baklava and a broad assortment of roasted seeds round out the shopping options.

Stories you might've missed

LRT inquiry update: Train maker Alstom blamed Ottawa City and Rideau Transit Group (RTG) for launching the LRT before the trains were ready. But the city maintains RTG and Alstom never notified them about this. (We will have more on this in Wednesday’s edition.) [CTV]

No flag for you: A request by the Russian Embassy to celebrate Russian Day by raising their flag was denied by the city. Mayor Watson called it “outrageous” especially since the Ukrainian flag has been flown at City Hall since February 24. [CBC]

Rise in youth hospital admissions: CHEO described a harrowing weekend where the emergency department was fully filled with patients. A larger number of young people arriving skyrocketed from things like trauma, injuries, broken bones, viruses and other health issues, and did not have enough beds for many of them.

Conroy Pit closed indefinitely: A popular off-leash dog area will be closed for months in order to clean-up after the storm. Blossom Park, Pine Grove and Pinhey's Forest were the hardest hit. There are concerns that fallen trees may lead to fires. [CBC]

E-scooters launching: The e-scooter program will launch in two weeks, after Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility were provided contracts to operate within. As we outlined last week, the delay for approval came from the city addressing safety concerns, including the speed and location of scooters. [CTV]

New development approved: A development project on the corner of Richmond Road and Island Park Drive was endorsed by Ottawa’s planning committee. The project is a nine-story mixed-use project that includes 85 residential units, retail space and a two-level underground garage. [Ottawa Citizen]

Community highlights

  • Ottawa’s Pirate Island will soon host an inflatable water park [CTV]
  • Napenee students hosted a carnival day to raise money for an office administrator who is battling cancer. The employee has been at the school for 40 years. [CTV]
  • Ottawa’s first kosher brewery is serving up some excellent beers, including a memorable kolsch and a lager.
  • The Ottawa Citizen has some awesome photos of the national Year of the Garden in Ottawa. The goal is to inspire people to “live the garden life”. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Ottawa youth piled into TD Place to take part in the Skills and Drill Day. [CTV]
  • The Redblacks lost to the Blue Bombers 19-17 after a late field goal by Liegghio. 
  • Here’s where masks are still required in Ottawa. [CTV]
  • Want to catch a drink and a meal at a Gatineau patio? Our food editor has his recommended patio spots out in Hull.
  • A new app, caled Too Good to Go, that allows businesses to sell leftover food to reduce food waste, has arrived in Ottawa. [CBC]

Today's top photo

Picture of chateau laurier
Anna

Thanks to Anna for snapping this lovely shot a while ago. No tourists in this photo!

This week we're looking for photos of Ottawa parks. Send us your favourite one and it could be included in our story about Ottawa's best parks to visit in the summer. 

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: 430
  • Deaths: 816
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 11
  • Ottawans In ICU: 0
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 102% 
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 75% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 13% 

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