Food Bank short on food

The Food Bank had to cancel volunteer shifts because there wasn’t enough food to sort, plus should the city pedestrianize more streets?

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Good morning!

Well, good news for parents out there. The city says the private contractor it has hired to run its recreation registration system has sorted out the glitches, and registration is good to go tonight at 9 pm.

Hopefully everything goes well. Good luck to everyone! You can find the registration link here.

And, alas, a correction. In the last issue I mentioned the man arrested in the Nation River Lady case had allegedly killed his girlfriend 75 years ago, when I meant it happened in 1975. The Lookout regrets the error.

Why don’t we get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Food Bank low on food, overflow shelters to stay open

Ottawa Food Bank/Handout

What happened: There were so few donations to the Food Bank recently that it had to cancel shifts for volunteers, CTV reported. High inflation, particularly on grocery items, means people are donating less than they usually would.

  • “Most of our shelves are pretty empty, so we're spending so much money in order to make sure there's enough food in the community.… One hundred dollars does not get you very much food anymore and we know it's hard for families to pick up a little bit more for the Ottawa Food Bank and put it into a red cage,” Food Bank CEO Rachael Wilson told the broadcaster.

Trying to keep up: The Food Bank spent $900,000 to replenish its stocks so it has enough to feed people in need. Overall inflation has cooled, but last month food inflation was still 8.5 percent year-over-year.

Extending shelters: The city has indefinitely paused its plan to close temporary overflow shelters because they’re still home to about 130 people each night, CBC reported. Emergency shelters like the Ottawa Mission have stayed too full for the city to shutdown its pandemic-era centres in the Dempsey Community Centre and Bernard Grandmaître Arena.

  • Staff have been able to find housing for 375 people who have come through the temporary shelters, but there are more people using the shelters now than there were just two months ago.

Recreation affects: Using the two centres for shelters has meant the people of the nearby lower-income neighbourhoods are without many indoor programs. The shelters mean that kids in more vulnerable neighbourhoods are without indoor recreation prospects.

Programs for youth in the Alta Vista centre, which is near community housing, had to bus kids to other centres — with much lower participation. In Vanier, one of their only arenas has been unavailable for three years, something Coun. Stéphanie Plante criticized:

  • “You're saying … children in richer, more affluent areas, you don't have to contend with these, the social ills that are affecting every single city in Canada, because we're only going to ask the poorest people to have to grapple with this,” she told CBC.

Plante suggested the city should be renting blocks of hotel rooms at an underused hotel in somewhere like Kanata, instead of putting the burden on less-wealthy neighbourhoods.

Reopening: The city said in February it would reopen the centres to recreation this month. Now it does not know when they will reopen for recreation. Plante told CBC she didn’t expect the arena to be usable for skating and hockey this winter.


🩻 75%: The amount of public health costs the province announced it will cover. The other 25 percent will be paid by cities. It’s a reversal for the government which in 2019 dropped the amount it would cover to 70 percent, with a plan to only cover half the cost in the future. [Twitter/CTV]


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😷 The family of a Barrhaven woman with cancer is calling for stricter and clearer masking policies in the hospital, after she contracted COVID while in the hospital with pneumonia. [Ottawa Citizen]

🛣️ The location for Ryan Reynolds Way is finally complete in a new Orléans subdivision, near Brian Cobourn and Mer Bleue. [CTV]

🚌 The school bus authority covering Eastern Ontario said there may be disruptions at the start of the school year for students in the Upper Canada District School Board and Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. [CTV]

🏢 A three-building condo development in Little Italy has been cancelled, according to an email from the city obtained by the Lookout. The project on Rochester Street was set to include a grocery store. The builder is “re-evaluating the development concept and feasibility” and will reapply for permission with a new plan when they are ready, the email said. Capital Current wrote about the proposed development previously.


Councillors want more streets turned over to pedestrians

What happened: Coun. Sean Devine is proposing a pilot program to close off more streets to traffic next summer to boost businesses and make them more liveable, CBC reported. The proposal is inspired by how Montreal treats its city streets, where that city closes at least 10 streets every summer to vehicles.

  • Devine proposed closing sections of Wellington West, Elgin, Somerset, and Bank as possibilities for the pilot.

Some skepticism: Two downtown councillors who support the idea in theory, aren’t sure a pilot project next year is going to fly. Coun. Ariel Troster said there are still so many major transportation issues to work out, an expansive new pilot could be too soon. Coun. Shawn Menard told CBC convincing the people of the city to open up more space for pedestrians is difficult.

  • “There's a lot of people in this city that hate it when you take away any driving space, so that's a difficult battle to fight,” he told the broadcaster

How walkable is the city? Twitter user Pat Bickerton made a series of maps showing how walkable the city is, by finding out how close residents are to certain amenities. About half of residents can walk to a supermarket in 15 minutes, while 81 percent are close enough to walk to their nearest restaurant in that time, his maps show. About 43 percent of residents are within five minutes of a bus stop.

Making roads safer

Slowing down: Quebec, meanwhile, is increasing fines and penalties for drivers who injure vulnerable road users. Speed limits in school zones will be reduced to 30 km/h across the province, and the use of photo radar will increase, CBC reported.

Should Ottawa pedestrianize more streets in the summer?

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Have you ever wanted to live in a penthouse? What about in a penthouse in the tallest building in the city? Well, today is your lucky day because the penthouse in the Claridge Icon building in Little Italy is up for sale. Two bedrooms, three bathrooms, an office, and a fantastic kitchen are all bonuses on top of the incredible view from the highest perch in the city.

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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.


Come see a comedic thriller roller coaster ride at the Classic Theatre Festival

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This Tony Award Best Play winner is an ingenious story of a mystery writer whose obsession with the inventions and deceptions of fiction and his fascination with games and game-playing sets off a very dangerous and deadly chain of events.

  • BroadwayWorld writes: "there is truly never a dull moment on stage" in this outstanding production.

The Classic Theatre Festival performs Sleuth 8 times weekly at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave.) until August 27, with tickets at:, (613) 695-9330


🚴‍♀️ In internal emails to the city, the NCC accused municipal officials of “methodological errors” and “miscalculations” in the way it was counting active-use traffic on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. The NCC has repeatedly asked to jointly collect data on the project with the city, requests the city has ignored. The war of words spearheaded by the mayor’s office appears to be causing real tension between the two bureaucracies. [Press Progress]

🏳️‍🌈 Capital Pride is expecting a big turnout for this weekend’s parade, with more than 10,000 marchers expected to participate. The festival comes at a time when LGBTQ rights are increasingly under threat. [CBC]

🚨 Two people were gravely injured in a stabbing attack in Centretown. Both were taken to hospital in critical condition, while police said a 61-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and other offences. [CTV]

🚒 Firefighters saved a man and his dog from the Deschênes Rapids on Monday who became lodged on a rock shelf in a boat. Both the man and the dog were wearing life vests. [CBC]

🔥 Calling for a national firefighting service to combat the effects of climate change, three people were arrested for blocking Rideau Street during a sit-in protest during the Monday morning rush. [CTV]

🌊 The Ottawa Riverkeeper is asking Hydro Québec to add an eel ladder to the Carillon Generating Station on the Ottawa River to give the endangered American eels the chance to survive. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏘️ The housing crisis is making it tough for students to find affordable rental housing in the city. Rents for a single room in a shared apartment are running at $900 or more. [CTV]

🚓 There are few details available after a passerby found a body in the Rideau Canal. Police are investigating. [CTV]

  • Summer evenings at the Experimental Farm really are great! [Reddit]

  • If you’re looking for a great Chinese takeout spot, this new Vanier restaurant is a great choice.

  • Did you buy a black romper with sunflowers on it at the Orléans Value Village? It was donated by mistake, and the owner would really like to get it back because of its sentimental value. [Reddit]

  • Do you have room for a snuggly 17-year-old diabetic cat in your life? If so, Smokey could use a new home. [Reddit]

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Wild parsnip is here to stay, what the city is doing to minimize its effects

Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout

This story is available for Insider City Hall members. Consider becoming a member today and support independent journalism that investigates and explores the issues happening at city hall and across Ottawa

You may have seen the signs around town, “CAUTION WILD PARSNIP.” It’s a dangerous invasive plant that's causing trouble across town. To find out more, we spoke with Christoper Paquette, program manager, operational research and projects at the City of Ottawa, about what they’re doing, and what you can do to combat wild parsnip.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Ottawa Lookout: To start, why don’t we go over what wild parsnip is and why it’s so terrible?

Christopher Paquette: In 2015, the ministry identified wild parsnip on the noxious weed list — alongside some of the other culprits like poison ivy, poison sumac, things like that — because there's a risk to public interaction with the plant. It's a perennial plant that’s non-native to Ontario and it’s a UV modifier. So the oil on the plant is what's the most dangerous part. The best way I describe it to people is it's like putting a magnifying glass on your skin, that's what that oil does. It causes the UV rays to enter your skin and to essentially cause blisters and pain on contact.


🏒 Sens defenceman Jakob Chychrun hopes a new offseason approach will mean a healthier regular season. [Ottawa Sun]

🏟️ Once again the Redblacks lost a game in the final minutes. Ottawa lost to the Montreal Alouettes 25-24 at home. [Ottawa Sun]

🏈 On the plus side, the first overall pick Dontae Bull got to make his first start for the Redblacks. [Ottawa Sun]


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