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Fire at General hospital closes ER, displaces patients

An electrical fire forced some patients out of the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital and closed its ER.

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Good morning!

Overly exciting times at the General Hospital last week as a fire has kept the ER closed and is delaying countless appointments. We’ve got plenty of news on that below. Having spent quite a bit of time there in the past year, I’ve been thinking of the staff and the tremendous job they’ve done under constant pressure.

Hopefully things can get back to normal for them soon.

I’ve got some bad news about the newsletter. The dreaded + and - have returned to the weather report. Afraid the nights are getting cold again, and that’s just the way it goes.

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

Consider forwarding this to your friends so they can discover the Lookout. New to the Lookout? Sign-up for free.


Monday: +4 🌡️ -4 | 🌦/❄️

Tuesday: +3 🌡️ -3 | ☀️

Wednesday: +3 🌡️ -5 | 🌦/❄️


Lansdowne 2.0 vote: At a joint meeting of the finance and planning committees, councillors will vote on the new Lansdowne 2.0 proposal Thursday. We dove deep into growing opposition to the plan last Friday, and how the proposed second redevelopment may not be approved.


Hospital fire closes General ER, displaces patients

Robert Hiltz/Ottawa Lookout

What happened: People are being asked to avoid the Ottawa Hospital General Campus and go to other emergency rooms, days after a fire in a power vault threw the hospital into chaos. The

it was still running under a code orange and grey, meaning it was still under disaster and power issue conditions Sunday.

  • Smoke and fire damage from the fire meant patients had to be moved, discharged, or brought to different hospitals.

The damage: The fire was quickly put out, but smoke spread from the fourth floor upward to the eighth. Putting out the fire also caused a lot of water damage, but clearing the air was the main priority.

  • “In total, floors 4 to 8 were impacted and it was predominantly because of the smoke.… The big issue has been with the smoke that has filled the units. We now have to make sure that they are all decontaminated,” hospital CEO Cameron Love said according to CTV.

Saving the smallest: Seventeen babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, many of them weighing under a kilogram, had to be brought down the stairs by firefighters to CHEO next door. Four women in labour, and several who had just given birth, also had to be brought out of the hospital down the stairs by fire crews, the Ottawa Fire Service said.

Other transfers: Patients in the emergency room had to be transferred to both the Civic and Queensway Carleton hospitals, CBC reported. The hospital said it hopes to start accepting ambulances slowly, but no timeline is set as they continue the clean up. The hospital had to transfer 96 patients to other parts of the hospital, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Next steps: The hospital was calling patients with appointments this week to cancel appointments. The hospital said those appointments will be rescheduled, once things return to normal.


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🤕 4-6: The number of weeks Sens’ defenceman Thomas Chabot will likely miss with a broken hand. He was injured blocking a shot last week. [Field Level Media]


LRT Stage 2 needs millions in new funding

What happened: Delayed by months in all directions, the Stage 2 expansion will require tens of millions in more funding. Already through $172 million of a $178-million contingency fund, city councillors will be asked this week to approve another $152 million in funding, a city staff report said.

  • “The remaining budget will be insufficient to deal with expected remaining pressures,” the report said. If the finance committee passes the measure, The project’s overall budget will increase $42 million, and the contingency budget will rise $110 million.

Where the money went: The contingency budget was spent faster than expected. According to staff, here how it was spent:

  • Stage 1 lessons learned and design improvements - $48 million

  • Safety, accessibility, and regulatory changes - $41 million 

  • Design changes and scope increases - $28 million

  • Unexpected issues and infrastructure protection - $51 million

There could be more: This may not be the last request for more money for the troubled project. With the southern, eastern, and western extensions to the LRT already months behind schedule, there is the possibility of further cost increases.

  • “At present, there is a further pressure of up to $53 million for residual risks and forecast costs over the 2025-2027 period based on current known information; however, it is recommended to hold this additional request until further progress is made on the Stage 2 program,” city staff said.

The finance committee will meet Tuesday to vote on the measure. If passed, it would then go to the full city council.


Check out the new open positions in Ottawa.

  1. Coordinator at the Ottawa Library

  2. Communication specialist at Equans

  3. Parliamentary affairs advisor at the Senate of Canada

  4. Aircraft and helicopter maintenance floor supervisor at Select Aviation College

  5. Director of photography at Flagship Media Records

Local jobs are selected by the Lookout team and are not paid ads, unless specifically noted.


🍺 Next year the city may launch a pilot program to allow drinking alcohol in parks. The move would follow Toronto, which voted to extend its parks drinking program earlier this month. [CBC]

🚨 A 70-year-old man and his dog were killed early Friday morning in Hull by an alleged drunk driver. A 29-year-old man will be charged with impaired driving causing death. [CBC]

🪧 A coalition of Quebec public sector unions rejected a new offer by the provincial government, making a strike more likely. The unions, representing about 430,000 workers will walk out for one day Nov. 6, and more strikes are planned if no deal is reached. [The Canadian Press]

💐 Matthew Perry, famed comedian and Friends actor, died this weekend at his home in Los Angeles. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who went to school with Perry in Ottawa in their youth, and Tom Green and many more mourned his passing. [CTV]

🎃 Trick or Treat with the Mayor appeared to be a big success, with plenty of families turning out to get some treats and whimsy at City Hall to support the Ottawa Food Bank. Unfortunately, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe couldn’t stick around for the full event, as he had an important coin to toss at the Redblacks game. The team lost 27-22 to the Argos, finishing the season with a terrible 4-14 record. [Twitter/Ottawa Sun]


What to do this week


📖 Ottawa Reads YA - Kelley Armstrong, Friday 7 pm: Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes to Ottawa to talk about her latest YA novbel SOmeone is Always Watching and adult novel Hemlock Island. A live Q&A and autograph session. At Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr. Free.


🍷 Orléans Cork and Fork Festival, Thursday to Saturday: An upscale event with local wines and food. With live music, workshops, chef’s challenge and more. Ticket prices vary by event.


🟩 Ecology Ottawa Eco Gala, Saturday 6:30 pm: A night to celebrate local environmental action in the city. MCed by former journalist Joanne Chianello with a keynote speech by Dr. Ingrid Waldron. At the National Gallery of Canada. Tickets $80.


🎥 Video 101 - Stop Animation Workshop, Saturday 1 pm: A workshop run by the experts at Henry’s on how to shoot stop-motion animation. From storyboarding to editing, learn all the fundamentals. At Henry’s, 267 Bank St. Free.


🍾 NOIR Art Festival Opening Gala, Thursday 6 pm: Opening a four-day festival, this Day of the Dead themed gala is in support of the Queensway Carleton Hospital, in coordination with the Mexican Embassy and the Day of the Dead festival. Proceeds go to the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. At the Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park. Tickets $141.

  • Looks like you’ll be waking up to a bit of snow this morning, the first of the season. [CTV]

  • One local brewer has a brut, champagne-style beer you’ll want to pick up as a gift — and probably for yourself, too.

  • At long last Waldo has been found. At Tunney’s Pasture, of all places. [Reddit]

  • Looking for real Sriracha? Kowloon Market in Chinatown has a decent supply. [Reddit]

  • (Insiders) In Gatineau there is a wine bar and bistro that sets a high bar for the experience of both dining and drinking. Our editor can’t stop raving about it!

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


Congrats to everyone who got last week’s Ottawa Wordle. The answer was RAINY, like the weekend weather.

Many tiny patients from the General’s neonatal ICU had to be taken down the stairs by firefighters and brought to CHEO because of the fire. For this week’s Ottawa Quiz, we want to know what floor is the NICU on? The first five people to write in with the correct answer will get their names mentioned in the next issue.

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