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Nine year old dies at Britannia Beach, second drowning of the year

A child died at a city beach, while lifeguards won’t start work until June 15.

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Good morning!

Hot enough for ya? Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for today, with temperatures expected to rise above 30 C, and to stay at 20 C overnight. 

It’s important to stay cool, especially because earlier in the year people are not used to high heat. Also, it’s probably best to avoid the city’s beaches. There are no lifeguards on duty yet this year, and there’s been a second tragic drowning. 

Thankfully, the heat shouldn’t last too long, as it’s expected to cool off and rain for the next several days.

We’ve got plenty of news to get to, so let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor


Wednesday: 32 🌡️ 20 | ☀️

Thursday: 25 🌡️ 15 | 🌧

Friday: 20 🌡️ 13 | 🌧


Nine year old drowns at Britannia Beach

What happened: A nine-year-old boy is dead after being pulled from the water unresponsive at Britannia Beach, according to the Ottawa Police Service. Bystanders pulled the boy from the water and attempted CPR until emergency crews could arrive. 

  • Taken away by ambulance, the boy was declared dead in hospital.

It’s the second death at Britannia this year. Lifeguards aren’t scheduled to start work until June 15. With temperatures high, and beaches unsupervised, the city insteads recommends going to an indoor pool or splash pad to cool off.

  • Britannia, Mooney’s Bay, and Petrie Island beaches will all have supervision in mid-June. Most of Westboro beach will remain closed for construction, with a small unsupervised section open for the summer.

Funding issues: City council only funds lifeguards for 72 days per year, and while council does not specify when the beaches must open for the year, it has directed that beaches must stay open until the fourth Sunday in August. This year, 72 days before the fourth Sunday in August (Aug. 25) is June 14.

Longer than before: This latest directive began with a 2016 staff report looking at ways to extend the beach season. The regulations used to be that beaches would open on the third Saturday in June, and close on the third Sunday in August. That would give between 58 and 65 days of supervised beach time depending on the year, staff wrote at the time.

  • The report was requested by the late Diane Deans, who was then chair of the community and protective services committee.

Later that month, city council unanimously approved a plan to extend beach season to 72 days per year, a one-week increase. At the time it was estimated that the additional week of open beaches cost $31,000 at the time.

  • “The city is heartbroken by the tragic news that a young boy drowned at Britannia Beach yesterday. Our thoughts are with the child’s family and we would like to share our deepest condolences during this very difficult time for them,” Tracey McGarry, the city’s director of complexes, aquatics and specialty services, said in a statement.

Staffing issues: There are other problems facing the lifeguard program. The city uses mostly students to work as lifeguards over the summer. 

  • “Due to the school year schedule and staff availability for pre-season training and work, the programming hours at outdoor pools and beaches are scheduled within a timeframe that the majority of lifeguards are available to work,” McGarry said.

Open elsewhere: In Toronto, city beaches officially opened June 1, with lifeguards at 12 locations across that city. Closer to home, the NCC opened the River House for the season, with lifeguards on duty 12 hours a day, from 7 am to 7 pm. Other NCC beaches do not have lifeguards until June 14, but they’re on duty until Sept. 2.

The beach at Meech Lake is temporarily closed because of the appearance of blue-green algae, CTV reported.

The Lookout’s view: The problem of not enough lifeguards is not an unsolvable one. Some of it is just money. But with more warm days per year, the city may not be able to rely on student labour to make up the bulk of its lifeguards. 

  • Ultimately this is in council’s hands. They can either move to give more money to the department to expand lifeguarding hours, or, if the recent years are any indication, people will continue to drown.

Part of adapting to climate change is accepting that things are not what they once were. There was a time when 72 days per year of supervised swimming might have been enough. But there was also a time when you could count on a skateable Rideau Canal for weeks or even months out of the year. The world has changed, it’s time we change too.

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🚂 $6.2 million: The operating deficit at OC Transpo after the first three months of the year. Ridership, and therefore fare revenue, remains below city estimates. [CTV]

🏛️ $2.6 million: The city is giving up on collecting 71,835 unpaid tickets issued between 1989 and 1995. [CTV]

🎟️ 10: At least this many people have reported a scheme to Kingston Police after being cheated out of money for fake Taylor Swift tickets. [CTV]


🩺 A man from Orléans is in a Kafka-like spiral, as he’s spent the past five years trying to get his red OHIP card replaced without success. [CBC]

🏛️ The city’s service centre in Kanata will close June 28. Residents are being directed to the centre in Nepean at Ben Franklin Place, or the West Carleton centre in Carp, open only on Wednesdays. [City of Ottawa]

💐 A one-year-old girl has died after a devastating crash on the 417 near Carp Road. A vehicle crossed the median and hit oncoming traffic. Six others were taken to hospital. No charges have been laid by police. [CBC]

🚢 Despite pleas from the local Liberal MP, cruise companies in Kingston don’t expect any compensation from the federal government over damage to the LaSalle Causeway bridge caused by repair work. The damage has left tour and other boats in harbour, unable to get out for two months and counting. [CBC]

🚨 Police are investigating after a man was found dead next to his bicycle just outside of St. Isidore. The cause of death of the 41-year-old man has not been released. [CTV]

🏗️ The Carlingwood Mall has been bought up by a pair of developers who plan to eventually turn unused parts of the site into housing development. The new owners said the mall will continue to operate and all leases will continue as they are. [CTV]

🚨 Five people were injured in a head-on crash Tuesday morning on Highway 7 between Carleton Place and Perth. One person was critically injured and another was in very serious condition. [CTV]



Today’s house is pretty straightforward, a single family home with a decent yard in an older section of Barrhaven. It has four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and an unfinished but insulated basement (with a rough-in for another bathroom). This has all the makings of a lovely family home.

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. 


Listings are provided by OttawaGigs.ca, the best place to discover live music in Ottawa. Check out Ottawagigs.ca for full listings across the city.

Rory Taillon, Thursday 12 pm: The summer series of free shows from Sparks Street BIA and OMIC kicks off with the Ottawa-based singer-songwriter. At The Shed, 190 Sparks St. FREE Show.

Chris Landry, Thursday 8 pm: A country songwriter showcase featuring Chris Landry, Fraser Wayne, and Kevin Schofield, a.k.a. The Tennessee Cree. At Live! on Elgin, 220 Elgin St. Tickets $15 adv, $20 on door.

Lapelúda, Friday 9 pm: A rich blend of indie-folk and world music from the Colombian/Québecois artist. At Art House Cafe, 555 Somerset St. W. Tickets $15. 

Gentle Sparrow, Sunday 3 pm: 4-time JUNO and 8-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee brings his soulful, hypnotic playing. At Irene’s, 885 Bank St. Tickets $15.

A Wilhelm Scream, Sunday 7:30 pm: Ultra-technical melodic punk rock outta New Bedford, Massachusetts. At the 27 Club, 27 York St. Tickets $20.


😷 The provincial government will shut down wastewater monitoring for infectious diseases like COVID and the flu. Funding for the program will end July 31. The government did not provide a reason to researchers in the city or at public health units across the province why it was ending the program. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏰 The Hudson’s Bay Company, Rio-Can and several other building owners are opposing a council committee’s intention to designate buildings on their stretch of Rideau Street as heritage properties. They say the decision would hamper future development by putting preservation requirements on facades and other parts of the structures. The buildings were built between 1875 and 1918, and represent a variety of styles from what was once the city’s premier shopping district. [CBC]

🛬 A family of three, including an infant, have escaped from Gaza and made it to Ottawa. They’re some of only a few dozen people to have managed to make it to Canada on a limited visa program for refugees escaping the war. [CBC]

✂️ Algonquin College will be getting rid of its hairstyling and esthetician programs for the 2025 school year. Despite the popularity of both programs, the college said they were too expensive to run any longer. [CTV]


A little bit of Spain in Prescott at Little Barcelona

I first spoke with owner Marc Segu Gomez last year as I was writing a profile on his import business then known as El Rebost. That business now goes by the name of European Quality Foods.

His range of products from Spain is first rate and he is also the sole importer of what has been named the world’s finest Iberico ham: Joselito.

For those who’ve not had the pleasure, enjoying this ham is a singular taste experience and many people claim that they can actually feel the ham melting on their tongues. It also has a substantial price so I was honoured upon walking in, when Marc carved a welcome slice for me to enjoy.

But now, Gomez has opened up a restaurant. I arrived on the first day of a soft opening, a period during which a restaurant takes feedback from the public and works out any kinks in operations.

  • Looking for summer activities for your kids? The Rideau Sports Club still has spaces available in their summer sports and tennis camps! [RSC]

  • Subscribe to The Starglow Weekly to get the TLDR on all things purposeful parenting, help lessen screentime, and find that balance we're all seeking. [Sponsored]

  • Daniel Alfredsson will officially return behind the bench for the Senators this season as an assistant coach, along with new hires Mike Yeo and Nolan Baumgartner. [Sportsnet]

  • That is one very good, very fast dog. [Reddit]

  • Fear not, those big hornets you might be seeing are just the European hornets, which are smaller and far less destructive than the northern hornets known as the “murder hornet.” [CBC]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


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