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OC Transpo hoping more federal workers will buy passes

OC Transpo can’t sell bus passes like they used to.

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Indigenous Experiences

Good morning!

A slightly amusing thing happened at the end of the press conference announcing the city’s new ambassador of the night. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe took particular exception to the references to Ottawa as the city that fun forgot.

“It's an insult, we shouldn't be repeating it,” he said, according to CTV. “We should be proud of our city, we should be proud of the people that work in the nightlife economy.”

It’s especially funny, because night mayor Mathieu Grondin directly references the joke, by telling reporters, “I think Ottawa is the city that fun is about to remember.”

A more confident city wouldn’t be bothered by these kind of jokes, there is plenty that makes Ottawa a livable and enjoyable place, it does not have to be all things to all people.

And, let’s be honest, by naming a city bureaucrat in charge of uplifting the city’s nighttime culture, this is not exactly a city shedding its image as a stuffy government town.

Anyway, there’s plenty to get to, so let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor


Friday: 23 🌡️ 10 | ⛈️

Saturday: 23 🌡️ 10 | ☀️

Sunday: 26 🌡️ 16 | 🌤

Monday: 30 🌡️ 20 | 🌧


OC Transpo hoping more federal workers will buy passes

What happened: OC Transpo is pinning its hopes that a federal government order to bring workers back into the office a third day per week will increase sales of monthly passes. The agency is selling less than a third as many adult passes as it did in 2019, according to a presentation to the transit commission.

  • The city is selling other types of passes at 99% of pre-pandemic levels.

No hybrid passes: Last year, OC Transpo had seemed interested in offering hybrid passes that would bridge the gap between a full monthly pass and other options for workers going into the office only a few times a week. But in April, transit general manager Renée Amilcar said that was no longer something they were looking at.

City of Ottawa/Handout

End of the pilot: The test of on-demand weekend buses in Blackburn Hamlet will come to an end June 23, as the software contract will come to an end. OC Transpo considers the pilot project a success, and will be buying 10 new minibuses, which will arrive in 2025, and looking for a new software contract to continue and expand the program.

Summer closure: A big section of the LRT from Tunney’s Pasture to Rideau Station will be closed July 15 to 28 for maintenance. Crews will once again be dealing with water seepage into the tunnel. As part of the work, they’ll install sump pumps at Lyon and Parliament stations, and apply more sealant through leakier parts of the tunnel.

During the shutdown, maintenance workers will be deep cleaning many of the stations, everything from the public art to glass above the tracks. They’ll also make repairs to concrete and tile that’s been damaged.

  • For the shutdown period, R1 replacement buses will run from Tunney’s to Hurdman stations, E1 from Blair to Lyon will run all day, and trains will run from uOttawa to Blair.

Still behind: Overall ridership is still lagging behind OC Transpo’s projections for the year. In May, there were 5.3 million trips, 3.6% below the expected 5.5 million. It’s 25.4% below the 7.2 million trips in May 2019.

More delays: The eastern extension of the Confederation Line will not open until at least next summer, CBC reported. This marks yet another delay in LRT construction. The eastern extension was initially planned to open in 2022, but that's been pushed back a few times. Last winter, OC Transpo expected a spring 2025 opening, but now that’s been pushed back again until at least summer 2025.

  • Transit general manager Renée Amilcar told the transit commission it could “maybe” be July or August, but wouldn’t be pinned down on an exact date, and said she was uncomfortable being too specific, according to the broadcaster.

New routes: OC Transpo will begin installing new route signs at some 5,000 stops across the city, as it gets ready to transition to a rejigged system when the north-south Trillium Line opens later this year. Covered signs will be installed at many stops, and additional signage will go up at stops that are closing or moving.

  • It’s part of a system reform that (hopefully) will see more buses running on high-traffic routes, and the removal and transformation of routes that get less traffic. In all, buses will run about 3% less.

Canada Day: OC Transpo will be free July 1 for Canada Day. All LRT stations will be open, but the agency recommends getting off at Lyon Station for events at LeBreton Flats. Pimisi Station will be open, but access will be limited because of street closures. Extra trains will be running, including after the fireworks.

City of Ottawa/Handout

City of Ottawa/Handout

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival 

June 21-23 at Mādahòkì Farm - 4420 W Hunt Club Rd., and at Partner Venues throughout June

Experience and celebrate Indigenous culture.  Savour Indigenous foods; register for craft workshops, shop for authentic Indigenous  merchandise and experience Indigenous culture through interactive activities, live performances, storytelling and family fun.   

Register for cooking classes hosted by Inuk Chef Trudy Metcalfe Coe and Chef Tawnya Brant a Top Chef Canada contestant from  Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. 

Purchase lunch or dinner tickets for Chef Tawnya’s Indigenous Day Long Table Feast with performance by Juno and SSIMAs winner Logan Staats.  Don’t miss Glow-In-The-Dark Pow Wow hosted by Juno and SSIMAs winner DJ Shub with multi-award-winning, Northern Cree who are also host drum for the annual International Competition Pow Wow.  Saturday June 22nd a spectacular 250-drone show will light up the night sky.

FREE ADMISSION and Convenient Park & Ride Shuttle from Algonquin College to Mādahòkì Farm.  No public parking onsite. 


🏥 424: The number of hospital patients who have been moved to long-term care homes against their will thanks to a 2022 provincial law. The law imposes fines on hospital patients who won’t leave for a home, even if the home is one the patient does not want to go to. [The Canadian Press]


Aylmer's burgeoning food scene gets even better

Fish and chips. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

The chef owner of Gin and Chips’ professional side is amply demonstrated not just by his plating but because he offers a modest menu on both the food and drink side. A very smart move as it keeps costs down and produces less food waste.

Ten wines in total make up the list with five offered by the glass. He has two locally brewed beers on tap and six gins in total with a number of classic cocktails for those who prefer to start their meals with dessert as I call it.

The Domaine Capmartin Lou Piaf white ($45 for the bottle) was a spot-on choice for the oysters from New Brunswick matching the minerality of the bivalves perfectly. It was a wine of clarity and freshness that carried through all the dishes that evening.


💰 The provincial government is planning to let The Beer Store sell lottery tickets to stay afloat once Ontario allows beer into corner stores. Convenience stores said it would add unwanted competition to an already difficult retail sector. [CityNews]

🚧 A long-planned reconstruction of Bank Street south of Riverside began this week. Crews are starting with sewer and watermain replacements. Bank will be down to two lanes between Riverside and Ohio for much of the summer. [CBC]

🌾 The city will hire a consulting firm to study the effect of large housing developments near the Experimental Farm on the agricultural land. The potential of shadows cast by tall buildings has led to resistance from the federal Agriculture Department to new development because it could harm experimental data. [CTV]

🎸 A new music venue is coming to downtown, as the NCC announced it had leased the former Chapters location at Rideau and Sussex to Live Nation. The new facility will seat about 2,000 people, and is expected to open next year after renovations. [CBC]

🤖 The Ottawa Hospital has brought in a virtual AI assistant to give visitors information, rather than using staff or volunteers. To start with, the digital program will give hospital visitors information on the new Civic campus under construction, before the hospital gives it more tasks. Elsewhere, AI bots have given illegal advice from a city government, told people to add glue to their pizzas and swallow rocks, and spout racism and conspiracy theories. [CTV/The Associated Press/BBC/CBC] 

👦 Parents with children at the Glebe Parents’ Day Care and staff were blindsided by the board’s announcement it was considering a merger with another daycare provider in the city. The day care said it was facing financial and governance issues, and proposed merging with Andrew Fleck’s Children Services. The day care would receive $1 million from the city to do the merger. [CTV]

⚖️ Ottawa police Const. Muhammad Khan was given conditional discharge and fined $100 for assaulting a handcuffed 13-year-old boy at CHEO. Crown attorneys had wanted a conditional sentence of 30 days house arrest. Khan pleaded guilty in April to assault charges and now faces a possible disciplinary hearing from the Ottawa Police Service. The constable has been on administrative duties since May of last year. [CBC]

🏢 Ottawa Community Housing said it needs more support from the city and province to provide for the complex care some of its tenants require. The agency’s CEO said they hope to be able to provide primary care as well as better security for their residents, but need help to do so. [CBC]

🚨 An Asian family in Barrhaven had slurs and eggs hurled at their house by their nextdoor neighbours. The police hate crimes unit is investigating. [CTV]

🔎 Police are investigating the city’s 11th homicide of the year, after a woman was found dead Wednesday in her Woodroffe home, just north of Baseline. Police sources told CBC the suspect in the killing is related to the woman. [CBC]


🇮🇹 Italian Week Finale, all weekend: The Italian festival finishes this weekend with street artists, comedy, music, plenty of food, a bike race, and more. Preston Street. Free.

☀️ Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival | Mādahòkì Farm, 4420 W Hunt Club Rd. | June 21-23 | Performances, workshops, exhibits, pow wow, culinary experiences, drone show, storytelling and interactive family fun | Learn More | [Sponsored]

🎂 Cake Decorating 101, Friday 6:30 pm: A hands-on workshop where you’ll learn the art of cake decorating, learn all about icing consistency and piping techniques. At the Aurts Court, 2 Daily Ave. Tickets $49.

🏍️ RIDE FOR ALS - Steve Hastie Memorial Ride, Saturday 8:30 am: The day starts with breakfast, followed by a motorcycle through the countryside. In honour of Steve Hastie to support ALS research at The Ottawa Hospital. Tickets $50.

🥄 Carve a Spoon, Saturday 12:30 pm: Learn how to carve your very own wooden spoon by hand with an expert advisor. At Lee Valley Tools, 900 Morrison Dr. Tickets $65.

🎶 It's SHOWTIME, Saturday 2 pm and 7 pm: Two shows by the Capital City Chorus full of beautiful harmonies and energetic performances. At Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church, 2345 Alta Vista Dr. Tickets $25.

🍽️ Authentic Ethnic Cuisine, Saturday 4 pm: Indulge in the rich flavours and traditional dishes from various cultures, prepared by talented chefs passionate about preserving authenticity. At OB&O Afro-Caribbean Restaurant, 3059 Carling Ave. Tickets $33.

🥊 Mayhem On Main Street 3, Saturday 6 pm: A night of boxing featuring local amateur talent going up against fighters from Ontario, Quebec, and the US. At 140 Main St. Tickets $39.

📸 Henry's Kanata Manual Mode Workshop, Sunday 3 pm: Learn mechanics of manual mode on your camera using exposure triangle to gain hands-on expertise in adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. At Henry’s Camera, 501 Hazeldean Rd. Free.


This week in food and drink

Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

🍽️ Chefs from across the city came together for Taste for Hope, where they made the case for how Ottawans can give hope to the unhoused.

🍝 Pizarro’s is a local favourite for all sorts of reasons, from the Italian comfort dining to the excellent service and welcome atmosphere.

🇮🇹 Trattoria Caffé Italia, a hidden gem in plain view, where the Slow Food philosophy and the unbelievable wine cellar make for a sublime dining experience. (Insiders)

🍷 This underappreciated Italian grape makes for a reasonably priced red that over delivers. (Insiders)

  • Chief news anchor Graham Richardson will be leaving CTV and retiring from broadcasting. His last broadcast will be July 5. Congrats Graham! [CTV]

  • A bunch of roads in and around Little Italy will be closed this weekend for Italian week. [City of Ottawa]

  • A family in Bancroft was thrilled to be reunited with stolen family heirlooms. [CTV]

  • Expect it to get pretty hot on Monday, with a high likelihood of a “significant heat event” forecast. [Environment Canada]

  • Bank Street in Findlay Creek will close early next month for widening. Drivers will be detoured to Hawthorne and Albion. [City of Ottawa]

  • The Vancouver Parks Board is testing out a goose pooper scooper, and it seems to be pretty effective. Maybe something Ottawa should try? [Vancouver Parks Board]

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


Congrats to Adam, Barbara, Melanie, and James, who all knew this week’s Ottawa Guesser was of Billings Bridge.

Think you can solve this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.

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