The Queen Elizabeth Driveway debate continues

A new survey has been released showing Ottawa residents are divided over whether or not the Queen Elizabeth Driveway should at least sometimes remain closed for recreational use.

Good morning!

It is hard to believe we are at the end of the week already. It seems as though time is just flying by. October is just about here. I’ll be digging through my basement this weekend to look for my boxes of Halloween decorations.

In this newsletter we write about the ongoing debate over whether or not to close the Queen Elizabeth Driveway — at least sometimes — for recreational use. A new poll shows drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are mixed with their thoughts. And the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority is outlining their next steps to solve the school bus shortage.

— Charlie Senack, [email protected]

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Friday: 11 🌡️ 22 | 🌤️

Saturday: 11 🌡️ 22 | ☀️

Sunday: 13 🌡️ 23 | 🌤️

Monday: 16 🌡️ 24 | 🌤️


New poll suggests Ottawa residents are mixed on future of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway

Photo courtesy of NCC

The issue: Drivers, cyclists, and walkers have mixed views over if the Queen Elizabeth Driveway should continue to close for cars, according to reporting by CTV. 

A new poll by The Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, and commissioned by Nanos Research, found that 28.6% or respondents wanted the driveway closed permanently to vehicles. Another 23.1% of those surveyed said they wanted it closed to traffic only on holidays and weekends, and 48.3% said they wanted it open for driving year round. A total of 5,357 individuals were surveyed between Aug. 22 and Sept. 11.

By the numbers:

  • 44.6% of respondents said they wanted the road open year-round to drivers.

  • 37.3% of respondents want it closed to vehicles seven days a week.

  • 81% of non-active users want Queen Elizabeth Driveway open for driving year-round compared to 7.7% of regular active users.

  • 78% of respondents identified as active users who want the QED closed year-round compared to 3.1% of drivers surveyed.

  • 73% of non-active use respondents want the NCC to keep the Queen Elizabeth Driveway open to vehicles seven days a week only through the summer.

Strained relationships: The decision as to whether or not to keep the Queen Elizabeth Driveway closed to cars comes as the city and the National Capital Commission face a strained relationship.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has been a strong supporter of keeping the roadway open to cars, particularly south of Pretoria Avenue, after hearing concerns from many residents. The city's transportation committee has suggested using Colonel By Drive instead.

  • It's unfortunate the NCC won't sit down with us and discuss in a professional manner Colonel By, something that has been suggested as a compromise," Chair Tim Tierney said. "I think this is a wakeup call for the NCC….I think people want us to sit down and have a discussion about this."

Support: The NCC on the other hand says, “These car-free roads are a great way to experience the beauty of the National Capital Regin in a fun, safe and environmentally friendly way,” according to their website. 

Impact to emergency services: According to reporting by the Ottawa Citizen, 30% of the calls from the Ottawa fire station on Fifth Avenue are delayed because of the NCC closure of the Driveway.

  • “Although we’re meeting our thresholds, what we’ve seen in this area when we ran the data from July 2022, we reported 30% experiencing delays getting to those calls because of the closure,” Fire Chief Paul Hutt told the city’s Transportation committee Thursday.


🚘 600,000: The number of cars Hyundai and Kia are recalling in Canada due to fire risk. [CTV]

🏃‍♂️ 30,000: The amount of people who used the Chief William Commanda Bridge during its first week in operation. [Kitchissippi Times]

🍱 $168M: The amount of money 12 large food banks have totalled in reserves due to pandemic demand. [CBC]


OSTA bringing forward solutions to fix school bus shortage

The issue: Parents and politicians are continuing to express their outrage with the school bus shortage which left about 7,600 students without transportation to and from school. The reason for the lack of yellow buses is a driver shortage.

New solutions: The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority [OSTA], said they are taking new steps to try and solve the issue. According to CTV, Since Sept. 5, it has managed to reinstate 94 routes, according to an update on Tuesday.

OSTA plans to send out a request for interest and information in the next 30 days to find new bus drivers. The transit unit will also work with local school boards to review operations, which could include changing start and end bell times.

  • "It is important to note that these solutions will take time to implement," OSTA says. "Our staff needs to explore options, establish agreements with potential vendors, make changes to routes, and communicate with drivers and parents/guardians. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding throughout this process."

Political response: Carleton MPP Golidie Ghamari, who has been vocal in her discontent with OSTA’s operations, continued to share her concerns on Twitter Thursday. She said 107 school bus cancellations were reported in all of Ontario that day, 87 of which were OSTA’s.

  • “[OSTA] is responsible for 77% of school bus cancellations in Ontario. Let that sink in. Ottawa parents deserve answers, not cheap partisan shots from NDP Chandra Pasma's week-old letter,” she wrote on Twitter.

Ghamari was calling out Ottawa-West Nepean MPP Chandra Pasma, who said students are struggling to get to school because of a $6 million funding cut from the provincial government.

“In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce offered just $1.8 million, but only if the boards agreed to messaging he provided,” Pasma said on Twitter.


🍊Truth and Reconciliation Day is on Sept. 30. A number of Ottawa services will be closed on either Saturday or Monday as a result. [CBC]

🇺🇦The City of Ottawa has denied a permit for a pro-Ukrainian protest to be held outside the Russian embassy. The group, which has held various protests before, wanted to flash Ukrainian messages of support onto the facade of the building. [CBC]

🍲 The Ottawa Mission greatly benefitted from an event that was cancelled when Anthony Royals, former speaker of the House of Commons, resigned. Scallops, lamb, and other fine-class dinner items were donated to the Mission. [CTV]

🔥 A business on Bank Street was severely damaged by fire. Alsafeer Mart went up in flames at around 5:20 a.m. Wednesday. The blaze has been deemed suspicious. [CTV]

👮🏼‍♀️ Former MPP Randy Hillier will be held for trial in Ottawa after his bid for a change of venue was rejected. Hillier is facing nine criminal charges related to the Freedom Convoy protest. [Ottawa Citizen]

🏥 The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is preparing for a “triple-demic season” after it predicts another heavy viral year of infections. This year the hospital feels they are in a better position to deal with the demand. [Ottawa Citizen]



🤹‍♀️The Wiggles - Ready, Steady, Wiggle Tour, Saturday: The tour is a high-energy celebration of music, dancing and endless fun leaving children inspired, enthralled and eager for more! Get ready to sing, dance and wiggle your way through an unforgettable musical extravaganza of beloved Wiggles hits. At Meridian Theatres, 101 Centrepointe Drive. Tickets $53.

🎵 A world in Common, Saturday: Join the Big Soul Project Community Choir for an evening of uplifting music in support of the Ottawa South Committee for Refugee Support. At Andrew Fleck Children's Services, Capital Child Care Centre, 1230 Bank St. Tickets between $0 and $25.


🍺 Orléans Oktoberfest, Saturday: No better way to welcome Fall than Oktoberfest with breweries! Go for some great local beer, german inspired food and live entertainment as we host the 5th annual Orléans Oktoberfest with some of our Ottawa brewery friends. At Orléans Brewing Co., 4380 Innes Rd. Tickets $35.


🍎 ByWard Night Market, Saturday: Be a part of a new tradition in the historic ByWard Market! Sip, snack and shake at golden hour with local vendors, street food, a mobile bar, and live music! At 55 ByWard Market Square. Free. 

🍎 Barrhaven Market, Sunday: Find the best fresh produce, baked goods, pantry staples, hot meals and more from 10+ friendly producers in the Ottawa region. At the Nepean Woods park and ride on Strandherd. Free.


🍊 ADAAWE Orange Shirt Day Memorial Walk, Saturday: Join fellow ADAAWE members on a poignant journey from Somerset Street to Parliament Hill as they commemorate two significant occasions: The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Orange Shirt Day. At Adaawe Indigenous Business Hub, 338 Somerset St. W. Free.

🏒 Ottawa Senators Fan Fest, Saturday: As a kick off to the 2023-24 season, Fan Fest is back and better than ever on Saturday, Sept. 30! This free marquee event will feature an exciting day of games and activities for the whole family. At the Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr. Free. 

🥖 The Gluten Free show, Saturday: The Ottawa Gluten Free Show will bring together vendors, manufacturers, and consumers interested in gluten-free products. At the EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr. Tickets are $8-$12.

🏠 Ottawa Fall Home Show, Saturday: Join us for home improvement inspiration! At the EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr. Tickets begin at $12.

🔆 Caribbean Heritage Month opening ceremony, Sunday: Join WIYA Ottawa as for the 3rd year in a row we celebrate October as Caribbean Heritage Month in Ottawa. At Club SAW, 67 Nicholas St. Free.


What happened this week in food

Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

🧀 Looking for world class cheese in Ottawa? This local business with big ambitions is the place to go.

🍵 If bubble tea shops were stones we’d never stop stumbling our way through the city. Here is a local Hintonburg tea shop which took a more non-transitional approach.

🍔 Are you a burger lover? This local Irish restaurant is a delight to visit.

  • A woman is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries following an overnight fire in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood. [CTV]

  • Ciné Starz Theatre in Orléans has suddenly closed its doors. [CTV]

  • 🌍 Geopolitics in <5 minutes? Get International Intrigue, the free global briefing crafted by former diplomats. [Sponsored]

  • A Centretown neighbourhood has been chosen as a testing ground for a new

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

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