Ottawa slammed by another snow storm

The city gets 15 cm of snow, and thousands lose power and dozens crash their cars.

Good morning!

And to think we were so close to the grass going green. You can never really count out a late season snow storm, but it’s always a bit dispiriting when it arrives. I guess on the plus side, it’s been a pretty dry winter and spring, so the extra moisture was necessary. But did it really have to come in the form of snow?

Ah well. We’ve got plenty of news today, including how the storm affected the city, the mayor’s comments on his trip to the UK where he’ll run a marathon, and tons of events to keep you busy this weekend.

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

Editor’s note: Apologies that this edition is late. Your newsletter writer ended up working past midnight, and forgot that “tomorrow” was actually today when scheduling it to go out.


Friday: +6 🌡️ 0 | 🌧/❄️

Saturday: +8🌡️ -2 | 🌤

Sunday: +13 🌡️ -1 | ☀️

Monday: +15 🌡️ +4 | ☀️


Spring storm socks in city

Ottawa Lookout/Robert Hiltz

What happened: The city had 15 cm of snow dumped on it in an early spring storm that brought slippery conditions to the roads, delayed transit, and left thousands without power, CTV reported.

  • At least 50 collisions and other road mishaps were reported,. wWith one double decker OC Transpo bus careening off the road in the rural east end. Fortunately no one was aboard the bus at the time.

Halted train: One train on the LRT line was stuck for several hours at Bayview station, forcing a stretch of the system between Tunney’s Pasture and Lyon stations from about 6:30 am to 9:30, the city said in a memo.

  • The private consortium that operates the system “currently believe that the wet snow and drop in temperatures overnight may have impacted the affected train’s communications-based train control system,” the memo said.

Fire ban: On the plus side, a city-wide open air fire ban was lifted Thursday morning, the city said in another memo. Fires are once again allowed within city limits with a permit. Dry conditions before the storm had put a stop to burning for fear of wildfires.

Power outages: About 2,100 customers in the city lost power, with another 21,750 losing power in eastern Ontario, CBC reported. Another 18,500 customers in the Gatineau area were without power. 

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🪚 $1,700: The size of a deposit a couple is looking to recoup from a contractor they say ghosted them on a kitchen renovation. [CTV]

🍼 60%: Infant formula has risen in price at least this much since 2022, perhaps as much as 100 percent. [CTV]


Mayor says no need for ethics investigator to look at London Marathon trip

What happened: Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said there’s nothing untoward about joining a Ottawa Tourism delegation for an international sporting conference, and running in the London Marathon at the same time. Ottawa Tourism will be covering the costs of his flights and accomodations “when I’m representing them,” he said Wednesday.

Sutcliffe said at a press conference he saw no need to run the trip by the ethics commissioner. “Any personal expenses or any extra time that I would spend in the UK as a result of this trip, I'm paying the expenses for myself,” he said.

  • “I don't see any conflict here or any need to speak to the Integrity Commissioner about it,” he said.

Funding: He said there would be no cost to taxpayers, as the city no longer gave direct funding to the tourism board since instituting a hotel levy, which gives a portion of hotel fees directly to the board. According to its most recent annual report in 2022, Ottawa Tourism received a combined $8.5 million from the federal and provincial governments, of which Ottawa residents pay taxes to. (That year, the city gave the organization $872,238, funding the mayor said has since been phased out.)

The conference: The delegation will be heading to the SportsPro Live convention in South London. The mayor will be interviewed in a panel discussion in the morning of April 23 to talk about how Ottawa has “become a hub of inclusive, engaging and successful sporting events and celebrations,” according to the talk’s agenda*.

  • The mayor will cover three main points: “The city's approach to hosting major events. Why sports events must leave a cultural and sporting legacy. What the plans are for the future.”

The timeline: The mayor said Ottawa Tourism suggested he come along to the London conference last year when he travelled with the organization to Paris; that trip was in July, CBC reported at the time

  • But, Ottawa Tourism told CBC this week that they’d asked the mayor to come along in May of last year. 

Several months later he realized the conference was at the same time as the London Marathon, at which point he decided to try to get an entry into the race. “I reached out to see if I could get an entry into the London Marathon and I secured an entry into the London Marathon which I am paying for myself,” he said. 

Coveted spaces: Getting into the London Marathon is no small feat, and requires a runner to win a place via a lottery, which closed April 28 last year. For the 2024 running of the race, 578,374 people applied for a spot, Reuters reported. Of those, 121,269 were international applicants. Last year, just shy of 50,000 people started the race which was an all-time record. Hundreds of thousands of applicants never get the chance to run. 

  • It’s not clear what kind of entry the mayor has to the race. His office wasn’t sure Tuesday, and we asked again late Thursday afternoon we received no reply.

The cost: International entry in the London Marathon costs 146 British pounds (about $250). Travel and accommodation would typically cost an entrant much more, particularly during an event the size of the London Marathon. In 2023, nearly 50,000 people started the race, an all-time record.

*Editor’s note: Because of the way the conference's site is designed, we’re unable to link directly to the agenda item, but the mayor speaks in the morning on the first day, so not much scrolling is required.

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🚧 As it looks to give out federal money to affordable housing projects, city staff must consider the “community impact” of the new homes after a 17-7 council vote. Coun. Riley Brockington said his motion was to make sure that appropriate services are present to accompany the homes. Critics worry this may become a roadblock to building affordable units. [CBC]

🏘️ Premier Doug Ford again said the province would not pass a law to make four-unit homes automatically permitted to be built anywhere in Ontario. This risks the province missing out on its share of $5 billion for housing from the federal government, which said it is only making the money available if its demands are met. [CBC]

🏛️ The mayor of Russell, Pierre Leroux, resigned from his position, citing an increasingly toxic political environment. He’s taken a job as the chief administrative officer with the municipality of The Nation where he’ll start later this month. [CBC]

💨 Simple fans aren’t very effective at cooling you off during extreme heat. When it’s hot and humid, uOttawa researchers said fans are much less effective when it’s hot and humid than previously thought. [CTV]

🪖 The designers of an Afghan war memorial who won the competition to create the national monument in the city are threatening to sue the federal government after the contract went to a different designer. [CBC]

⚖️ A guilty plea is expected today from Eastway Tank and its owner on workplace safety charges over a deadly explosion that killed six. Meanwhile, the company’s insurance company said it did not owe the business more. Eastway sued its insurance provider for not properly covering the business, but the insurance company said Eastway’s claims were exaggerated and without merit. [CBC]

💸 Some local businesses have had to take out additional loans to pay back pandemic-era business support from the federal government. Because they took out additional loans, some of their debt was eligible for forgiveness. [Ottawa Citizen]


What to do this weekend

👑 First Royals of Europe, opening Friday: A new exhibition opens today on the emergence of royalty in Europe over the course of millenia. With origins in the Neolithic Age through to the age of empires, trace the rise of royalty though hundreds of exquisite objects. At the Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau. Tickets $22.

🧚 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, until Sunday: The University of Ottawa Theatre Club puts on its production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy of love in mythical Athens. At the Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave. Tickets start at $20.

🌳 Wander the Forest, Friday 5 pm: An immersive experience where you’ll learn about Indigenous culture alongside a three-course dinner along with a charity auction, raffle, and live music. Benefits go to the Mamidosewin Centre. At Restaurant International, 1385 Woodroffe Ave. Tickets via donation.

🎹 Organ Concert with Anne Laver, Friday 7:30 pm: A night of organ music on the organ at St. Andrew’s. Featuring music by Cesar Franck, J.S. Bach, Judith Bingham, Natalie Draper and Rachel Laurin. At St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 82 Kent St. Tickets $30.

🍁 Maple Weekend - North Grenville Pancake Breakfast, Saturday: Hosted by Kemptville Campus, The Kemptville Rotary Club and the Kemptville Youth Centre, tours of the sugarbush, pancakes, live music, and plenty more. At the Agroforestry Centre, 2627 Bedell Rd. Kemptville. Register in advance, pay at the door.

👶 Parent and Child Expo, Saturday and Sunday: With plenty of events and activities for kids, and 75 exhibitors, see all the latest for parents and kids. Paw Patrol’s Chase and Skye will also make an appearance. At the Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave. Family passes start at $18, tickets only available at the door.

✈️ Travel and Vacation Show, Saturday and Sunday: All sorts of information for planning your next trip. Whether it’s in Canada or abroad, there’s plenty for you here. At the Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr. Tickets $10.


What to do this weekend

🏆 With spring here, our food editor has a run down of his top tastes of the year so far. (Insiders)

🍷 You can’t find a much better deal than this primitivo, a wine substantial body and layers of flavour for just $11. (Insiders)

👨‍🍳 Our man in Vancouver recommends this cookbook as one you’ll return to again and again for its great tastes and simplicity. 

🍩 Top teas and fine mochi donuts make this tea shop a must-try for a weekend treat.  

Capital EatsHelping you discover the best restaurants, food and drinks in Ottawa and the Capital Region. From the team at Ottawa Lookout. Read by 18,000+ locals.
  • The Child Life Services department at CHEO helps ease the anxieties of kids going through a scary time. [CTV]

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  • Some are calling this Third Winter. [Reddit]

  • Next week during the partial solar eclipse, be sure not to look directly at the sun as it will not be fully covered by the moon and could damage your vision. [CTV]

  • Do you have a giant nine-foot-tall dinosaur skeleton Halloween decoration you’re looking to get rid of? You might make someone the coolest uncle ever. [Reddit]

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