Ottawa's downtown core closed to vehicles as freedom convoy packs Parliament Hill
All streets in Ottawa's downtown core closed to vehicle traffic Saturday afternoon, as thousands of people protesting COVID-19 regulations descended on the capital.
"There is no more room for vehicles, other than first responders," the city of Ottawa said on Twitter, later releasing a map showing a "gridlocked area" as far west as Bronson Avenue and east as the Vanier Parkway.
The announcement of all streets in the downtown core closed came as the final convoy of vehicles from western Canada arrived in Ottawa for the demonstration. In the city, thousands of trucks and vehicles packed streets around Parliament Hill and Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood.
Ottawa police had been working to keep one lane open to traffic on all streets for police, fire and paramedic vehicles in the event of an emergency.
Earlier in the day, police temporarily closed the Chaudiere and Portage bridges, connecting Ottawa and Gatineau, to vehicle traffic for two hours as people arrived in the capital.. The Alexandra Bridge is closed to all traffic all weekend, while there are lane reductions on the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge.
OC Transpo says due to buses being unable to travel through the downtown area, routes will be detoured to O-Train stops.
The road closures in downtown Ottawa is the latest in a series of closures and service reductions in Ottawa due to the size of the demonstration.
Here is a look at other closures in the city.
The Rideau Centre closed early on Saturday due to the crowds. Cadillac Fairview, owner of the Rideau Centre, says it made the decision to close the mall for the remainder of the day.
The mall will remain closed on Sunday.
“The safety of our guests, tenants and employees is our priority and out of an abundance of caution, CF Rideau Centre will be closed for the remainder of the day," said Cadillac Fairview in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Ottawa Police said officers, "are assisting Rideau Centre management and security with their decision to close the mall due to the crowds.
"There is no threat to public safety."
A Canadian Press photo showed several people, many without masks on, standing on the first floor of the Rideau Centre warming up during the protest. Several stores had remained closed on Saturday before the mall made the decision to close the building.
People gather in the Rideau Centre mall to warm up as Ottawa is under an extreme cold warning, during a rally against COVID-19 restrictions in downtown Ottawa, on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. The rally began as a cross-country convoy protesting a federal vaccine mandate for truckers. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The National Capital Commission says Queen Elizabeth Driveway will be closed between Laurier Avenue and Pretoria Bridge on Saturday and Sunday.
Intermittent closures are expected on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Aviation Parkway and Sir George-Etienne-Cartier Parkway this weekend.
The MacKenzie King Bridge westbound is closed westbound between Waller and Elgin streets.
Ottawa Police said on Friday that trucks will be directed to the following exits along the Queensway: Pinecrest, Kent and the Sir George Etienne Parkway.
In a media release Friday afternoon, the city said the convoy will occupy several streets in the downtown area around Parliament Hill.
You could see traffic impacts on:
- Wellington Street
- Queen Street
- Metcalfe Street
- O’Connor Street
- Lyon Street
- Kent Street
- Sir John A Macdonald Parkway
- Queen Elizabeth Driveway
- Laurier Avenue and Elgin Street around Confederation Park
The Alexandra Bridge is closed until further notice.
Public Services and Procurement Canada say, "out of an abundance of caution and safety due to a planned protest taking place this weekend" the interprovincial bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau is closed to vehicular traffic.
There will be lane closures on the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge this weekend due to load restrictions.
Public Services and Procurement Canada says "out of an abundance of caution and safety due to a planned protest" in Ottawa, there will be lane closures on the bridge until further notice.
CITY OF OTTAWA SERVICES
Ottawa City Hall and its amenities will be closed to the public this weekend due to its proximity to the demonstration area.
Amenities closed include the Rink of Dreams and underground municipal parking lot at City Hall.
The city of Ottawa says OC Transpo and Para Transpo service may experience delays on Friday and Saturday.
For information, visit octranspo.com.
Ottawa Public Health has closed vaccination clinics in Sandy Hill and Lowertown this weekend due to traffic disruptions.
- University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex vaccination clinic will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday
- Lowertown Public Health Neighbourhood Vaccination Hub at Jules Morin Fieldhouse on Clarence Street East will be closed this weekend
The CISSS de l'Outaouais has closed the vaccination clinic at the Palais de Congres on Maisonneuve Blvd. on Saturday and Sunday due to the protest. People who had an appointment will be contacted to schedule another appointment.
OTTAWA PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Ottawa Public Library says the following branches will be closed on Sunday and Monday
- Ottawa Public Library Main Branch on Metcalfe Street
- Ottawa Public Library Rideau Branch on Rideau Street
The two branches are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The following branches near downtown Ottawa will remain open
Vigil to mark Quebec City mosque shooting anniversary
Organizers of an in-person candlelight vigil at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street say they have cancelled Saturday's vigil due to the trucker protest.
The event, which was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., will be held on Zoom. The group Canadians United Against Hate say the Zoom link is available on their Facebook page.
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