Northern Ontario fire evacuees start journey home
Nearly three hundred evacuees from the northern Ontario forest fires have started their journey back home from Ottawa.
The first group headed to the airport this morning, heading back to Kingfisher Lake after an 11 day stay at Algonquin College.
Those who were displaced by fire and heavy smoke said they were treated well during their time away.
"We had lots of good meals, free meals, free laundromat, and air conditioned rooms," said Mary Mamakwa. "It was a big residence, we all enjoyed it."
"I had an awesome time here," said Marlena Begg. "People treated us equally."
Many of the 286 evacuees took full advantage of what was their first time in a big city.
"Some of the programming they did was going to museums with kids and splash pads," said John Ash, Ottawa's chief of security and emergency management. "For some of the elder folks, Parliament Hill and so on."
Ash said the city's experience helping hundreds of flood evacuees from the Kashechewan community in 2006 helped them and the community plan for the current group of displaced people.
With the last group of Kingfisher Lake residents scheduled to leave at 8 a.m. Monday, the evacuees said they can look forward to being back to a home that officials have declared safe.
"I want my own bed," laughed Begg. "I want to cuddle with my husband already."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee