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Post-Panda parties, possible protests, and record-breaking temperatures: Five stories to watch in Ottawa this week

Ottawa police monitor crowds in Sandy Hill, as students celebrate the 2022 Panda Game. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa police monitor crowds in Sandy Hill, as students celebrate the 2022 Panda Game. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

Police and bylaw officers will be out in force Sunday night for post-Panda Game parties, the possibility of vehicle-based protests has cops issuing warnings and summerlike weather heats up the capital. looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.

Will Panda Game parties be quieter this year?

Ottawa police and Ottawa bylaw are out in student neighbourhoods in Ottawa hoping to keep the peace after Sunday's Panda Game.

The annual football game between the uOttawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens draws thousands of students out to street parties, especially after dark, but the game is normally played on a Saturday. This year, because of a conflict with the CFL schedule, the game took place on a Sunday.

In recent years, there have been numerous arrests and tickets handed out, as well as property damage and significant policing costs.

A post-game party Sunday evening at the University of Ottawa campus is hoping to keep the energy contained.

The Gee-Gees on the 2023 Panda Game 18-16 with a last-second walk-off field goal.

Ottawa police say an investigation is underway after 2,000 people attended a street party in Sandy Hill following Saturday's Panda Game. (Aaron Reid/CTV News Ottawa)

Ottawa police warn of possible vehicle-based protests

Ottawa police put out a notice last week and again on Sunday to say they're monitoring for the potential of vehicle-based protests in Ottawa.

While police say they do not have any "specific information" about a large demonstration, officers continue to "closely monitor the potential for vehicle-based protests" happening in or travelling through the capital.

Some self-described "freedom advocates" are travelling across the country to draw attention to their grievances against the federal government. Some were in North Bay, Ont. as of the weekend.

Ottawa police said in a news release Sunday that there is "zero tolerance for unlawful behaviour and vehicle-based demonstrations."

Since the 2022 "Freedom Convoy" was able to occupy and shut down several downtown streets through the use of heavy vehicles, police have taken a hard-line approach to bringing any vehicles within the vicinity of Parliament Hill for the purposes of protests.

A protester waves a Canadian flag in front of parked vehicles on Rideau Street on the 15th day of a protest against COVID-19 measures that has grown into a broader anti-government protest, in Ottawa, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Alexandra Bridge closure

The Alexandra Bridge over the Ottawa River will be closed to vehicular traffic for a year starting this week.

The federal government says the closure will last until the fall of 2024. It's for "essential rehabilitation and repairs to keep the bridge safe and in service until deconstruction," according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

During the closure, one lane will remain accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

The aging bridge is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. The repairs are meant to keep the bridge operational until construction on the new bridge begins in 2028.

The Alexandra Bridge on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. The bridge is scheduled to be torn down and replaced over the next decade. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

Hot, hot heat

A stretch of summerlike heat is expected to continue for at least the next several days, with the potential for record-breaking temperatures.

Environment Canada's weather forecast for the capital includes at least two days where the high could reach 28 C. The average high for this time of the year is typically between 15 and 16 C.

The record high at the Ottawa Airport for Oct. 3 is 26.5 C, set in 2005, and the record for Oct. 4 was 27.7 C, also set in 2005.

School bus troubles

The authority that manages school bus transportation for Ottawa's English public and catholic school boards will continue to be working towards restoring service to the thousands of kids who started the school year with no buses.

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) said Tuesday that since Sept. 5, it has managed to reinstate 94 runs and it is taking several steps to improve the situation for students.

Over this week and next, OSTA says it aims to address immediate safety concerns, train new drivers, work with new students, accommodate new enrollments and prioritize phone calls and transportation issues form concerns.

The new school year began without enough drivers, and more than 9,000 students were left without school bus transportation. Frustrations have been mounting as parents, many of them living in rural parts of Ottawa, have had to rearrange their schedules to drive their kids to school. In same cases, drivers have faced abuse and have quit.

A yellow school bus in Ottawa is seen in this undated photo. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa) Top Stories

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