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Smoky air blankets Ottawa and Hard Rock Casino breaks ground on new project: Top 5 stories this week

A cyclist rides through a smoky haze in Ottawa. June 6, 2023. (Jim O'Grady/CTV News Ottawa) A cyclist rides through a smoky haze in Ottawa. June 6, 2023. (Jim O'Grady/CTV News Ottawa)

Wildfire smoke blankets Ottawa for several days, the Hard Rock Casino breaks ground on its new Ottawa hotel and casino and a small bear is safely caged in Kanata. looks at the top five stories on our website this week.

Wildfire smoke makes Ottawa's air among the worst in the world Wednesday

The city of Ottawa had some of the worst air in the world this week as smoke from wildfires in northern Ontario and Quebec blanketed the capital.

The smoky haze and poor air quality prompted the city of Ottawa to cancel outdoor activities, schools to keep students indoors during recess, the Ottawa Redblacks to move practice indoors and people to wear masks.

"You were like a tailpipe of all that smoke," Environment Canada senior meteorologist David Phillips said of the smoke and haze from wildfires. "It was just emptying into the Ottawa Valley."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the air quality in Ottawa was a 10+ "very high risk."

Phillips says the air should clear on Monday, as the winds shift and rain is in the forecast.

Phillips says smoke from wildfires in northern Ontario and Quebec this week may be a preview of smoky skies through the summer.

"(Wildfires) tend to be July-August, not May and June and so my sense is that, get used to it. I think this will be the headline across the country this year, 'More smoky skies.' That's not a forecast because all we know is the conditions of weather from a temperature and precipitation point of view are going to be we're going to be vulnerable," Phillips said.

"My sense is we should be concerned about fires for a while."

Smoke from wildfires hangs over Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Centennial Lake fire now 'under control' as evacuation order is lifted

A forest fire that broke out last Sunday on the shores of Centennial Lake forced the evacuation of seasonal residences in the area west of Calabogie, Ont.

The fire charred approximately 43 hectares of land before it was declared under control on Friday.

The affected areas were Black Mountain Estates, Little Bay Lane, Airds Lake Rd (behind Snider’s Tent and Trailer Park), Snider’s Tent and Trailer Park (271 Airds Lake Rd).

Local firefighters were assisted by crews from across eastern Ontario and firefighters from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Larry Sachan lives on Black Mountain Road and said firefighters came to his home to say an evacuation was taking place.

"When it is your home there's that little bit more, you know what I mean, because it's all your personals, it's your whole life in one place," he says. "It's just hard to stay away when you just want to check, just to see."

There is no word on the cause of the fire. The evacuation order for residences was lifted on Friday afternoon.

Trans-friendly counter-protesters stand up to activist outside Ottawa schools

Five people were arrested when transgender rights supporters held a rally against a B.C. man who was protesting what he calls "gender ideology" near three Ottawa schools.

Ottawa police stepped in several times to form a line to separate the protesters and counter-protesters on Broadview Avenue Friday morning.

Chris Elston organized the rally dubbed "Education over Indoctrination", protesting against puberty blockers for children who identify as transgender and what he calls "gender ideology" – the idea that children can be born into the wrong body.

Word of Elston's planned protest prompted Community Solidarity Ottawa, Horizon Ottawa, community groups, parents and residents to organize a counter-protest, saying it would "drown out hate."

Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden said he was punched during the protest.

Ottawa police said the investigation into the protest continues.

"As with any event, officers have gathered evidence and will follow up on any criminal incidents, including Hate Crimes."

Chris Elston, centre, also called "Billboard Chris" carries a billboard surrounded by supporters during a protest against Pride in Ottawa, Friday, June 9, 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

After years of delays, ground breaks on the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ottawa

It was the opening act for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa, as guitar-shaped shovels broke ground on the new rebranded casino at Rideau-Carleton Raceway on Albion Road.

Construction officially started this week on the new casino, after years of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Hard Rock, the $350-million construction project is expected to create nearly 1,900 direct and indirect construction and ongoing employment opportunities in the city of Ottawa.

The facility, scheduled to open in 2025, will feature a 150-room hotel, including 22 suites; the 1,800-seat "Hard Rock Live" theatre, with standing room for 2,200; and an expanded casino, with 1,500 slot machines, 40 live-action table games, a sportsbook, high-limit gaming and a baccarat room.

Bear spotted in Kanata neighbourhood 'safely placed in a cage', police say

Conservation officers were able to coax a small bear into a cage for relocation this week.

Police received a call about a bear sighting in the 500 block of Woodchase Street, near Breckenridge Crescent in Kanata, at approximately 9 a.m. Thursday.

The bear was spotted wandering through backyards in the neighbourhood.

National Capital Commission conservation officers set up a cage, while police and officers used water to coax the bear cub down a pathway and into the cage.

Video sent to CTV Ottawa showed the small bear walking along a fence, with an animal cage set up near the street. The bear walked into the cage, and conservation officers were able to close the doors and secure the bear inside.

The bear was relocated to an area outside the national capital region.

@ctvnewsottawa CTV News viewer video shows police and conservation officers using water to coax a small bear cub into a cage. The bear was spotted in Kanata on Thursday. #fyp #bear #ottawabear #ottnews #ottawa #waterbear ♬ original sound - ctvnewsottawa Top Stories

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