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Winter arrives, Israel supporters rally on Parliament Hill, and cops seize 40 kg of cocaine: Top 5 stories in Ottawa this week

People take in the freshly fallen snow at The Dominion Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm following a snow storm in Ottawa, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby) People take in the freshly fallen snow at The Dominion Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm following a snow storm in Ottawa, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby)

Ottawa gets its first blast of winter for the season, police announce a major drug bust, and rally organizers accused a bus contractor of antisemitism. looks at the top five stories on our website this week.

Welcome winter!

Ottawa woke up to a blanket of white this week after the first significant winter storm of the season dumped more than 12 cm of snow on the capital.

The snow began falling Sunday night. By Monday morning, thick clumps of snow coated tree branches and snowplows were criss-crossing city streets. School buses were cancelled across the region.

The snow didn't let up for nearly 60 hours, though it was mostly light after the storm passed. In all, Environment Canada recorded 26.6 cm of snow between Sunday and Wednesday.

A visitor takes a photo on Parliament Hill following a snow storm, in Ottawa, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Bus contractor accused of antisemitism after no-show ahead of pro-Israel rally

Organizers of a pro-Israel rally on Parliament Hill accused a bus contractor of antisemitism this week when 17 buses that were meant to bring people from Toronto to Ottawa never showed up.

The UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said the buses had already been paid for, but never arrived Monday morning to bring hundreds of people to the capital for a solidarity rally. The UJA said the contractor never offered an explanation for the buses not showing up.

"Given the absolute silence of the sub-contractor and with no other explanation, we are driven to the view that this shameful decision is intended to disrupt our peaceful rally out of hatred toward Jews," read a statement by Adam Minsky, president and CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

Alternate arrangements were made for the rally participants. Thousands of people were on the Hill Monday to condemn antisemitism and stand in solidarity with Israeli's amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Protestors are seen on Parliament Hill during a pro-Israel protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Major drug bust

Ottawa police announced a major drug bust on Wednesday, labelled one of the largest in the force's history.

Police Chief Eric Stubbs said 40 kg of cocaine and 4 kg of crack were seized as part of 10-month investigation that led to two arrests.

The accused, who are facing significant drug trafficking charges, were described as people at the top of organizations responsible for distributing drugs in Ottawa and beyond.

"The wholesale value of these drugs is approximately $1.5 million and the street value is approximately $4.5 million," Stubbs said.

The announcement came just one day after the RCMP announced a similar cocaine bust linked to shipments from Colombia.

Ottawa police announced the results of a major drug bust Dec. 6, 2023. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

Arson charges laid after fire at Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus

The Ottawa Police Service arrested a 43-year-old man on arson charges in connection with an early morning fire in The Ottawa Hospital's emergency department.

Ottawa's largest hospital says a 'Code Red' was called at the Civic Campus on Carling Avenue at approximately 6:30 a.m. following a fire in the emergency department.

An Ottawa Fire Service spokesperson says there was no fire for firefighters to extinguish when they arrived at the hospital and helped contain water from the sprinkler system.

The Ottawa Police Service Arson Unit say hospital security personnel had already taken the suspect into custody when emergency services responded to the fire. There were no reported injuries.

Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus (File Photo/CTV Ottawa)

Man rescued from frigid waters of Rideau Canal

Crews from the Ottawa Fire Service helped rescue a man who had fallen into the frigid waters of the Rideau Canal late last week.

Someone called 9-1-1 to report the man in the water near the Corktown Footbridge early Saturday morning. Ottawa firefighters and water rescue team members helped get the man out of the icy water and into a fire truck to keep warm before paramedics arrived.

The man was in critical condition, suffering from severe hypothermia. It's not known how he ended up in the Canal. 

Ottawa firefighters load a man who had fallen into the Rideau Canal into a fire truck to keep warm after he was pulled from the water. Dec. 2, 2023. (Ottawa Fire Services) Top Stories


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