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St. Clair College Easter brunch event returns after two-year hiatus

St. Clair College Easter brunch event returns after two-year hiatus

The annual St. Clair College Centre for the Arts Easter Brunch returned with in-person dining on Sunday after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Five hundred tickets sold out in about two weeks, according to organizers who say they’re already looking ahead to Mother’s Day.

“We’re extremely excited after a two-year hiatus to have Easter brunch back here at the Center for the Arts,” says Joe D’Angela, director of operations.

“It’s good to see that things are returning back to normal and having the activity back in our ballrooms.”

D’Angela suggests anyone interested in booking reservations for May to act fast, noting it will be a similar setup and that tickets are already 50 per cent sold.

“It’s reservation only by calling the Chrysler Theatre Box Office. Reservation times are 11, 11:30 and 12 o’clock,” D’Angela explains all reservations are for private tables. “We’re still adhering to some restrictions and it makes people a lot more comfortable that they’re sitting on their own private table they’re not sitting with other guests.”

D’Angela adds, “in the past that we would put 800 people in the ballroom, but we’ve decided this year to keep it around 500. We just want people to be really comfortable coming in dining with us know.”

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Government tells arts bodies to suspend cultural events funded by Russian state

Government tells arts bodies to suspend cultural events funded by Russian state

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has asked arts bodies that get federal funding to suspend all cultural activities involving Russians linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime in protest of his invasion of Ukraine.

Canadian Heritage has written to organizations receiving the department’s funding, asking them to cancel tours and co-productions bankrolled by Russian or Belarusian state organizations.

The demand, issued last month, could lead to cancellation of exhibitions of art loaned from Russian galleries, as well as concerts, festivals, and theatre and ballet productions featuring Russian artists.

It warned that Canadian cultural organizations found to have ties with the Russian or Belarusian states will also no longer get government funding.

But the letter makes it clear that ordinary Russians with no ties to Putin’s regime or to the Belarusian state will not be affected.

The Heritage Department said it had launched a review to identify activities involving Russia and Belarus.

“We urge you to do the same, and to suspend all activity involving the participation of Russian or Belarusian state organizations or their official representatives,” the letter said. “This includes program partnerships, direct and indirect financing of tours, co-productions, participation in festivals or other events involving the Russian or Belarusian governments.”

Rodriguez faced questions Thursday about whether the instruction was so broad it could lead to Russian artists being penalized more generally, while probing all links to the Russian state, including officials, could prove difficult.

Laura Scaffidi, press secretary to Rodriguez, said the scope of the instruction would not capture work by ordinary Russians and Belarusians, or Canadians with Russian and Belarusian heritage.

“Russian culture has given the world so much rich music, literature and other art. We celebrate that,” she said. “This is not about unfairly targeting law-abiding and peace-loving citizens and permanent residents.”

A number of arts organizations have cancelled events involving Russian performers since the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Canada Council for the Arts announced in a blog post that it was cutting ties with Russian and Belarusian artists.

The Vancouver Recital Society and the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal have announced they are cancelling planned concerts with Alexander Malofeev, a young Russian pianist.

In the U.K., the Royal Opera House cancelled a tour of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet following the attack on Ukraine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2022.

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Richard Berthelsen: Why we should expect to see major occasions without the Queen

Richard Berthelsen: Why we should expect to see major occasions without the Queen

The annual Commonwealth Day interfaith service at Westminster Abby is a fixture in the royal calendar. This year marked return of an in-person large gathering and in the Platinum Jubilee year, all eyes were looking to see the Queen in public. Unfortunately, it was not to be as on Friday, the Palace announced that the Queen would not attend personally, and that Prince Charles would represent her.

2022 marks a major year for the Commonwealth with the upcoming Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda in June as well as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in late July. In addition, as Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen is marking her Platinum Jubilee.

While the Palace announced this morning, to no one’s surprise, that Prince Charles would also represent the Queen at the meeting in Rwanda, it now appears likely that these Commonwealth family affairs may take place without the Head of Commonwealth herself, given her increasingly delicate health.

In this Jubilee year, many in the Commonwealth had hoped to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II in person, but this may no longer be possible. Given that the Commonwealth has largely held together with the Queen’s own leadership and that this has been one of the major achievements in her reign, it is regrettable. While the Commonwealth confirmed in 2018 that Prince Charles would be the next head of the Commonwealth, they may not have expected that he would be performing that role before the end of the Queen’s reign.

The upcoming memorial service for the late Prince Philip, on March 29, will also be held at Westminster Abbey and it appears this could also risk the Queen’s absence, as the same mobility issues may also prevent her attendance. While it was thought that changes to the entrance she used to be closer to her seat in deference to the Queen’s age and mobility would make her participation possible, it may still be a step or two too far for the 95-year-old monarch.

It now seems likely that there will be significant modifications to the Queen’s participation in several Jubilee events in June, particularly Trooping the Colour, as well as the service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. Long gone are the days of the Queen on horseback in public — now the use of carriages may be at risk and climbing the many steps up the West Front of Saint Paul’s cathedral will have to be avoided. More accessible ways will have to be found if the Queen is to participate in these ceremonies.

It is unreasonable to expect that the Queen would be able to participate in public ceremonies as she has through most of her reign, or even as she has in the years prior to the pandemic. The past two years of COVID-19 isolation have impacted the Queen’s health and mobility.

Having had COVID-19 herself in February may well have taken her toll but she appears to be back to her usual self. Having reduced her schedule in isolation, it appears that it has been difficult for her to restart at the pace she had been keeping in recent years.

Having tried to do too much in October has led to a significant curtailment in engagements since in addition to a hospitalization for as yet unspecified tests later that month. Aside from a brief appearance in February inside Sandringham House, the Queen has not appeared in public since October 14 when she opened the Welsh Parliament, apart from duties at Windsor Castle in brief meetings or video ceremonies.

Throughout the past 70 years, the Queen’s appearance at major annual events, like Remembrance Sunday, Commonwealth gatherings, Trooping the Colour, Royal Ascot, Investitures, and the State Opening of parliament have been reassuring mileposts as the years passed by. In troubled and challenging times, the steady and constant presence and visibility of the monarch has been a reliable feature of public life – while everything else changed and is in turmoil.

The past few years have widened the gap between the Queen and her public role, while at the same time the pandemic has enabled the public to see Her Majesty in new ways in virtual space. But for Elizabeth the Second, this has been a dramatic change in the routine of her life, as well as the way in which she has wanted to be seen – to be believed.

In 2017, when Prince Philip reached the age of 96, he announced his retirement and withdrawal from public life, except for family occasions. He honoured this statement quite strictly, and to the surprise of many, spent his remaining time quietly in a smaller home on the Sandringham estate reading and being outdoor in the country. As the Queen herself faces her 96th birthday in April, it is increasingly clear that she may follow her husband’s example. It is not hard to imagine that after the Platinum Jubilee in June, she may almost completely withdraw from public or ceremonial events, although unlike Prince Philip she will continue to perform her constitutional duties. Her late husband may have led the way in this approach.

The Palace has been careful to demonstrate that the Queen is fully engaged with her prime ministers, with diplomats, and continuing to review and sign the paperwork in her famous red boxes, as we saw on clips released on Accession Day. It is increasingly clear that the Queen has maintained her usual enthusiasm for these duties but is now not physically capable of even less arduous travel and walking at significant public events and in historic venues.

It was striking that in her Commonwealth Day message, the Queen started by stating “In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service.” The same sentiments were expressed on February 6 (Accession Day) and during her previous Jubilees and other occasions. The Queen is consistent and makes the point that she sees her role as a job for life, come what may.

While world leaders come and go, and increasingly even other kings and queens and a pope has abdicated to take retirement. Elizabeth the Second does not view her role this way and intends to honour her youthful commitment. While so much has changed in the past 70 years, the Queen remains a constant and we feel disappointment when she is not there, even as she places her eldest child, Prince Charles in the spotlight.

While the form of the Queen’s participation is changing the twilight years of her reign, her commitment to the Crown and to the Commonwealth does not — and we must believe her when she says that she will continue until the end.

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‘Citizen scientists’ invited to join global bird watching event

'Citizen scientists' invited to join global bird watching event

Saturday marked the beginning of the 25th annual “Great Backyard Bird Count” — a global birding event where all “citizen scientists” are welcome to participate with no experience necessary.

People all over the world are looking to the skies, and of course, their own backyards, to admire and note the birds in their communities.

Organizers hope the event sheds light on nearby bird species, and how their ecosystems have changed. 

— Watch CTV’s Christine Long’s report above for the full story.  

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You can now bet on single events, like the Super Bowl, at OLG retailers

You can now bet on single events, like the Super Bowl, at OLG retailers

It’s Super Bowl weekend; and, if you are confident in who will win or what colour the Gatorade will be, you can now place that single-game bet in-person at any OLG Lottery location.

It’s one of the biggest sporting events of the year; a winning moment just for the one of the teams, but also for anyone able to place the right bet.

“I think Cincinnati is a great story, but I think it’s a Ram’s weekend,” Bob Lawrence, a patron at ‘Local Heroes on Clyde Avenue, told CTV News Ottawa on Friday.

You can now place that bet in-person, anywhere you would normally buy your lottery tickets.

“Yeah, I may do that,” Lawrence says.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is now offering sports bettors a complete gaming experience with new sports betting products at retailers.

“We’ve been offering ‘PROLINE,’ at retail for 30 years; this was now embedding it into our retail sports-betting offering the ability to bet on individual one game,” David Pridmore, Chief Digital and Strategy Office with OLG, tells CTV News Ottawa. “That’s what they call single event wagering; so one event, before – you used to have to bet on multiple in one ticket.”

Changes to legislation last year allowed additions like single event wagering. While it’s been available through the OLG online since late August, opening it up to retail is new as of this month.

“There’s more options to have different types of betting experiences,” Pridmore says.

Pridmore adds that you can now also bet on an expanded list of sports too.

“We’ve added tennis, boxing, golf, mixed-martial arts, we have some Formula 1 racing,” he says.

Along with what the OLG calls ‘novelty’ betting – like, awards shows, including the Oscars; and yes, that also includes betting on the colour of Gatorade at the Super Bowl, according to Pridmore

“For Super Bowl, you have a lot of fun bets like coin toss, colour of Gatorade, length of the national anthem; some fun player bets, how many yards a quarterback would throw.”

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‘Freedom Convoy’ protest: How did we get here?

'Freedom Convoy' protest: How did we get here?

The so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest has paralyzed Ottawa for days, making parts of the nation’s capital inaccessible and forcing some businesses to close. looks at the key events and dates that led to the demonstration.

JAN. 14, 2022

  • A GoFundMe fundraiser is started for the “Freedom Convoy 2022” by organizers Tamara Lich and BJ Dichter

JAN. 15, 2022

  • The trucker vaccine mandate comes into force that requires all travellers to be fully vaccinated before crossing the Canada-U.S. border
  • In a statement, convoy organizers say they came to the decision that the government “crossed a line” with the COVID-19 vaccine passport and vaccine mandates, announcing they plan to travel to Ottawa

JAN. 22, 2022

  • The U.S. begins barring unvaccinated truck drivers from Canada and Mexico as the country’s vaccine mandate comes into effect

JAN. 23, 2022

  • The Canadian Trucking Alliance condemns the planned protests 24 hours before a convoy of truckers left British Columbia en route to Ottawa

JAN. 24, 2022

  • One of the arms of the convoy passes through Regina

JAN. 25, 2022

  • Another convoy segment passes through Kenora, Ont.
  • GoFundMe suspends the “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser for the first time to give organizers time to provide a plan for the distribution of funds

JAN. 26, 2022

  • Segments of the convoy enter Ontario from the Manitoba border

JAN. 27, 2022

  • GoFundMe releases an initial $1 million to the truckers from their fundraiser
  • A segment of the convoy passes through the Greater Toronto Area

JAN. 28, 2022

  • A new convoy passes through Quebec and plans to head to Parliament Hill for Jan. 29
  • Nova Scotia bans gatherings along the Trans-Canada Highway between the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Border in relation to the convoy protests
  • Some members of the convoy begin arriving in Ottawa and blocking major streets in the downtown core

JAN. 29, 2022

  • The main rally for the convoy takes place
  • Police estimate approximately 3,000 trucks and up to 15,000 protesters took part
  • Hateful and anti-Semitic imagery is seen in the crowd, including yellow stars, the Confederate flag and swastikas
  • Widespread condemnation is voiced on some of the protesters behaviours, including harassing a homeless shelter, dancing on the National War Memorial, putting flags and signs on the Terry Fox statue, and public urination on national monuments
  • Former U.S. president Donald Trump praises the convoy in Ottawa while addressing supporters in Texas

JAN. 30, 2022 

  • Ottawa Police Service launched a criminal investigation into the desecration of the National War Memorial and the Terry Fox statue
  • A blockade at the Coutts, Alta., border crossing shuts down access to the U.S.-Canada border in solidarity with the main convoy in Ottawa

JAN. 31, 2022

  • Parliament resumes after the holidays
  • Ottawa paramedics confirm protesters threw rocks at an ambulance and used racial slurs against a paramedic, leading to a police escort being provided for all further calls for safety
  • Protesters host speeches on Parliament Hill
  • Trudeau delivers fiery remarks in a national address saying “we are not intimidated”

FEB. 1, 2022

  • Ottawa police set up a hotline for crimes related to the protest, including hate crimes, and announced two people were arrested and charged in connection with incidents that took place over the Jan. 29 weekend
  • Ottawa residents report being challenged, harassed and threatened with violence by protesters

FEB. 2, 2022

  • Freedom Convoy organizers issue a statement saying they plan to remain in Ottawa “as long as it takes” for all COVID-19 mandates to end
  • Ottawa Police Service Deputy Chief Steve Bell says at a press briefing the remaining protesters are “highly volatile” and that activities have shifted away from a protest to an occupation
  • GoFundMe suspends the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser for a second time

FEB. 3, 2022

  • Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced the RCMP has approved all requests from the Ottawa Police Service to address the convoy
  • Convoy organizers hold a press conference where they decried being painted as “racists, misogynists…and even terrorists”
  • One of the leaders of the convoy Tamara Lich says through a lawyer that the convoy has provided GoFundMe with plans for the funds raised
  • A second blockade in Alberta in Milk River appears, close to the one near Coutts

FEB. 4, 2022

  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump expresses support for the trucker convoy, calls Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic”
  • GoFundMe takes down the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser page, saying it violated its terms of service. At the time, the fundraiser had reached more than $10 million
  • A $9.8 million class-action lawsuit is filed on behalf of downtown Ottawa residents against the protest over incessant truck honking
  • Ottawa police announce they are enacting a “surge and contain” strategy moving forward

FEB. 5, 2022

  • U.S. Republicans promise to investigate GoFundMe’s decision to pull the plug on the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser
  • Solidarity protests take place over the weekend in Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and New Brunswick

FEB. 6, 2022

  • A state of emergency is declared in Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson
  • Ottawa police seize more than 3,000 litres of fuel from protesters, according to demonstrators

FEB. 7, 2022

  • Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson requests an additional 1,800 officers in a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Trudeau, calling the protest a “siege”
  • Ottawa city council votes to ask the province to bring legislation to be able to charge the protesters for the costs of damages caused by the demonstrations
  • An injunction is granted for 10 days in the class-action lawsuit against the convoy by Ottawa residents to stop the incessant honking
  • Trudeau addresses the House of Commons at an emergency debate requested by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
  • A blockage is erected in Windsor, Ont., at the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada to the U.S. through Detroit
  • Protest organizers say at an “emergency press conference” they want to form a coalition of opposition parties with the Governor General of Canada

FEB. 8, 2022

  • Ottawa police estimate approximately 500 trucks and personal vehicles remain in the red demonstration zone of the downtown core
  • Liberal MP Joel Lightbound holds a press conference on Parliament Hill speaking out against Canadian COVID-19 policies