The 27-nation bloc's longtime focus on clean energy is beginning to bear fruit, with emissions declining.
The 27-nation bloc's longtime focus on clean energy is beginning to bear fruit, with emissions declining.
President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
(Submitted by Gerald McKenzie - image credit) First Nations in Saskatchewan have continued to be hit hard by COVID-19 in the first two months of 2021. According to Indigenous Services Canada, during the first seven weeks of 2021, there were 2,779 new cases in reserves in Saskatchewan — more than in any other province. By comparison, in that same time period, there were 2,290 cases on reserves in Manitoba and 2,389 in Alberta. In a Wednesday news release, Indigenous Services said it is "closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country." However, there is some good news — active case counts are declining, and there has not yet been a confirmed case of any of the new coronavirus variants of concern on reserve. Vaccine deliveries are also ramping up, and as of Feb. 23, Indigenous Services reported that more than 103,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Indigenous communities throughout Canada. In Saskatchewan, as of Feb. 14, the federal department estimates that vaccine uptake in First Nations communities was at or above 75 per cent. Indigenous Services also said it is working to support the vaccine rollout for Indigenous adults living in urban areas. "ISC is working closely with [the] National Association of Friendship Centres, as well as provinces and territories, First Nation, Inuit and Métis partners, and other urban community service organizations to support planning efforts," the department said in its news release this week. "This includes working to identify barriers, challenges and opportunities for increasing vaccine uptake and ensuring the vaccine is available in culturally safe and accessible locations." According to the department, vaccine clinics for Indigenous adults are currently being planned for Saskatoon and Regina.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced scoring attack in a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire CentreJuuso Valimaki, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames, who ended Ottawa's three-game win streak.Drake Batherson, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk replied for the last-place Senators. Ottawa (7-15-1) remain in the NHL basement with 15 points.Calgary (10-10-2) moved into a fourth-place tie with Montreal in the North Division with 22 points. The Canadiens were scheduled to play the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.The Flames opened the scoring four minutes into the game. The speedy Johnny Gaudreau zipped around a couple of Ottawa players before sending a backhand saucer pass to Valimaki for the one-timer.The Flames scored again 37 seconds later as Backlund flipped a rolling puck past a handcuffed Matt Murray.The Sens goalie stopped 27-of-33 shots on Saturday.Perhaps in an effort to spark his teammates, Austin Watson fought bruising Flames forward Milan Lucic on the ensuing faceoff. Lucic, who had a 35-pound weight advantage, won the decision.Calgary took advantage of some sloppy defensive play ahead of its third goal. Josh Norris turned the puck over deep in the zone and Lindholm snapped it in at 11:05.Batherson extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a power-play effort at 13:05. He beat David Rittich with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle.Another Senators' defensive lapse proved costly early in the second period as Chris Tierney coughed up the puck down low. Gaudreau fed it to Monahan for the power-play goal at 4:02.A Calgary shorthanded goal followed at 9:36. Mangiapane hit the post with a redirect attempt before tapping in the rebound. White responded 40 seconds later by scooping a loose puck off the faceoff and snapping it past a screened Rittich. The netminder posted 31 saves in Calgary's win.The lone goal in the third period came when Brady Tkachuk scored on the Ottawa power play at 10:00.The Senators dumped the Flames 6-1 on Thursday night. The teams will face off again Monday in the finale of Ottawa's five-game homestand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Pembroke – The Barry’s Bay area was identified by the local health unit as the hotspot for COVID-19 in Renfrew County last week, making not only local news, but national news for the small village of about 1,300 people in the southwestern part of the county. “It put us in a very bad light as a community,” Madawaska Valley (MV) Mayor Kim Love told the Leader. “The concern from the business owners was the very negative impression this was giving of our community. We have been working very hard. The vast majority of the population has been working very hard to comply.” In an open letter to the community, she alsocalled out those who are not complying with directives from the Renfrew County District Health Unit (RCDHU). “To anyone simply unwilling to follow the guidelines of public health, if you can’t join the rest of society in wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying six feet apart, then please stay home,” she said. In a release last Friday from the RCDHU, Barry’s Bay was highlighted not only as an area of concern because of merchants who complain about customers not complying with mask wearing, but also “anti-mask demonstrations and concerns about post-secondary students not complying” with health unit directives. Since January 1st, the Bay area has had 27 cases of COVID-19 whereas the remainder of Renfrew County and the district covered by the RCDHU has totaled only 47. This is 36 per cent of all the cases in an area with only 12 per cent of the total population in RCD. However, a clarification on Monday given by the health unit to MV, where Barry’s Bay is located, stated the issue is not just seen as isolated to the village by the health unit, but the entire township, as well as neighbouring townships. These are: Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (KHR); Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan (BL&R) and South Algonquin. Mayor Love passed this on in a letter to the community, pointing out Barry’s Bay is the main service and employment centre for the area. “It has a combined population of approximately 12,600 people,” she wrote. “Of the 27 cases of COVID-19 referenced and attributed to the Barry’s Bay area by the RCDHU press release, 22 cases have been in Madawaska Valley, four in Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan and one in South Algonquin.” KHR has the distinction of being one of two municipalities in the county with no cases of COVID since the pandemic began, the other being Head, Clara and Maria. Pikwakanagan First Nation has also had no cases. Blindsided By Release It’s been a couple of challenging days for Mayor Love since Barry’s Bay was named a hotspot. The municipality and business owners were basically blindsided by the press release, she pointed out. “We had no notice, so that puts you in reactive mode,” she said. “We would prefer to be a partner in assisting in getting the message out.” Since then, the emails, calls and messages began to go back and forth between the township, the mayor and the health unit, as well as members of the local board of health. The township was also dealing with inquiries by business owners and community members who were concerned and upset. Impact on Business A Barry’s Bay business owner who spoke to the Leader on the condition of anonymity called the press release from the health unit “damaging, reckless and very careless” to frame the community as a hotspot. “It has affected business in Barry’s Bay and people’s perception of Barry’s Bay and coming into town,” he said. “And things like this last a long time.” Their business saw a “noticeable” decline in business since Saturday. Speaking to other business owners, they reported the same impact with declines in foot traffic or cancellations of reservations for services or appointments. “The damage they did to Barry’s Bay is unbelievable,” they said. “To get the title of hotspot thrown at us is unbelievable.” The fall out in social media has been tremendous as well, they noted. “People are criticizing businesses if they see snowmobiles parked at their locations,” they noted. “It is inciting back and forth comments that are not fair. “Everyone in the business community is feeling the fallout. There is no other way to describe it,” they noted. “It has been felt since the weekend.” Of added concern they said the health unit had never singled out another community like this and they questioned if it had a co-relation to the anti-mask protest on a Sunday earlier in the month in the community. They also said singling out post-secondary students was not fair since the post-secondary institution in the community, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College, has worked hard to ask students and staff to comply with local health directives. Ironically, as their business saw less foot traffic, the question was where people were going for their shopping. If they are choosing to travel to other communities to shop, it just increases the impact of travel. “They have scared people and put people in a worried state,” the business owner said. Timing of Release Mayor Love said while the spike in cases occurred in the first two weeks in January, the press release and notification of concern did not occur until the third week in February. “We wanted the health unit to know if they communicate with us as soon as they see a spike in numbers, we are there for them, to assist them with messages directly to our public,” she said. “We are there to help and also keep our communities healthy and safe.” Mayor Love said she understands MV had one case of COVID-19 early on in 2020 and no cases at the time of the December 26 provincial lockdown. By January 11, the township had 15 cumulative cases and seven active ones. “It could be someone travelling into Madawaska Valley from an infected area or someone travelling to an infected area and coming back to Madawaska Valley,” she said. “The travel that brought COVID-19 here might have involved cities like Ottawa or Toronto, but it could just as easily have been local travel within Renfrew County.” The mayor also described it as “unfortunate” a reporter travelled to the community from an Orange Zone to Barry’s Bay on Saturday to report on the situation. “I’m not sure that would be essential travel,” she said. The mayor said moving forward she is glad to have an open line of communication with the health unit and is anticipating a good working relationship as a partner in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Health Unit Warning Renfrew County and district has been classified as a Green Zone throughout the time the province had applied the COVID-19 Response Framework and was among the first regions to re-open following the provincial lockdown in December. With a total of 321 cases since the pandemic began and 11 active cases reported on Tuesday and two deaths since the pandemic began, the district is one of those with the lowest infection numbers in Ontario and well below the provincial average. Although early on the COVID numbers were isolated to the larger centres in the county like Arnprior or Renfrew and those closest to Ottawa, it is rare for one community to be highlighted as an area of concern within the county as has occurred with Barry’s Bay and region. One exception was when an outbreak occurred among a Mennonite Community in Whitewater Region, but that situation was always identified as being confined to the self-contained community. Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting chief medical officer of health for the health unit, stressed the county and district has had low numbers overall. “The exception is the Barry’s Bay area which, surprisingly, has seen more COVID-19 cases in 2021 than all of last year,” he said in a release. “While there is no obvious direct cause and effect link, and the spread has mostly been within families, we have to ask, why is this area not following the downward trend we see across the rest of RCD?” he asked. He did not rule out implementing more stringent rules in the Barry’s Bay area if the number of cases continues to rise. “Businesses are finally getting the chance to open again, to employ their workers, and to serve their customers delayed needs,” he added. “The last thing we want to do is to jeopardize our status and clamp down yet again on the economy, or possibly implement more stringent rules in the neighbourhood of Barry’s Bay compared to elsewhere in Renfrew County and district. “This is concerning as it will be a challenge with forecasts of a third wave driven by COVID-19 variants that are more infectious and spread quicker than the original strains of the virus.” Dr. Cushman said constant attention needs to be paid to masking, distancing and proper hygiene. Moreover, what stands out amongst the latest cases is the number of contacts and the additional spread. “COVID-19 is a very social virus, especially the new strains and it goes without saying that we need strict adherence to our household and workplace contacts to limit the spread,” he said. “We are all in this together and I would urge everyone of us, and especially the folks living in the Barry’s Bay area to be vigilant to protect themselves, others and the economy. As the old saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Mayor Love Reaches Out Since the community was identified as a hotspot, Mayor Love sent two open letters to the community. “The municipality has repeatedly asked everyone to comply with provincial orders and follow the guidelines of public health,” she said in an open letter. “Not doing so jeopardizes the health of our essential workers, healthcare providers, families, seniors and the economic viability to the local businesses we all depend on. “To the vast majority of Madawaska Valley residents and visitors who are staying within their household bubbles, wearing masks, washing their hands, staying six feet apart and limiting their exposure to others, you are putting the well-being of our entire society first and we sincerely thank you,” she said. “To anyone who, for medical reasons can’t wear a mask, please contact a friend or a volunteer group that is willing to pick up food and essentials for you while you stay safe at home.” The mayor also addressed some of the concerns raised by Dr. Cushman. “To anti-mask protesters, please note that protests will not end this pandemic,” the mayor stated. “COVID-19 doesn’t care if you protest. Everyone who is following the guidelines of public health does care. If you can’t join us, then please stay home.” Mayor Love concluded by asking everyone in the community to follow the established protocols. “Let’s make sure the Barry’s Bay area doesn’t require stricter enforcement measures,” she said. “We are all in this together. We all need to stay vigilant right now to protect the local economy and our community.” As the focus shifted to Barry’s Bay late last week, the entire county and district saw a slow increase in COVID-19 numbers. Earlier last week an outbreak was reported at Valley Manor, the long-term care home in Barry’s Bay. An outbreak is declared at a long-term care home when one individual tested positive. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
(Submitted by Kevin Snyder - image credit) Maple Syrup is having a sweet moment as producers get ready to tap the trees in their woodlots to prepare to make stock for 2021. The natural sweetener is proving popular for families spending more time at home and using it more in their recipes. "I had an increase in sales since COVID started and I couldn't figure it out at first," said Kevin Snyder of Snyder Heritage Farms in Bloomingdale, Ont. "And then one of my customers made a comment. 'Before the lockdown,' he said, 'we were making pancakes once a month.' He says now that everybody's home, 'we're making pancakes three or four times a month.'" As customers purchase the remaining supply of 2020 Ontario syrup, producers like Snyder and Dan Goetz of Shady Grove Maple Company in Guelph, Ont. are tapping the trees at their woodlots and waiting for the sweet spot: a temperature formula that fluctuates from about –5 C at night to 5 degrees during the day. The modern pipeline collects from five to eight trees and moves the sap into a storage tank. Red leaves predict sweet season Goetz started tapping trees in early February. He needed to get ready for the March sap withdrawal, as he has 40 thousand taps and hoses to put in place at the 20 Ontario woodlots he owns in Kitchener, Guelph, Durham, Chatsworth and Campbellville. In addition to temperatures today, he also kept a close eye on the leaf colours last fall. They offer a clue about how the syrup will taste in the coming season. "We had real bright colours in the leaves, so that usually means high sugar production," said Goetz. "Reds especially tend to lean toward higher sugar contents, better sugar production. Sometimes that proves us wrong, but it's usually true." Also, he says, "there's lots of available water coming now with all the snow we're getting." Maple syrup being drawn off an evaporator at Shady Grove Maple Company. Regional flavour Syrups from each region of Ontario offer a different taste and spectrum of colours, from dark to light. "Every different region has different flavours according to how the the trees are grown and the soil type," explained Snyder. "So when you become a maple syrup connoisseur, there's a whole window of opportunity to sample and try many different flavours and grades out there. All maple syrup isn't the same. There's a huge difference in flavours, according to regions and producers." The finished product. The maple syrup is stored in stainless steel containers at Shady Grove Maple Company in Guelph. All Ontario made syrup is sold with the "Sweet Ontario" logo on the container and can be purchased directly from any maple syrup producer. "It's a local sugar," says Kevin Snyder. "And a lot of people don't realize how close their sources are until they start driving 10 or 15 kilometres and they find a local source."
(Langham Cultural Society - image credit) As B.C. marks 150 years since it joined Canada, a new book detailing the racist history of the province has been released as a public resource to help teach young British Columbians about an often unacknowledged part of our history. The 80-page illustrated book, titled Challenging Racist "British Columbia": 150 Years and Counting, delves into discriminatory policies that have impacted Indigenous, Black and Asian communities, and ties those histories to present day anti-racist movements. "This resource honours the activists and communities that have been fighting racism for 150 years and, as the current anti-racist uprising demonstrates, are still having to stand up to system racism on a daily basis," co-author John Price said. "Hopefully it serves as a wake-up call to governments that no longer should they engage in divide-and-rule policies." Founded in 1906 in Vancouver, the Khalsa Diwan Society brought together Sikh newcomers to build the first gurdwara in Canada, which became an important safe space for Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and activists. "This is meant to be a hard hitting publication that reveals a real, harsher history of British Columbia," said Nicholas Claxton, co-author and elected chief of the Tsawout First Nation on southern Vancouver Island. "Teachers can begin to utilize it and also be used in teacher education programs to help start to teach the real history, not an ethnically cleansed history." Long term, Claxton hopes it will lead to justice for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) communities. The book isn't just about the history of the province, Claxton said, but about ongoing systemic racism and how we can rethink where we've come from, and where we want to go in terms of racial equality. Indigenous activists, from left, Andrew Paull, Chief William Scow and Rev. Peter Kelly with the First Indian Advisory Committee. In 1945, Vivian Jung was denied entry to Crystal Pool when trying to fulfill her teachers’ training qualifications there. With her instructor and classmates behind her, they protested the discrimination until the colour bar was removed, and Jung became the first Chinese Canadian teacher with the Vancouver School Board. The project is a joint initiative between the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and a University of Victoria research project called Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific. It's available for download to the public at challengeracistbc.ca. To hear the interview with Nicholas Claxton, click here:
A 17-year-old classical pianist and martial arts expert’s eyesight hangs in the balance as his mother begs for access to treatment for his rare disease retinitis pigmentosa. The teenager has a small window of opportunity: the treatment will stop or reverse a form of blindness, but only works if he has a certain amount of vision. They are fighting “like crazy” before he becomes ineligible for treatment and hoping for the government to step in soon. This is but one of the many stories shared by Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD). Feb. 28 is Rare Disease Day, and with one in 12 Canadians affected by a rare disease — two-thirds are children — Wong-Rieger talked about the burden felt by patients and families. “Rare diseases do affect a lot of people. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 rare diseases. Some will affect one in 2,000, some will affect one in a million, some are so rare that we only know maybe two people (affected) in all of Canada,” Wong-Rieger said. Some well-known rare diseases include cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease. Many rare diseases are genetic due to a misprogramming of a person’s DNA, according to Wong-Rieger. Fifty per cent of rare diseases are non-spontaneous mutation: like cancer. “There are more people that have a rare disease than all cancer combined,” Wong-Rieger added. During newborn screenings in Ontario, where babies’ heels get pricked for a blood sample, only 36 rare diseases are tested. “Most children may seem normal, and will reach certain milestones, up until a certain age. Then they don’t progress or lose function,” Wong-Rieger said. On average, Wong-Rieger said it takes up to four to seven years to get a correct diagnosis for a rare disease, with parents getting from one to 14 misdiagnosis. Sometimes, treatments will make the child worse, or the misdiagnosis delays the treatment and the disease progresses. Wong-Rieger advises parents to keep a diary of symptoms to show physicians. “The federal government has promised $1 billion in 2019 to set up a rare disease program. We’re hoping before the end of this year, we will see this program in place and get the therapies available to patients who need them,” she said. “We want to make sure government is accountable. Canada is far behind than most of the European countries when it comes to (supporting those suffering from) rare diseases,” Wong-Rieger said. For more information, visit www.raredisorders.ca. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
It's a year of change at the Canadian women's curling championship in the Calgary bubble. The field was padded to 18 teams this year for the first time. There are no spectators at the Markin MacPhail Centre due to the pandemic. The Page system was dropped in favour of a three-team playoff. Coaching benches are at opposite ends of the ice rather than beside each other. Traditional post-game handshakes are verboten with some players tapping brooms instead. Curling fans and athletes are still thrilled to have the sport back on the domestic stage after a long absence. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the first of six events to be held in the protected "bubble" environment — has been a success entering the final weekend. Championship pool play continues Saturday and the playoffs are set for Sunday. Many classic traditions specific to the Hearts are on hiatus for 2021. The HeartStop Lounge, a party barn with entertainment, food and drink, is obviously idle this year. The annual women's curler banquet and full-field group photo should also return in 2022. And in a change to a long-standing routine that Hearts competitors have held dear since 1981, many teams will not receive jewelry this year. Longtime event sponsor Kruger Products decided it will only award jewelry to the four teams — P.E.I., N.W.T., Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador — who were able to play provincial/territorial playdowns. The nine provincial teams who accepted invitations after the pandemic forced the cancellation of their respective association championships are out of luck. "Players/teams that were acclaimed entry into the 2021 Scotties and any alternate players that were not part of a winning provincial/territorial team are unfortunately not eligible to receive jewelry," said Kruger corporate marketing director Oliver Bukvic. "This is a very unique year, with many changes due to COVID, and we will recognize the winners who earned a berth in the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts." That's a change from last season when Nunavut — the other territorial entry in the field — received jewelry despite not playing down. Jewelry is not given out to defending champions (automatic entry) or wild-card teams (entry via ranking). Unlike the nine pandemic-affected provincial entries, Iqaluit was able to host championships this year. However, women's playdowns weren't held because the Nunavut team — which did not receive jewelry this year — was unopposed for a second straight season. Bukvic didn't comment on previous setups but said this year's plans came down to eligibility. "We look forward to next year when we'll hopefully be back to normalcy and we'll be able to recognize all of these provincial and territorial winners with their jewelry for winning their playdown," he said. First-year players who are eligible for jewelry receive a gold necklace with a four-heart pendant. A diamond is added to the pendant for each of the next four appearances. After that, a tennis bracelet is awarded with a diamond addition for every return to the Hearts. "We knew that that wasn't really on the table this year, which is fine," said Alberta vice Kate Cameron. "I think we were really excited to have this opportunity to even be here right now. "I think given the state of the world and everything we're going through and then being selected to represent Alberta, I think was something that we were really honoured to do. So I think we're just happy to be here." The jewelry is a significant perk for all teams who receive it, but particularly those who finish on the low end of the event payout structure. Teams cut after the preliminary round receive $2,500 apiece. The winning Hearts team receives $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse. Curlers who reach the podium will still receive traditional rings. The champions have rings set with a diamond, the finalists with a ruby and the third-place team with an emerald. The Hearts finalist receives $60,000 and the third-place team receives $40,000. Other championship pool teams receive $15,000 apiece. Kruger is celebrating its 40th year of Hearts sponsorship this season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
(Government of P.E.I. - image credit) Prince Edward Island is reintroducing some public health restrictions — including no indoor dining at restaurants —after six new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday. The restrictions will begin Sunday and be in effect until at least March 14, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, said in a COVID-19 briefing Saturday. P.E.I. has had 12 cases in the past four days, and a handful of potential exposure sites have been identified. "This outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better," Morrison said. Other "circuit-breaker" measures announced Saturday include: Takeout only at restaurants. Personal gatherings limited to household members plus 10 "consistent" people. Organized gathering limit of 50 for activities including concerts, worship services, and movie theatres Weddings and funerals limited to 50 individuals plus officiants. Not eligible for multiple gatherings. No funeral or wedding receptions. No sports games or tournaments, though practices are permitted. Gyms, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at 50 per cent capacity. No changes to current measures for long-term care facilities. Unlicensed and licensed child-care centres can operate at 100 per cent capacity, with physical distancing. The Chief Public Health Office has asked all people aged 14-29 in the Summerside area to get tested this weekend even if they are not experiencing symptoms. People with symptoms are asked to get tested at clinics in Slemon Park or on Park Street in Charlottetown. By 3 p.m. Saturday, Morrison said close to 1,000 tests were done at the temporary clinic at Three Oaks High School. The clinic is open until 8 p.m., and will be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone in the Summerside area aged 14-29. Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside was identified Saturday as a possible exposure site. The new cases, five men and one woman, are all in their 20s. Five are close contacts of previous cases. Four new exposure sites were also identified on Saturday — Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside, Pita Pit locations in Summerside and Charlottetown, and Burger King in the Summerside Walmart. Premier Dennis King said the province does not know if the new cases are variants, but the assumption is they are. He said it's not the news he wanted to deliver, but said circuit breakers have proven effective in the past. "I think it's discouraging from the perspective for all Islanders simply because we've done very, very well to date and we can see the finish line, but we do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID that it won't really let us firmly out of its grip." P.E.I. has had 126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Thirteen remain active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. The Atlantic bubble remains suspended, as well. Here is a list of possible public exposure sites on PEI. Public health officials are urging anyone who was at these locations on these dates and at these times to immediately self-isolate and get tested. Pita Pit, Summerside: Feb 19, 11 a.m.-9 pm.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb 22, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 24, 2-4 p.m.; Feb 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Callbeck's Home Hardware, Summerside: Feb. 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (all dates) Burger King, Granville Street, Summerside: Feb 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 17, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Feb 18, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb. 20, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 22, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 25, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Dominos Pizza, Summerside: Feb 17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb. 18, 4-11 p.m.; Feb. 19, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Feb 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Feb. 21, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 22, 4-11 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Shoppers Drug Mart, Summerside: Feb 21, 10-11 a.m. Dollarama, Summerside: Feb 20, 3-4 p.m. Superstore, Montague: Feb 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Feb 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tailgate Bar & Grill, Montague: Feb 25, 9:30-11:30 p.m. Iron Haven Gym, Summerside: Feb. 20, 6-8 p.m.; Feb 23, 6-8 p.m. Toys R Us, Charlottetown: Feb 23, 10 a.m.-12 noon Taste of India, Charlottetown: Feb 20, 4-10 p.m.; Feb. 21, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 22, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Breakfast Spot, Summerside: Feb 20, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. New Brunswick reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total, 41, continues to drop. New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect. Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as tighter restrictions came into force to stem a recent increase in case numbers. The province has 39 active cases. Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases, as well as another death. It has 217 active cases. More from CBC News
More than 850 cows that have spent months on a ship in the Mediterranean are no longer fit for transport and should be killed, Spain's Agriculure Ministry said on Saturday, confirming an earlier Reuters report. The cows were kept in what an animal rights activist called "hellish" conditions on the Karim Allah, which docked in the southeastern Spanish port of Cartagena on Thursday after struggling to find a buyer for the cattle during the past two months. The animals were rejected by several countries over fears they had bovine bluetongue virus.
WASHINGTON — Federal investigators probing the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in the Jan. 6 riot have zeroed in on a suspect seen on video appearing to spray a chemical substance on the officer before he later collapsed and died, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The FBI has obtained video that shows the person spraying Brian Sicknick and other law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 riot, the people said. But they cautioned that federal agents haven't yet identified the suspect by name and the act hasn't been directly tied to Sicknick's death. The idea that Sicknick died after being sprayed by a chemical irritant has emerged in recent weeks as a new theory in the case. Investigators initially believed that Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to one of the people and another law enforcement official briefed on the case. But as they've collected more evidence, the theory of the case has evolved and investigators now believe Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — during the riot that may have contributed to his death, the officials said. The people could not publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Sicknick died after defending the Capitol against the mob that stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win over Donald Trump. It came after Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death remain unclear and a final cause of death has not yet been determined. Capitol Police have said he died after he was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and this week, the agency’s acting chief said officials consider it a line-of-duty death. Sicknick collapsed later on, was hospitalized and died. The Justice Department opened a federal murder investigation into his death, but prosecutors are still evaluating what specific charges could be brought in the case, the people said. In a statement late Friday, Capitol Police said the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death is not yet complete. “We are awaiting toxicology results and continue to work with other government agencies regarding the death investigation,” the statement said. The New York Times first reported investigators were zeroing in on one suspect in the case; CNN previously reported law enforcement had collected video evidence to identify a handful of potential suspects. The FBI has already released about 250 photos of people being sought for assaulting federal law enforcement officers during the riot. Some have already been arrested and the Justice Department said about 300 people have been charged with federal offences related to the riot. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A Vancouver-area health authority says people at three schools in the region have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern. A news release from Fraser Health says it is working with the Surrey school district to manage COVID-19 exposures at Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School. It says the cases involving an unspecified COVID-19 variant appear to be linked to community transmissions, but the schools will remain open. The health authority also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital on Friday. It says five patients at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 after evidence of transmission in a medicine unit. It says the emergency department remains open and no other areas have been impacted. Meanwhile, an outbreak at the CareLife Fleetwood long-term care home in Surrey was declared over. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored after setting up Ousmane Dembele for the opener to secure a 2-0 victory at Sevilla on Saturday, lifting Barcelona into second place in the Spanish league. Dembele netted in the 29th minute when Messi played him clear on a quick attack to end Sevilla’s excellent defensive streak of five straight clean sheets in the league. Messi then capped a complete performance by his team in the 85th when he dribbled through the area and beat goalkeeper Yassine Bounou on a second try. It was Messi’s league-leading 19th goal. Barcelona will meet Sevilla again on Wednesday needing to overcome a 2-0 first-leg loss in the return leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal. Barcelona’s victory left it two points behind leader Atlético Madrid, which has two more matches to play. Sevilla was left in fourth place after the end of its run of six straight victories in the league. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
Once again, the West Parry Sound Pool project is making waves in Whitestone’s online community. Following a question-and-answer document posted on the municipal website on Feb. 25, a Whitestone ratepayer named Bruce Morris shared the link with Whitestone Community Chat on Facebook where it soon drew discussion. “Even after all of the knowledge of how the majority of ratepayers are against the project and all of the data to show why it is a waste of time and money, I guess the mayor has decided to create this draft of fiction,” wrote Morris in the comments. Another ratepayer stated that the Q&A document was not impartial and should be dismissed. “The will of the majority of Whitestone ratepayers must be taken into consideration not the will of Parry Sound and some members of council,” said Sue Krusell. Whitestone’s councillor Joe Lamb was quick to comment on the Facebook post stating that he did not agree with the document being published as is. “I was asked for input on these questions and answers,” wrote Lamb. “I will post separately my input to the mayor.” The document says that it is answers to questions raised by Whitestone ratepayers regarding the proposed West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Centre project and the municipality’s participation in the project. In a separate post on the Whitestone Community Chat, Lamb posted his opposition to the Q&A document posted on the municipal website. “Mr. Mayor, in addition to my earlier comments, I have reviewed each one of the 25 questions and ‘your’ responses,” said Lamb. “I must reiterate these are just your responses, they simply cannot be ‘from council’ because they are absolutely misleading.” It is not known at this time when Whitestone will make a decision on its involvement in the West Parry Sound pool project however it has been stated that the municipality will hold another public meeting before it makes its decision. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Eganville – A public meeting about a proposed zoning amendment allowing four RVs to be used for seasonal accommodation per property showed there is more than a little interest in the topic among Bonnechere Valley residents. The meeting, which was originally slated to last two hours, lasted three hours and even that was not long enough to read the 171 letters township residents had sent either in favour of allowing RVs or opposing the initiative. As a result, a second public meeting has been called on the issue where the remaining letters will be read, as well as any new letters received on the topic. Listening to the letters at of the ZOOM meeting, it was clear there was a diversity of opinions, but mostly the viewpoints were divided pretty well down the middle with about half the respondents in favour of the proposed by-law and the other half opposed. The issue had first been spearheaded by the Lake Clear Property Owners Land Use Committee and while most of the letters appeared to have a connection to Lake Clear, there were also letters from residents from other parts of the municipality, since the issue is now a township-wide by-law amendment. Under the by-law council not only clarified what is classified as an RV but stated an RV could be used for seasonal accommodation and there could be four RVs per lot in the township. The only exception is the village of Eganville. Following the public meeting, Mayor Jennifer Murphy said it became clear early on there would not be a chance to finish the public meeting last Tuesday because there were so many letters. “We had allotted two hours for the meeting,” she said. “Normally a public meeting is about 15 minutes or 30 minutes. As the letters came in, it was blatantly obvious we would not get through them all in two hours.” During the meeting, the mayor proposed extending the meeting for an additional hour to get through as many of the letters as possible. Not only were council members listening to the letters but also those who signed in on ZOOM or those listening on the township YouTube stream. Staff members read each letter – and some were quite lengthy – and when the three-hour meeting was done there were still over 20 which had not been read. Since then, there have been more letters coming in and council agreed to allow more letters for the second public meeting which will continue to look into the issue. Mayor Murphy said the next meeting is being done in a timely fashion and also allows for the 20-day notice which is required for a public meeting. As well, the second meeting will allow council deliberation time on what they have heard or read. “This will give us more time,” she said. The new meeting is scheduled for March 19 at 10 a.m. and will be a ZOOM meeting like the last one. The meeting is also streamed on YouTube. Not only will the remaining letters be read, but the new letters and then council will have a chance to discuss the issue. Although there was a provision for presentations, Mayor Murphy explained anyone who wrote a letter will not be able to give a presentation. It is clear the issue is very important to some residents with many heartfelt comments and strongly held opinions on the topic. There were a lot of different opinions expressed on the issue and having an opportunity to listen to all of them will allow council to delve into the issue again, she said. “As a council we can discuss what we heard,” she said. “There were some constructive letters which gave some compromise positions.” Some of the factors which might be considered are lot size, frontage and setbacks, she noted. The issue has been simmering – sometimes more actively than others – for about five years since the original request came to council asking for the municipality to ban RVs around Lake Clear. Since then, it turned into a township-wide by-law issue. The previous council did not make a decision on the issue and this council moved the issue ahead with the by-law amendment. However, there was also some criticism of this council for making a decision during the COVID-19 pandemic when some property owners are not in the area. The Lake Clear Property Owners reached out to members asking them to submit opinions on the issue and the Golden Lake Property Owners Association also reached out to members about the proposed by-law amendment. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 as stricter rules take effect to stop the spread of the virus. Provincial health officials say three of the most recent cases are in the Halifax region and are close contacts of previously identified patients, while the fourth case in eastern Nova Scotia is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The latest infections bring the total number of active cases to 39 as new measures to control the virus take effect in Halifax and some neighbouring municipalities. Nova Scotia's chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang says while the number of new cases is low, he remains concerned that some recent cases do not have an obvious source of infection. He says the new restrictions will act like a "circuit breaker" to stop the potential spread of a new coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. The new measures include closing restaurants and bars by 10 p.m. as well as restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes. All sporting games, competitions, tournaments and in-person performances have been banned, though sports practices and training or arts and culture rehearsals can continue with a cap of up to 25 people without spectators. Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province, especially to and from the Halifax area. Premier Iain Rankin reiterated the need for stricter restrictions despite the low number of new cases on Saturday. "While today's case count is lower than the last two days, I am still greatly concerned about the trend we have been seeing in recent case numbers in Halifax," he said in a statement. "We must follow the public health restrictions to reverse the recent trend. No matter whether you live in Halifax or elsewhere in the province, I encourage you, even if you don't have symptoms, to book an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres or drop into a pop-up testing site." The new measures cover areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Lantz, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards. The new rules took effect at 8 a.m. Saturday and will be in place until March 26, with an extension possible. Meanwhile, the province has also changed rules for rotational workers. They will now be required to undergo three COVID-19 tests during their modified 14-day quarantine. Irving Shipbuilding, one of the largest employer's in the province, temporarily suspended production at the Halifax shipyard for the day Friday after a member of its workforce tested positive for COVID-19. The company is holding a pop-up testing site to test its employees this weekend. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
The federal auditor general says in a report that the Liberal government won't meet its goal to lift all boil-water advisories for several years. Dawn Martin-Hill, chair of Indigenous studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, says there needed to be more work with Indigenous communities to build a strategic plan to ensure access to reliable, safe drinking water.
Certains citoyens ont constaté avec stupéfaction le déboisement effectué au cours des dernières semaines à proximité du Parc Falaise dans le cadre du projet de construction de la Maison des aînés. Réclamant une politique de l’arbre, des membres du collectif Alma en transition ont déploré, lors de la séance du conseil municipal du 15 février, que la coupe se soit effectuée sans consultation citoyenne au préalable. Alma a assuré que le tout a été fait dans les règles et qu’elle n’avait pas d’autre choix, puisque le terrain n’appartient pas à la ville. Et même si les coupes ont été réalisées en milieu humide, le gouvernement du Québec a obtenu l’autorisation du ministère de l’Environnement. « Étant donné que la demande de permis était conforme de A à Z, même si on avait eu une politique de l’arbre, le conseil était pieds et poings liés dans ce dossier-là, au sens où il y avait un certificat d’autorisation. Le zonage était conforme, on n’avait aucune prise légale », a expliqué le conseiller municipal Frédéric Tremblay. Actions La conseillère Sylvie Beaumont a insisté sur le fait qu’Alma pose déjà plusieurs actions en ce qui a trait à la protection des arbres et au reboisement. « La ville a un suivi très serré au niveau de son couvert forestier. Des photos aériennes sont prises tous les 4-5 ans pour suivre l’évolution. Chaque année, ce sont 2000 plants d’arbres que nous donnons aux citoyens depuis 10 ans. L’an dernier, nous avons fait un bilan des arbres sur l’ensemble de territoire », a-t-elle rappelé à titre d’exemple. Pour sa part, la conseillère Véronique Fortin a proposé que la discussion sur l’enjeu de foresterie urbaine soit apportée au comité du développement durable. Bruit et vent « J’ai été catastrophée. Il y a du bruit qu’on n’entendait pas avant la coupe d’arbre. J’ai parlé avec des voisins qui eux, sont touchés par des vents qu’ils n’avaient pas avant. C’est certainement un beau projet, mais est-ce que c’était nécessaire de couper autant? », déplore une résidente du secteur, requérant l’anonymat. Un des porte-paroles d’Alma en transition illustre avec ironie le projet. « On veut protéger nos aînés, mais un arbre de 75 ans, c’est aussi un aîné », avance Benoit Poraudeau. « Un projet de cette ampleur, ce pas illégal, mais est-ce qu’on peut au moins communiquer avec la population? Ne me faites pas croire que tous ces arbres empêchaient la construction de la Maison des aînés », conclut-il. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Tay council isn't giving up on its hope for a Port McNicoll transit stop with plans to bring it back to the county during public consultations around its transportation master plan. That was the conclusion drawn at the end of a recent council session during which county representatives talked about the new LINX Transit route that will be launched in this summer. The discussion centred around the two stops studied for Port McNicoll. Dennis Childs, Simcoe County manager of transit, said the Triple Bay Road and Talbot Street stops looked at during the study would add up to 18 minutes to the Midland-Orillia route's run time. "When we look at the stop into Port McNicoll, the bus is going to go down one area stop and go out the other area," he said, in response to a question by Coun. Paul Raymond. "When you look at all the stops we've put in place, other than the end of the line, there's always one stop on the other side of the road and one on the opposite side. The reason is for efficiencies. "When you look at Port McNicoll, if we were to go down and put a bus loop, it's not going to save us any amount at all," added Childs. "The reason we had two stops on either side of Port McNicoll is for efficiencies. Anytime you're pulling into a bus loop, you're always going to need to add additional time." Raymond said, he, and other councillors, want the decision reconsidered. "I understand being a lower-tier municipality we don’t have a say," he said. "I tried to find out from the studies what the ridership estimates were per hour, per location. I could not find anything through the county’s site. Is that information available for Tay Township?" David Parks, director planning, development and transit with the County of Simcoe, said he did not have the information on hand but could share it with council later. "I know you know that the needs of the community in Port McNicoll are very important. When you do a study, do you look at the needs of a community and what they have in the community?" said Coun. Mary Warnock. "Is that part of your plan or is it just the logistics and costs?" Parks said the county looks at establishing a regional system. "Our study was limited, but our direction was from county council," he said. "That’s why we’re doing the (transportation) master plan to see if there’s more we can do. We didn’t get to that scale because it wasn’t our mandate, but I encourage you to bring that up." Raymond said he would make it a point to do so because he did not believe the micro-transit options were the answer. "(Accessibility) requirements prevent micro transit systems," he said. "So short of doing taxis, do you have any suggestion on how we could get around that economically?" Childs said there has been a huge push over the last few years for on-demand transit. "That really is the direction rural communities are going to have to go, because the ridership numbers are not high," he said. "It's an easier system to use and the vehicles you can use are smaller vehicles and compliant with current (accessibility) legislation. A lot of these new technologies use apps and make it much more user friendly." During the presentation, Childs noted that the transit link, known as Route 6, will see a soft launch in this summer with the first month being free. The delay was caused due to bus orders being delayed during the pandemic. The route has two stops in Midland and Victoria Harbour, one stop each in Waubaushene, Coldwater and Warminster and two stops in Orillia. The stops in Midland will be at No Frills and Georgian College. In Victoria Harbour, the bus will stop at Richard and Albert Streets and Oakwood Community Centre. On its way through Waubaushene, Route 6 will stop at Sturgeon Bay Road at Pine Street. In Coldwater, passengers can access the service at Coldwater Road and Michael Anne Drive. No specific stop destination was provided for Warminster, however, in Orillia, the bus will stop at Lakehead University and West Ridge Boulevard at Monarch Drive. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com