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Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump Representatives Disappointed with Lack of Walls in Eastern Ontario

By: Eric Turmelle
As the President-Elect prepares to take office, he has taken the first step in delivering on his campaign promise of constructing a 40 foot tall, 1,000 mile long precast concrete Mexican border wall. Trump has created a task force to determine what this wall would cost the American taxpayer. After performing some preliminary calculations, it became evident that there was no way this concrete structure could be built for under 21 billion dollars, more than double the amount the Donald had predicted during his campaign.

The task force, primarily comprised of material science deniers, set forth to find more cost effective materials that could potentially be used for the wall construction. They left no stone unturned: they looked at “stone, clay, and many others,” they assured Ottawhat? News. Some members of the task force even travelled to Berlin to confirm the infeasibility of that wall. It was noted, however, that they did not travel to China. The President-Elect was adamant that he did not want a solution “made in CHIIIINA.” With the need to think outside the box, combined with warnings not to look overseas for any further help or ideas, researchers stumbled upon a google search hinting that there may a novel solution being implemented just hours north of the border, and a mere hour away from Ottawa.

The group undertook two weeks’ worth of research, and a very expensive trip to Eastern Ontario. When all was said and done, the task force was very disappointed to find out there was in fact no wall made of corn in Cornwall. A pilot project to test the idea of a corn wall could be arranged, however, this would take months, and the future president wanted to begin construction on the wall immediately after his inauguration. News of the task force’s failures were leaked to the satire news media this morning.

Trump, who received criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for rising costs of the wall task force took to twitter last night: “Those Snow Mexicans think they’re so smart with their deliberately misleading town names. Let me tell you something, I don’t think it’s funny. They think breaking NAFTA is going to be a big deal. Wait until they see what I got in store for them! The “corn wall” may be a reality soon enough. I’m thinking we may need one North of the border after all, and I got news for them, they’re going to pay for it!”

While the future of Trump’s “corn wall” remains uncertain, one thing is crystal clear: Cornwall is a disappointing place for anyone to visit.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Facebook Turns to China for Guidance on Fake News Censorship

By: Eric Turmelle

Early this afternoon, Facebook announced details regarding their plan to tackle the fake news problems that have recently surfaced. Some credit Fake News as one of the major contributing factors to Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. election. During the last few weeks of the campaign, stories such as “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President” and “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead of Apparent Murder-Suicide” spread like wildfire through social media. The aforementioned stories were not only completely false, but the “source” of the content, the “Denver Guardian” is not even a legitimate news outlet.

Facebook plans to develop an algorithm that will automatically detect Fake News, and remove it from the site before it is even posted. Users will be warned a few times, and then eventually banned from the site if too many repeat offences are detected. Facebook confirmed that it will be partnering up with the Chinese government to develop these algorithms.

“When it comes to content management [censorship], China is light-years ahead of us,” said Facebook president Mark Zuckerberg in a press conference just a few hours ago, “Without their assistance, it would take many years to develop the content control algorithms we are looking for. With their assistance, this will take a mere few months.”

He continued “When users see content posted on Facebook, I want them to be confident it’s the truth. Users should not be expected to verify sources using other sites. Facebook should be the only source of content our users need, and with the help of the Chinese, we can make this a reality.”

While the future of internet censorship in North America is still uncertain, large sites such as Facebook will likely have an influence on others. While it is important to verify sources, censorship should be used with caution, as --CONTENT REDACTED--

Monday, November 14, 2016

Baptist Church in Westboro Seeks to Change Name

By: Keegan On

Reverend John Raymond has started his day the same way every day for the past 11 years: by dumping the church's mail into the garbage. For over a decade,  his church has struggled to distance themselves from a similarly named organization based out of Florida.  The American ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ is a religious organization known for their hate speech and severely conservative views on just about everything.

“We receive hundreds of letters and emails a month, mostly horrifying” explains Rev. Raymond. “I’m not sure what’s more disturbing, the messages of outrage sent for that other church or the ones of praise.”  

The Ottawa church has been attempting a rebrand since October 2015, but has been unable to come up with a satisfactory name nearly one year later. Past nominees include “Our Holy Baptizer of Westboro” and “Richmond Road Baptist Church”. The organization is accepting pitches for their new name, which can be submitted through their humble website, www.godhatesbrags.com. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Game of Garlic: Ottawa Shawarma Royalty Power Struggle Escalates

By: Keegan On
Tensions between Ottawa shawarma royalty rose again this week after Shawarma Prince fell victim to yet another drive-by turnipping. This marks the 7th attack on the heir to the shawarma throne this year. In January, 3 Brothers Shawarma changed the meat cone rotating speeds at Shawarma Prince, causing hours of delays. Last month, Mr. Shawarma was caught attempting to steal a secret hummus recipe from the would-be king.

A proclamation from the Shawarma Palace was decreed yesterday, calling for a ceasefire between all restaurants. The Shawarma King himself announced that as his eldest son, “Shawarma Prince will take the throne when it is time.” He also reiterated that any rumours about the illegitimacy of his children are false.

Unfortunately, these claims have been hotly contested by Queen Shawarma, who now resides in Castle Shawarma with New Shawarma King Plus. She insists that Shawarma Prince is not the biological son of Shawarma King, and that the true successor to the throne is Shawarma Prince Gourmet. The Castle Shawarma clan has been garnering support over the last few months, and experts say that Ottawa may be posed for an all out shawarma war.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Sinkhole Divides Local Sinkhole Cult

By: Mike Holuj
Sunday, October 2nd was a big day in history for Ottawa’s sinkhole-worshipping cult, The Hole Family. Ottawa’s second sinkhole of the year has created a divide within the organization. One side, called The Hole Family (THF), is for the elongation of the construction season, praying to the powers that control it for any interruption and extension. The other side, the Sinkhole’s Justified Witnesses (SJW) only worship sinkholes. Earl Vickers, the leader of the newly formed Sinkhole’s Witness, explains the reasons behind the schism:

“I was at the sinkhole. I saw it happen. I was the one who caused it, but don't tell anyone that,” says Vickers. “I took it as a sign that we have a lot more control in the affairs of the construction season. I realized that every sinkhole is sacred and no matter how big or small, they all should be praised. If this sinkhole didn’t happen, my season would be ending. Now, I’ll be here for another month at least.” The shift in the new faction’s belief created a stir, says Vickers, “The whole experience caused me to rethink how we did things back in THF. I spoke to Burt, the leader, about it but he didn’t agree with me. He thought I didn’t respect the natural order of things.”

“I told him he didn’t respect the natural order of things,” says Burt Washington, leader of The Hole Family. “They worship the sinkholes. We worship the forces behind construction season. We have a much wider range of praises because anything could extend the season. A big storm, a special project, another LRT stop, and naturally a sinkhole. Those Sinkhole Witnesses are a dark mark on the history of The Hole Family.”

When asked about how the formation of a second construction worker’s cult would impact the construction industry, Jim Watson’s office answered “What, is this like a union thing?”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Photo Radar Almost as Unpopular as OC Transpo: Survey

As the photo radar debate rages on in Ottawa City Council, the public’s opinion on the matter becomes increasingly clear. A recent survey, conducted by a public interest watchdog group, found that the photo radar proposal is nearly as disliked as Ottawa’s most reviled organization: OC Transpo.

“It’s incredible” says Maggie Petra, Head Researcher at Whatyouth Inc., “In the Ottawa region, OC Transpo has always acted as a steady constant for our studies. The scale for virtually every study we conduct goes from the near universal dislike for Ottawa public transit, all the way to the revered Bluesfest. Few events, projects, or issues, have received as low of a score as the photo radar motion has.”

The near record-low rating came as a shock to some, surpassing reviled topics such as the Monument to the Victims of Communism, the Mike Duffy Trial, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Clearly we have underestimated the intense dislike for the project in its current state” said City Council member Rich Carrally, “In light of this rating, I am going to propose that we take another look at this legislation and find a more popular solution. City Council is committed to getting this done as fast as possible...well, not too fast...as fast as legally acceptable”.

Next week, we will have the results of a new public opinion survey in light of the city approving 20 new red light cameras in Ottawa.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fake News No Longer Funny: Poll

Readers in search of a laugh may soon have to look elsewhere. This week researchers at Carleton University published a study that proves what many have suspected for years: that the golden era of satire news is dead. The study, which was conducted over six months, asked 112 participants to rate various comedic media from “hilarious” (ie. Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show) to “appalling” (ie. Bill Cosby in real life).

Of the comedy formats that were judged, satire news articles came in last, scoring slightly less than prop humour and wedding speeches. Conversely, researchers found that new forms such as $5 comedy specials scored very well, and classics such as “videos of people doing stupid things and getting hurt” remained popular.

Many people are not surprised in the slightest by the rankings. Audiences will always laugh at videos of a cat acting like a person or a song full of puns, but fake news will continue to struggle to be not unbelievable enough. Furthermore, satirical news sites have a long history of causing outrage and angering their readers. When asked for a statement, an editor at Ottawhat? News stated “That’s a terrible idea for an article,” adding, “Don’t write that up, Keegan.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trans Canada trail not inclusive enough says LGBTQQIP2SAA community

By: Mike Holuj
Canada’s largest network of recreational trails, the Trans Canada Trail, is under harsh scrutiny from the LGBTQQIP2SAA community for not being inclusive enough. The long-named community, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, 2-Spirited, Asexual, Allies, and shall henceforth be written as LGBTQ+, said in a press release that the Trans Canada Trail is, by name, not inclusive of other sexual orientations. Improvements should be made to the name of the trail to be more inclusive.

“We find the name quite problematic,” says Shirley Glasper, VP of communications for the Canadian LGBTQ+ Society. “It’s great that strides are being made to include transgendered people into the naming of locations of the country, however in naming the trail the Trans Canada Trail, it excludes people who are elsewhere on the sexuality spectrum. We are lobbying the government to rename it the LGBQTrans+ Canada Trail which includes reference to all orientations. That way, nobody feels left out.”

The motion to rename the Trans Canada Trail has created a large divide in Canadians, pitting those who believe this is an issue against those who didn’t even know it was an issue. Dan Mortimer, trail naming specialist, says “No, I told you I was a wildlife specialist along the trails, I have nothing to do with how trails get named. I can’t change the name of the trail. ‘Trans Canada’ just means ‘Across Canada’ and has nothing to do with LGBTQ rights. How is this an issue?”

Those in the Trans* community were delighted to discover a nationwide safe space, but did also press that other members of the LGBTQ+ community should be included in said space.

PM Justin Trudeau was unable to comment on the issue, due to his ongoing coast-to-coast Pride Day tour.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Residents Still Refuse to Say City Folk

By: Mike Holuj
With FolkFest around the corner, Mark Monahan and his marketing team are gearing up for the most aggressive rebranding campaign the city has ever seen. Since renaming the festival to “CityFolk" and relocating to Lansdowne Park for the 2015 season, Ottawa citizens have been slow on the uptake for the new name.
Folk superfan and beard enthusiast Robin Beam certainly seems to question the change. “I leave my log cabin every September for FolkFest, but since they changed the name to CityFolk, I’m not so sure anymore,” says Beam. “We’ve got BluesFest, JazzFest, ChamberFest, GreekFest, and we used to have FolkFest. It’s like FolkFest left the Fest family, and it makes the folk fans sad. No one calls it CityFolk. It’s an awkward name. FolkFest rolls off the tongue because of the alliteration. I think people will be calling it FolkFest for years to come until Mark loses his power as the Festival King.”
Monahan is adamant that “Cityfolk” is the permanent new name of the folk festival in Ottawa. His marketing campaign includes posters and signs literally everywhere, mail ads, bus stop ads, radio ads, television ads, and even skywriting. The festival also comes with the horrible named local musician showcase “Marvest”, which Mark insists is a clever portmanteau of “musical” and “harvest”, but in actuality is just a horrible name.
In the words of Mean Girls’ Regina George, “Stop trying to make [CityFolk] happen. It’s not going to happen.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CBC to Debut New Reality Show "Keeping Up with the Suzukis" This Fall

By: Eric Turmelle

In an effort to keep up with the recent reality show craze in North America, the CBC stunned the Canadian public this morning with the announcement that a new reality show starring David Suzuki’s family will premiere this fall during primetime.

“It’s about time Canadian broadcasting started connecting with the younger generation,” announced Katherine Wolfgang, senior publicist for the CBC.

This is not the CBC’s first attempt to cater to younger viewers. Previous programs targeted at the demographic include “Mr. D” and “Schitt's Creek,” however, ratings for these programs have fallen short of expectations to say the least. This seems to have led to CBC executives to up the ante with reality programming.

When asked why the Suzukis were chosen for this pilot project, Ms. Wolfgang explained: “I mean, the choice was very logical when you sit down and think about it. The Suzukis share many striking similarities to their American counterparts - the Kardashians. Both families feature captivating family members that would provide countless hours of reality entertainment, and both Kim and David are famous for their sex tapes, among many other surprising similarities.” Ms. Wolfgang, of course, is referring to Suzuki’s documentary featuring the effect of global warming on the reproductive cycles of Canadian fauna, filmed in 2009.

Whether or not the show will be a success remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain - some of Canada will be watching this fall.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ottawa Greekfest Defaults on Loan

Ottawa’s annual Greekfest kicks off today, but not everyone is celebrating. At a press conference early this morning, Greekfest President Angelo Stamkos announced that the organization has defaulted on a sizeable loan this year.

“We’ve been having financial difficulties for a while,” says Stamkos. “We’ve done our best to mask these troubles in the past, but they seem to be coming to a head this year.” The costs for Greekfest are impressive, including venue fees, tent rentals, and olives. To complicate matters further, this bad news has caused multiple sponsors to pull their support.

The festival has been a summer staple for years, attracting thousands of participants. The ten day party showcases the best of Greek food, music, and art. While many plan on dancing the Zorba for the next week, others are not as cheerful. The future of the festival is uncertain, but many people are already proposing solutions.

“I think it is only fair that Ottawa Festivals bail us out. We have been a member of the organization for years, and have asked for nothing in return. We can’t all be as successful and well-off as the Germans with Oktoberfest, you know? If Greekfest goes down it could be bad news for other festivals in the area,” says Stamkos.  “Who knows, this could be the start of a global festival meltdown.”

Friday, August 5, 2016

Snowplow Training Exercise to be Held this Summer

If you see a snowplow pass by in August, don’t worry; it’s part of the city’s Snowfall Preparedness Initiative. From August 9th-11th, 45 snowplows, 200 city workers, and 2 tonnes of fake snow will be used to simulate a variety of winter emergency scenarios.

“We’ve been caught with our snow pants down before, so to speak,” says City Official Rick Meyer. “These training exercises will undoubtedly improve the our response times for the upcoming winter. The City of Ottawa is dedicated to providing residents with regular, timely snow removal.”

The three-day event will cost the city nearly two million dollars, which will come out of the snowplow budget for the upcoming winter. “It’s an operational cost,” explains Meyers. “It’s an investment. Will we have reduced plowing hours as a result? Yes. Will we only be plowing when there is more than 20 cm of snow? Yes. But will we be more efficient at snow removal than last year? Probably.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Crooked Bike Cops Cause Outrage in Cycling Community

The local cycling community has had it up to their helmets with the Ottawa Police bike patrol, and are now taking action. Numerous complaints have been filed with the city this season, citing infractions by police officers such as: cycling the wrong way on one-way streets, riding without helmets or bells, riding at night without lights, and disregarding bike lanes when riding in traffic.

Stan Polowski, a self-described frequent-cycler, and MAMIL (Middle-Aged-Man-In-Lycra), describes the police activity to be disgusting. “I’ve had it with these bike cops thinking they’re above the law,” said Polowski. “I was waiting to turn left onto Bank street about a week ago and one rode up alongside me and gave me a ticket because I had my foot outside the bike lane as I was waiting for the light to turn green. I got a ticket for something so small, while the cop who ticketed me rode up on the sidewalk! That’s not at all allowed!”

Cyclists in the area report an unusual affinity for pulling over visibly French cyclists. Pierre LeDouche says he was locking his bike in a park with his friend and a bike cop issued him a ticket for loitering. “I had just pulled up to the bike rack with my friend. We were speaking in French, and this bike cop gave me a ticket! He said we weren’t allowed to use those bike racks, as they were for Ontarians only,” says LeDouche, a resident of Gatineau, QC. Others have reported similar occurrences where simply speaking French while riding a bike will draw in a swarm of bike cops. “They seem to be attracted to the sound of French, like flies to poutine,” says Ledouche. The recent police crackdown on Quebec cyclists has prompted the creation of protest group, “Quebec Cyclists Matter.” The activist group has created a divisive debate in the city, with support from much of the public, paired with irrationally aggressive opposition from those who are largely unaffected by the issue.

Tauheed “2Wheelz” Epps, Ottawa’s councillor in charge of cyclist issues, has issued a statement of support stating “All cyclists matter in our city regardless of where they’re from. Ottawa will not stand for this abuse of power.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Local Hope Beer Festival will also Feature Volleyball

“Nothing beats the summer heat like an ice cold beer” was once the original slogan of the Hope Summer Festival when it began in the pre-prohibition age of 1911. In its early days, John Hope, its creator and his colleagues would spend a weekend at Mooney’s Bay Beach drinking beer and listening to records. In the following years, and as technology progressed, the event grew from six dudes discretely day-drinking on a desolate beach to at least fifteen or sixteen friends trying different beers from the area.

When World War II came, most of the attendees of the underground event did not come back home meaning the Hope Summer Festival had come to an end. All Hope was not lost though. In the mid-1970s a student, Gordon Hope (no relation to John Hope) was researching the history of Ottawa’s beaches when he discovered a diary of one of the original members of Hope’s Summer Festival and in it, the whole story of the original festival. He gathered his friends and headed to the beach where they began the tradition or drinking beer and listening to music on the beach.

In 1982, an entrepreneur, Bob Hope (no relation to John, Gordon, or The Bob Hope) wanted to help build the event into something that could generate revenue and he, with the help of Gordon, transformed the Hope Summer Festival into the Hope Summerfest.  They gathered sponsors and the beer tents and beach chairs sprang up. In 1983, they added a stage and began attracting musicians from around the area. The festival has exploded to what it is known as today.

Bob Hope still maintains his chair on the board of the festival. The craft beer revolution of the last half-decade has given Bob some real hope for the festival’s future too. “We’ve been calling as many of the local craft breweries as we can to come out to the beach and sell their products. It makes us proud to be a pillar of the craft beer community. The same goes for musicians. All our musicians are Canadian, and they will remain that way. Hope is a Canadian festival for Canadians to come out to the beach, have a few beers and listen to some great live music. Plus, it’s for charity.”

When asked about the presence of volleyball at the festival, Hope says, “Oh yeah, that happens too.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokémon Go Feud Between Liberals and Conservatives Goes Too Far

Parliamentarians have jumped on the bandwagon for Nintendo’s new augmented reality game “Pokémon Go.” In the game, players use a mobile app, and wander around real life areas attempting to trap fictional creatures called “Pokémon” in an effort to “catch 'em all.”

What began as friendly competition between the Liberals (who joined the red team) and Conservatives (who joined the blue team), turned ugly this morning. Several Conservative MPs blocked off access to the Peace Tower so that Rona Ambrose could capture a Charizard unopposed. Trudeau reportedly had a stare-down with Ms. Ambrose as she made her way down from the Peace Tower, all while aggressively tapping his right elbow as a display of dominance. Ms. Ambrose seemed unfazed by the Prime Minister’s aggression as she simply shouted “You will never have this, you will never have this!” while pointing to the newly acquired Charizard on her iPhone.  This led to a heated debate on the merits of fire-type Pokémon, as the Liberals have a hefty arsenal of water and rock-types.

Hours later, Thomas Mulcair proclaimed during question period, “Mr. Speaker, we ask that you put a hold on Pokémon Go usage within Parliament indefinitely.  We have submitted a formal request to Nintendo to include a orange team so that the NDP may adequately participate and support its brand. We will not join the yellow team as some have suggested, nobody likes yellow.”

“The Liberals and Conservatives have once again proved they are not competent enough to run a 1337 gym, let alone this country,” continued Mulcair. “Not allowing all parties to participate equally in Pokémon Go goes against the very fabric of our democracy.”

This whole ordeal has left a bitter taste in the majority of Canadians' mouths, and has many wondering when Parliament will right the ship and get back to pretending to work in more subtle and traditional ways.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Toddler Fined for Not Having Building Permit for Sandcastle

An Ottawa boy has been issued a $65 ticket after it was discovered that he had been building sandcastles without any form of permit or licence. The child and his family took a day trip to Constance Bay on Saturday, where he began creating structures out of sand and water almost immediately. After a few hours, a passing woman informed the boy that what he was doing was illegal, as the sand didn't belong to him. Ottawa by-law arrived on the scene shortly afterwards.

"He makes castles all the time at home," says Rachel Lanette, the boy's mother. "I didn't think it would be a big deal, but the by-law officers told us that we would have to take down the sandcastles and leave."

The officers explained to the boy's parents that the part of the beach they were sitting on was city property, and that any development on city land must be prefaced with the proper permits. After a heated argument, the family left the beach, and is now considering taking legal action. The incident comes days after the National Capital Commission forced a pair of young girls to close their lemonade stand, and marks a concerning trend in law "enforcement".

The boy who started it all has been notably silent in the whole affair, and has declined all interview requests. While not wishing to discuss the legality of these issues, he did release a statement at a press conference last night, stating "they [by-law] are poop."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bylaw Officers Caught Running After-Hours Raves

By: Mike Holuj
On February 28, 2016, Ottawa Police announced that they would no longer be responding to noise complaints between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. which left a void in noise complaint coverage as bylaw officers end their shifts at 2 a.m. Last week several bylaw officers were busted running an after-hours rave ring.

The arresting officer, Blades McCoy, happened to be walking home at 4 a.m. from a late night out with friends when he happened upon Dundonald park. It was there where he found 15 intoxicated off-duty bylaw officers dancing, singing, drinking, and blowing vuvuzelas.

“I was walking down Somerset when I heard LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ which told me something was seriously wrong. Nobody except out of touch adults listen to that song anymore,” says McCoy. “I called the police because even though there were some serious noise violations, there were also many cases of public intoxication. I normally would have left the issue alone, but I really hate LMFAO.”

The leader of the rave ring, Dominic Posada-Diaz, offered a response to the incident: “We found the perfect loophole. Nobody takes noise complains after 2:00am so we started going out to Dundonald Park to relax after our late shifts ended. Someone once brought music and then it snowballed from there. We deeply apologize to the city for betraying their trust. We will be quieter next time.”

The city has not made any indication of changing the rules to close the loophole.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#BlackLabsMatter Movement Protests Discrimination in Local Parks

Another movement has recently joined the fight against discrimination. The grassroots initiative #BlackLabsMatter has teamed up with local Canine Union 783 to bring awareness regarding discrimination against darker-hair breed dogs. Organizers say Black Labs and similar colored and sized canines are disproportionately ticketed for being off-leash even though studies indicate that all species of dogs go off-leash at roughly identical rates.

A local group of black labs has claimed they have been repeatedly refused access to Ottawa’s most prominent park in the New Edinburgh area, citing poor conditions for larger dogs. This, all while larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs played freely in the designated area.

In response to the city’s new discriminatory policies against large, dark-haired dogs, the #BlackLabsMatter protesters have organized a “shit-in” in front of city hall.  The movement has obtained a pair of Mayor Jim Watson’s slippers, and will each take a turn defecating on the slippers as an act of civil disobedience.

Ouain Stunchien, a chocolate lab from Vanier, says “It’s about time something was done to bring awareness to the issue. It’s really nice to see the support we’ve been getting from the rest of the community, especially that of our human life companions.  Dog racism is not dead, so we continue our fight for equality every day.”

Mayor Watson could not be reached to comment on this matter.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Glebe Residents Apply for Permit to Build Noise-Reducing Walls around Lansdowne

This week, a permit to build noise-reducing walls around Lansdowne was filed by Glebe resident Colin Frost, backed by a petition with more than 5,000 signatures. Frost, the originator of the petition, was annoyed by all the noise coming from the surrounding area, specifically the Lansdowne area near which he lives.

“My neighbours and I submit thousands of noise complaints every year to the city and nothing gets done. We tried being polite, but no progress was made so the neighbourhood decided to start making some noise of our own,” says Frost. “We gathered enough signatures, I believe 5,000 qualifies as ‘enough’, and I submitted a building permit request to the city to create noise-reducing walls around Lansdowne.”

Their problem is gaining some traction with local start-ups as well. Sound Off, an Ottawa start-up that creates noise cancelling walls has offered their services to many residents in the Glebe neighbourhood.

“We actually started our business because of the noise problem in that neighbourhood,” says Artur Bukowski, founder and CEO of Sound Off. “My friends and I were living there while attending Carleton University to study engineering and we had a hard time focussing on our studies during literally any event going on at Lansdowne, or any event happening anywhere within a seven block radius of the Glebe,” explained Bukowski. “Something about the acoustics of the area amplifies noise. We decided to create Sound Off to solve this problem.”

Sound Off uses solar powered noise-cancelling walls, which feature a thin membrane to capture sound, some complicated electronics to invert it, and then another thin membrane to play the sound out of the other end. The end result is reduced noise, working in the same way as noise cancelling headphones, which is what inspired Bukowski in the first place. “Since marketing specifically in the Glebe, we’ve become millionaires.”

Colin Frost has considered partnering with Sound Off to build the walls, but only if the permit gets approved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Local Cult Celebrates Construction Season, Worships Sinkhole

The Hole Family, a local cult that celebrates Ottawa’s construction season, is calling out to all of its members to prepare for the upcoming work. The Ritual of the Falling Sinkhole is set for April 29th. It is a celebration of the sinkhole that took place by University of Ottawa on Waller Street in 2014.

The group is lead by cult leader Burt Washington, a retired construction worker who sustained an injury during the Waller Sinkhole incident. While Washington was not on site at the time of the sinkhole, he claims to have sustained “almost first degree burns” due to a faulty Tim Horton's lid that day. He also noted that construction lasted unusually long that year. The two events happening at the same time inspired him to devote his life to sinkholes .

“I thought, maybe the sinkhole was the reason construction lasted so long. The boys were working until late October, some of them mid-November. I decided to bring The Hole Family together to worship and appreciate the sinkhole as a good omen for construction workers,” said Washington. “If there’s a sinkhole this year, we’ll have an extra long season, probably eight or nine months. If there’s no sinkhole, it just means six more months of construction.”

The participants in the ritual encircle the perimeter of the location of the sinkhole on Waller Street, sporting traditional garb: yellow hard hats and reflective vests. The ritual begins with the ringing of a bell twelve times to signify the opening of the twelve-meter-wide sinkhole. It is then followed by a moment of silence, almost 120 seconds. The timing is specific, as it commemorates the twelve meters of the hole, and the almost ten months that construction season was open for in 2014. After the moment of silence, the circle disperses into groups of six, still around the sinkhole. One member in the group recites the press release from the day of the sinkhole, and then asks for a long construction season while the others stand and watch. The closing of the ritual is signified by ringing of the bell another twelve times, and then all members of the cult take the rest of the day off.