Man shot in the back gets disturbing Christmas card from imprisoned shooter

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Not a day goes by that Wayne Belleville doesn’t think about when he was shot in the back and left for dead on a rural Okanagan road, so when he received a Christmas card from the imprisoned shooter, it left him rattled and questioning how the card made it out of prison.

The Oliver, B.C., resident was shot in July 2015 after he gave Ronald Teneycke — a violent rapist with a long rap sheet — a ride. After Teneycke introduced himself, Belleville recognized the name of the dangerous criminal and told him to get out of his truck.

That’s when Teneycke pulled out a gun and shot Belleville, who had slammed on the brakes and tried to run.

‘Where did I get ya? » Teneycke allegedly asked the collapsed Belleville before stealing his vehicle.

Teneycke pleaded guilty in a Pentiction courtroom in 2018 to discharging a firearm with intent to wound or disfigure and robbery using a firearm.

Incarcerated indefinitely

Teneycke is incarcerated indefinitely at Kent Institution, a maximum security federal facility in Agassiz, B.C. 

« After sentencing in March 2018, I was really looking forward to never hearing his name again, » Belleville told CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

But Belleville was not so lucky.

Teneycke sent him a Christmas card that included a two-page handwritten letter, despite a no-contact order from a B.C. Supreme Court judge. 

Belleville agonized over whether or not to read it after his stepdaughter did and warned him not to. He let it sit for awhile but finally read it in the parking lot at the Oliver RCMP station before turning it over to police.

Ronald Teneycke managed to mail a Christmas card from inside a maximum security facility to his shooting victim, despite a no-contact order. (RCMP)

Belleville said the content was disturbing and that Teneycke actually blamed Belleville in the letter for getting himself shot.

« His world view of himself is that he is the victim and that hasn’t changed, » said Belleville.

Gross incompetence

The letter left him disturbed and angry — both with Teneycke and Correctional Service Canada for not catching the card before it was mailed.

‘I can only describe their actions as gross incompetence … someone is asleep at the switch, » he told Walker.

Correctional Service Canada said in a statement it cannot comment on the specific case. 

Teneycke has been charged with one count of failing to comply with a communication order and will appear in court Friday in Penticton.


With files from Daybreak South

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Christmas trip home has special significance for couple affected by Danforth shooting

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Jerry Pinksen introduced his girlfriend, Danielle Kane, to all the expected things on her first trip to Newfoundland over Christmas. The couple visited friends and family in Pinksen’s hometown of Straitsview on the Northern Peninsula and spent time outdoors enjoying the winter weather.

« I got to ride on a Ski-Doo for the first time, and I drove it too, » Kane told The St. John’s Morning Show. She called the experience « exhilarating, » even if she was surprised by how cold her thumbs got.

« Remember, she’s still a mainlander, » Pinksen joked. « There’s only so much we can do; she’s not so tough as us. »

But Kane is actually plenty tough, as her boyfriend of two years and many others have seen first-hand over the past few months. The ability to travel for a Christmas vacation in rural Newfoundland is one sign — of many — of how much the Toronto woman has recovered since she was injured in the July 22 shooting in the city’s Danforth neighbourhood.

Kane rode — and drove — a snowmobile for the first time while on the Northern Peninsula. (Provided by Jerry Pinksen)

« It was fantastic. I loved it. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, » Kane said. The trip came just five months after she spent 11 days in a medically induced coma in intensive care, the start of her long recovery from injuries that left her in a wheelchair.

« I felt like I was coming home even though I hadn’t met a lot of the folks up there. »

July 22 shooting

On the evening of July 22, Pinksen and Kane were having dinner with a friend on the patio of the Danforth’s 7Numbers restaurant when they heard gunshots.

The group ran inside for shelter but Pinksen, an emergency room nurse, left to help when he heard someone outside had been shot.

« With my medical training I knew I could help this person, so I told Danielle, ‘I have to exit, I have to help this woman,' » he said.

He didn’t know that Kane, a nursing student herself who had first aid training, had followed him to the restaurant’s emergency exit.

« I didn’t think that Jerry should go out by himself because in any emergency situation you’re going to want all hands on deck, » Kane said.

If the gunshot was just a little bit higher, I probably would not have made it.– Danielle Kane

Pinksen was able to duck out of the way when he saw the shooter, Faisal Hussain, raise a gun, but Kane was hit while standing in the exit.

« I was told that if the gunshot was just a little bit higher, I probably would not have made it, » she said.

Recovering from injuries

Though she survived the shooting, her injuries mean she will remain in a wheelchair, Kane said.

Her T11 vertebra was shattered, and doctors had to fuse her T10 and T20 vertebrae. She also needed three abdominal surgeries to clean internal debris left by injuries to her stomach, she said.

Kane had several surgeries and spent 11 days in a medically induced coma after the July shooting. (GoFundMe)

« My abdomen was left open for three days because there was too much swelling. »

However, Kane says she has recovered significantly since the shooting and expects to continue to do so through her ongoing rehabilitation in Toronto.

« I’ve learned that basically I can still gain back a lot of independence. I’ll be able to drive again, I’ll be able to return to work, and I’ll still be able to have children, » she said. 

« It’s not a death sentence. »

Danielle Kane attends rehabilitation therapy a few times a week and is exercising to build her strength, with a goal of getting her driver’s licence in the spring. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

She hopes to regain her licence in the spring, and plans to intern with the Ontario Nurses’ Association this summer before resuming her nursing studies in September.

Pinksen said he’s not prepared to return to work in an emergency room, but he hopes to continue to deal with the trauma of the shooting and reassess his readiness in a few months.

For now, he said, he is focusing on helping Danielle recover, especially considering the benefit his medical experience brings to their situation.

Kane, left, says she loved her first visit to Newfoundland, spent with Pinksen, standing, and his family. ‘Everyone was so warm and welcoming,’ she says. (Provided by Jerry Pinksen)

« It’s better for us to be healing together and while I can help Danielle the best way I can, being a nurse, » he said.

Having Pinksen’s help, as well as the support of family and friends, has been key in staying optimistic about the future, Kane said. 

« It’s been amazing. Everyone asks me, ‘Why are you doing so well?’ And I’m like, ‘I have such great support.' »

Focused on the future

Pinksen and Kane continue to have some sympathy for Hussain, 29, who killed himself after the shooting, in which he injured 13 people and killed two.

The two have had a lot to process since Kane was released from the hospital, but both still believe Hussain must have been struggling himself to act as he did.

« I still believe in my heart that this person was suffering, » said Pinksen. 

« He had to be suffering to think and plan out such an assault on all these individuals and want to bring so much terror and pain. »

Pinksen and Kane both say they are trying to look ahead to their future. ‘We can’t dwell on what happened,’ Pinksen says. (Provided by Jerry Pinksen)

Kane pointed to her own history with depression, saying that she believes Hussain must have been not only disturbed, but isolated and lonely.

« I try to think about how my depression affected my life before, and how maybe I didn’t appreciate what I had, all the good things I had in my life before, » she said.

Focusing on that good has helped her recovery, Kane said, because it has helped her realize how much love she has in her life and how much living she has left to do.

The couple tries to look toward the full life they have ahead instead of back on what happened, Pinksen said.

« We try not to dwell on him or that, and just know that we’re still lucky to be alive, we’re still lucky to have each other, and we’re just going to look forward. »

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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London Christmas tree curbside pickup returns for one day only – London

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Londoners are being warned that they only get one chance for curbside Christmas tree pickups this year and to get them to the curb as quickly as possible.

The city will be collecting Christmas trees curbside on Monday.

“We ask that Londoners have their trees placed at the curb by 7 a.m. Monday, no matter your regular garbage pickup day,” said City environment director Jay Stanford.


READ MORE:
London Salvation Army surpasses Christmas Kettle campaign goal

Stanford said crews will only collect from each neighbourhood once.

“Make sure to remove all decorations or tree stands are removed and if you put it out in a plastic bag, remove that as well,” he said.

Residents can also bring Christmas trees and other holiday greenery to one of the city’s EnviroDepots, which are open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

If you miss tree collection Sunday and Monday, Stanford suggests placing your Christmas tree in your backyard to provide winter protection for birds, then putting it at the curb for the spring yard waste collection.

You can check the city’s online Zone Finder for spring yard waste collection schedules.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nearly $4K stolen from Cape Breton church days before Christmas

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Cape Breton police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars from a church just days before Christmas.

« Violated is a good way to describe it, » said Father Patrick O’Neil, the parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River. « It’s sad that anybody would break into any building, but especially a church. »

O’Neil said he had just finished mass the evening of Sunday, Dec. 16, when he noticed something wasn’t right with the parish office door.

« The casing had been broken and cracked and obviously somebody had forced the door open, » he said. 

The cash was inside an envelope in the parish office. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

It wasn’t until the next morning that O’Neil and the parish secretary realized an envelope containing close to $4,000 was missing. The money had been raised at several fundraising concerts that were held that weekend.

Security cameras offer clues

O’Neil said security cameras in the church showed a man who O’Neil recognized. 

« This person in question — I know innocent until proven guilty — but if it is this person, he’s known to have done it before and probably will keep doing it unless someone … challenged him on that, » said O’Neil. « Especially the police which could maybe give you a little scare to change your ways, if possible. »

Fr. O’Neil says, ‘ultimately, I would like to see the person stop stealing.’ (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

The video footage from the security cameras has been turned over to Cape Breton Regional Police.

O’Neil said he’s hoping for accountability and justice. 

« I don’t think the person in question is going to have anything left, or much, or we won’t get anything back, » said O’Neil. « I’m always open to the possibility that someone might say, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I want to ask for forgiveness,’ but regardless, we will recoup the loss through insurance if we have to. »

No arrests have been made so far.

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Finding grandmother who went missing on Christmas Eve a ‘miracle,’ family says

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When 74-year-old Shirley Lee was found two days after going missing on Christmas Eve, it felt like a “miracle” for her grandson Christopher Chase.

“I can’t describe it anyway else,” he said. “If she hadn’t been found, another couple hours, the temperature, with the wind chill, it would have been her last night.”

Shirley Lee, 74, who has Alzheimer’s, went missing on Christmas Eve. She was found on Boxing Day suffering from hypothermia. Her family says they’re now focused on getting her well.
Shirley Lee, 74, who has Alzheimer’s, went missing on Christmas Eve. She was found on Boxing Day suffering from hypothermia. Her family says they’re now focused on getting her well.  (Toronto Police)

Lee, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year, had left her Scarborough apartment on Monday around 9 p.m.

“Apparently she had done this before,” Chase said. “But she’d always come back.”

So when she hadn’t returned after 20 minutes, her husband, Don, first called their daughter, Chase’s mother, and then the rest of the family.

What started as a search led by Lee’s family members became, within 24 hours, a Level 3 police search, the highest level that exists. Toronto police deployed mounted and marine units, set up a command post, and even put out drones.

Over 48 hours, Lee was spotted twice. Police said she was first sighted in the area of Lawrence Ave. E and Morningside Ave. and later in the area of Eglinton Ave. near Kingston and Markham Rds., releasing surveillance photos to the public.

Police didn’t ask for citizen volunteers, but professional dog trainer Margaret Pender decided to lend a hand, after catching wind of the search Wednesday morning via Facebook, with the aid of a friend’s bloodhound named Fletcher. The dog was currently undergoing scenting training, and she thought he might have been able to pick up some trace of the missing senior.

“We had a sweater that she (Lee) had worn, so I let Fletcher smell it before we went off to find her,” Pender said. “I thought it was worth a shot.”

The search was called off when Lee was found at 9:30 p.m. on Boxing Day. Police said she was found by a citizen.

Lee was located in a gated area near Cornell Jr. Public School, Chase said, close to where he lives. She was just “leaning against a wall,” he said.

“To know that she was basically at my front door, I was like ‘wow, she was right there’ and we were all looking in the area where the footage was, and for her to make it all the way out there — I’m not sure what route she took, but she was on the back roads, not even on the main roads,” Chase said.

When Lee was checked into the emergency room, her core temperature was 26 C, Chase said. She was so “delirious” that she didn’t resist medical attention, he said.

Lee was diagnosed with hypothermia, which happens when body temperature falls below 35 C.

He said Lee has since been recovering, resting at Scarborough General hospital on Thursday with a normal body temperature. She’s spent most of the day being thoroughly checked by doctors, he added.

Now the family is focused on getting Lee back in good health, and getting her proper care.

Chase said he hopes Lee’s story raises awareness about Alzheimer’s and its effects. Lee’s family had tried getting her into a care facility but were faced with extensive waiting lists, he said.

Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson said police deal with about 4,000 to 7,000 reports of missing persons each year. The majority are found alive and well.

“We do have lot of people who have dementia … that maybe wander away or get lost,” he said.

Safety is a key concern once a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which can affect a host of cognitive functions such as memory, said Dr. Howard Chertkow, chair in cognitive neurology and innovation and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.

Groups like Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation have been pioneering new solutions, like GPS monitors, he said.

More than 747,000 Canadian’s are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Chertkow said Canada’s investment in dementia research is trailing places like the U.S., Britain and Australia.

Last year, the government passed Bill C-233 which established the framework for a national Alzheimer’s disease strategy, something Chertkow hopes will spark increased investment in research, care and tax credits for tech-tools.

“These are all things that could be going a lot faster,” he said.

Premila D’Sa is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @premila_dsa

Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca

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Santa Fund reaches $1.7M goal, thanks to donors who put smiles on young faces at Christmas

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We did it.

Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors came together to make a little bit of Christmas magic for underprivileged kids across the Toronto area.

Thanks to Star readers’ overwhelming generosity, 45,000 vulnerable kids woke up on Christmas morning with a box of gifts under their tree.

With your donations, our intrepid volunteers helped prepare and distribute the boxes across five cities, braving wind and snow, traffic and parking, to deliver what for many children is the only present they’ll receive this year.

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming community response we have received from across the Toronto area,” Torstar President and Toronto Star Publisher John Boynton said. “It makes me proud to know that residents have come together once again, all in the spirit of Santa Claus. Thank you to all our generous supporters who have helped put a smile on the faces of more than 45,000 young kids at Christmas.”

“Now that we’ve accomplished our goal, we can look forward to a wonderful new year knowing that we put a smile on thousands of children’s faces this Christmas,” said the Santa Claus Fund’s director, Barbara Mrozek.

Mrozek relates how she received a note from a woman attending the fund’s annual Christmas concert that described how the donor had been “a proud recipient” of the Star box when she was a child. Growing up poor in Kensington Market, she and the other kids who got the boxes would trade the gifts.

“I never realized it then, but the Star box was more than a box filled with goodies,” Ellen Trotman wrote in the note. “It was something to look forward to and more importantly, it brought the community that much closer. Brought it to care. It created an opportunity to get to know those kids you probably never played with or even offered a passing hello.

“Unless you lived it, you have no idea what effect the Star box had on people’s lives and community. So, no. It wasn’t just a box. It was everything good that only happens at Christmas.”

One hundred per cent of the more than $1.7 million raised has gone toward warm clothing, small toys, books, cookies and dental hygiene items for thousands of children from newborns to age 12 in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax and Pickering.

To everyone who donated their time or money, on behalf of everyone at the Star, thank you — and we can’t wait to do this again next year.

Jack Hauen is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @jackhauen

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Forget letters to Santa! London students write to police on-duty Christmas Day

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London police officers received an unusual gift Christmas day when they arrived for duty: Handwritten letter of appreciation penned by students from London’s École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère. 

Two grade seven classes wrote 100 letters to every officer working to keep the city safe rather than enjoying the festivities with their own families.  

Grade 7 teacher, Jennifer Miller, had her students write letters to London police officers working Christmas Day (submitted)

« It was all inspired by my father, » said Jennifer Miller, who teaches English to the students. « He’s a retired police officer and he loves Christmas. »

He’d told his daughter about his Christmas shifts in London being quiet and sometimes lonely.  

« When you get a difficult call it’s made more difficult because you’re away from your family, » Miller recalled her father telling her.  

She asked her dad this year to write an initial letter to students telling them about the ups and downs of policing. In the end, it kick-started the Christmas Day letter writing campaign. 

Old school approach

« They were right on board, » said Miller. « Some students even wrote four letters. »

Some of the students have parents who are officers. One wrote a letter to her grandfather. All of the letters are personally addressed and hand-written with messages of thanks

I realize how hard it must be to work while everyone else is celebrating.– Lina, École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère student

.

« We went old school! I told them no computers, » said Miller. 

« Some people might rob toy stores like in Home Alone. So I wanted to say thank you.– Gillian, École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère student

Miller said most of the students have never interacted with police, unless they are a family member. Some students have had difficult experiences with police officers.

« So this is also a nice way to see police officers in a positive light. That they’re helpful and we should be thankful for them even though they sometimes do things that at times may seem difficult to swallow. »

About 100 letters were written by students to London police officers to brighten their spirits while they work on Christmas Day.

The school’s resource officer was able to get the names of all of people scheduled to work Christmas Day, both day and night shifts.  

Miller said, the students are probably the most excited. 

« Some of them just think that police officers are heroes and now they feel a little bit like a hero too. »

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Salvation Army serves up Christmas dinner to 1,400 people in DTES – BC

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More than 1,400 people turned out to share in a meal and the holiday spirit at the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas dinner in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The event took place at the organization’s Harbour Light location on East Cordova in the Downtown Eastside.

Executive director Jim Coggles said an army of more than 140 volunteers had spent days prepping the meal.


READ MORE:
‘A literal tonne of turkey’: UGM serves Christmas dinner by the thousands

“It’s a full-course Christmas dinner, so we’ve got 120 turkeys, so almost 750 pounds of turkey we’re prepared to serve,” he said.

Coggles said while the Salvation Army has worked in the Downtown Eastside, day in and out for 65 years, the annual Christmas dinner is always a highlight for both volunteers and clients.

“For many people here today, if not most of them, this will be the only hot meal that they’ll receive today. And while many of us are out with family and friends over the holidays, our friends here — this will be their holiday celebration,” he said.

“So it’s our aim to make it as enjoyable and as wonderful an experience as we can.”

Volunteer Bernie Loree said he had helped with the dinner for 20 years.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver extends warming centre operations amid cold snap

“I’ve been really blessed and I have everything I need in my life,” he said.

“A day at a time as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that there’s a lot of people who are less fortunate and need help, and I’ve learned there’s always something I can do to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

All told, the Salvation Army said it served up 500 kilograms of turkey, 76 litres of cranberry sauce, 123 kilograms of mixed vegetables, 80 gallons of gravy to cover a mountain of mashed potatoes and stuffing made from 133 loaves of bread.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Last-minute New Brunswickers have their final Christmas shopping chance – New Brunswick

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The mall kept getting busier as the day went on in Dieppe, N.B. on Monday.

Shoppers had their last chance to secure those final purchases and holiday presents Christmas Eve, with stores set to close Christmas Day.

While you could feel stress in the air, some shoppers who spoke with Global News were prepared for the adventure.

“I had a gameplan, yeah,” said Mark Black. “Not all gameplans come together, but this one’s hopefully working out.

“Don’t jinx me.”

READ MORE: Where is Santa now? Follow NORAD’s Santa Tracker 2018

“Every year — every year for the last eight years — I go to the mall on Christmas Eve,” says Tyler Jones. “It’s the perfect day to come.”

While some people stay away because they finished their shopping ahead of time, others enjoy the chaos — as long as they’re not involved.

“I’m out just to laugh at the people who have waited until the last minute,” said shopper Anthony Waddell.


But there were more than just shoppers out on Monday. Those hitting the mall also included holiday party-goers getting a haircut.

Luckily for The Headshoppe on Mountain Road in Moncton, they had an idea of what was to come.

“A lot of the stylists here start booking in September-October,” said salon owner Gail Osborne. “They start offering appointments to book their Christmas ones in advance.”


READ MORE:
New Brunswick home takes Christmas decorations to the next level

Osborne says the stylists have taken on many additional hours to keep up with the holiday rush.

So with 366 days remaining until December 25, 2019, it’s never too early to start shopping for next year.

But for some, coming out the day before is a tradition they’ll to stick to.

“There’s no one at the mall. You go earlier in the week, everyone’s here and it’s a zoo,” said Tyler Jones.

“If you leave it to today, you gotta get it done and there’s no options. There’s no going back, you just put your head down and go to it.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What’s open and closed in Ottawa on Christmas Day – Ottawa

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While most retail locations and all public offices will be closed there will still be some places to get your last minute fixings for Christmas dinner.

Here’s what’s open and closed in Ottawa for Christmas Day.

Shopping

  • The LCBO and Beer Stores close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will remain closed for Christmas Day and Boxing Day
  • All grocery stores in the city will be closed on Christmas Day but will reopen on Boxing Day
  • Most corner stores and a few Shoppers Drug Marts will be open with modified hours
  • Malls in the city, except Westgate shopping centre, will be open on Boxing Day
  • Some Starbucks and Tim Hortons locations are open on Christmas day
  • Cineplex theatres will be open Christmas Day
  • All ski locations will be closed
  • All banks are closed
  • No mail service
  • The War, Nature, Science and Tech and Civilization museums are all closed on Christmas Day

City of Ottawa

  • Ottawa City Hall and all seven client service centres will be closed
  • The City’s Provincial Offences Court will be closed
  • The City’s 311 Contact Centre will be open for urgent matters requiring immediate attention
  • There will be no curbside or multi-residential green bin, recycling, garbage or bulky item collection on Christmas Day
  • The Trail Road waste facility will be closed on Christmas Day
  • Christmas trees will be picked up on regular garbage day
  • All branches and services of the Ottawa Public Library will be closed on Christmas Day

Getting around

  • OC Transpo will operate on a reduced schedule from Dec. 24-28
  • Free parking will be available at City Hall from 6 p.m. Christmas Eve to 6 a.m. on Dec. 27
  • The ByWard Market Garage and Dalhousie Garage will have free parking from 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve to 7 a.m. on Dec. 26
  • The Rideau Centre OC Transpo Customer Service Centre will be closed on Christmas Day
  • Para Transpo will operate a holiday service on Christmas Day

 

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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