Man pulled from car that sunk into Lake Ontario near Billy Bishop Airport


A man has died after his car sunk into the water at Billy Bishop Airport on Sunday morning, Toronto paramedics said.

Toronto police and Toronto Fire responded to a call shortly after 7 a.m. and the Police Marine Unit and fire crews were sent to the airport on the island.

A car is pulled from the western channel metres away from the ferry to Billy Bishop Airport. One body was pulled earlier from the wreckage before the car was lifted out.
A car is pulled from the western channel metres away from the ferry to Billy Bishop Airport. One body was pulled earlier from the wreckage before the car was lifted out.  (Rick Madonik / Toronto Star)

The vehicle entered the water about 6 to 8 metres from the dock and disappeared under the surface, according to police.

Divers were in the water for approximately five hours before the body was recovered at 12:30 p.m.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, paramedics said. His identity has not been released.

A diver was pulled ashore at around 1:30 p.m after attaching tethers to the vehicle in the water. Moments later, the fire crew pulled a black car out of the lake metres away from the ferry dock.

The investigation is ongoing.

With files from Canadian Press.

Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta


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Snowmobiler faces impaired driving charges after falling into Chemong Lake – Peterborough


A snowmobiler is facing charges after falling into open water while allegedly impaired.

The incident happened on Chemong Lake near Kelly Boulevard in Bridgenorth, Ont., around 9:15 p.m. Saturday.

OPP say the man was out with a group of other snowmobilers when he went into the water.

READ MORE: 2 snowmobilers found dead in Jack Lake, south of Apsley: Peterborough OPP

Police say the other people in the group helped the man to safety and took him to a home on Pope Drive.

Peterborough paramedics transported the man to hospital for treatment of possible hypothermia.

The snowmobiler has been charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of 80 or more.

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


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Car plunges into Lake Ontario at Billy Bishop Airport


A car has plunged into Lake Ontario from the island side of Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto, a spokesperson for Toronto Fire Services said. 

« There were reports that the vehicle floated for a while and then went underwater, » District Chief Stephan Powell told CBC Toronto.

Powell confirmed that a person was seen inside the car.

Fire crews were called to the scene on Hanlan’s Island around 7:00 on Sunday morning. 

Toronto Police Marine Unit are also attending the scene. 


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‘You have to be on the ground to believe it’: MPP calls for action over Cat Lake housing crisis


A Northern Ontario MPP is calling on the provincial and federal governments to take immediate action to end Cat Lake’s housing crisis.

The community, which is located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, declared a state of emergency last week over problems with 87 homes there.

The problems include mould, structural and foundational issues, problems with electircal wiring, and leaking roofs.

« The state of emergency is necessary, » said MPP Sol Mamakwa (NDP — Kiiwetinoong). « The dangerous living conditions, to be allowed in Ontario, Canada, is completely unacceptable. »

Mamakwa said he visited the community on Wednesday. Now, he’s urging his counterparts in the provincial and federal governments to do the same.

‘People are dying’

« You have to be on the ground to see it, you have to be on the ground to believe it, » he said. « They need to visit the community, that’s number one. »

The responses so far, Mamakwa said, amount to « jurisdictional ping-pong. »

« While Ottawa blames Queen’s Park, while Queen’s Park blames Ottawa, our people in my riding, such as Cat Lake, they are hurting, » he said. « Even to the point where people are dying from that lack of action. »

A statement from Cat Lake leadership issued last week said some residents are undergoing medevacs due to lung and respiratory problems brought on by the housing crisis. Building assessments have also called for the demolition of 87 homes in the community.

Talk of evacuation

Mamakwa said he’ll be keeping in contact with Cat Lake leadership, as well as Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN).

« When I did the community visit, there was some talk about evacuation if there’s no action, » he said. « We need to respond. »

« Our people have treated this way for far too long, » Mamakwa said. « We are treated very differently, treated as second-class citizens, as if we do not matter. And we’ve gotta get away from that. We need humanity back in these processes. »

NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler also issued a call for a « coordinated response by the federal and provincial governments » to address the Cat Lake state of emergency. »

« It is unacceptable that the people of Cat Lake suffer in living conditions that would be intolerable in mainstream society, » the statement reads. « We will support Chief and Council to ensure that the necessary housing improvements are made available as quickly as possible, especially for high-risk community members such as infants and youth, the infirmed and the aged. »


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Rescuers parachute onto frozen Manitoba lake after finding missing pilot


A missing 71-year-old pilot was rescued after being found stranded and dehydrated on a frozen Manitoba lake.

RCMP were notified Sunday evening, around 6:45 p.m., that the pilot failed to arrive at a camp on Sisib Lake, in the province’s Interlake region.

The man had left the town of Ashern, Man., that morning for the camp, about 175 kilometres north.

RCMP and Canadian Rangers arrived at the site on snowmobile, where SAR techs had set up a tent to provide medical treatment to the dehydrated pilot. (RCMP)

RCMP contacted the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., which sent a Hercules search plane to the area. In the early morning hours of Monday, searchers spotted a small fire on Pickerel Lake, west of Sisib.

A search and rescue team with the Canadian Armed Forces was unable to parachute to the site due to poor weather conditions, so the RCMP sent out a snowmobile patrol.

A Hercules aircraft, sent out to fly over the area, found a small fire on the lake. (RCMP)

During the 45-kilometre ride to the site, the weather cleared and two search-and-rescue techs dropped to the site just after 6:30 a.m.

The pilot was in good spirits but suffering from dehydration, RCMP said. The SAR techs set up a tent and provided medical treatment to the pilot, who told them he encountered mechanical issues that left him stranded.

RCMP and Canadian Rangers arrived by snowmobile around 2:30 p.m. Monday to help. A couple of hours later, the SAR techs and pilot were picked up by a helicopter.

« It’s a good story and nice to put out a story with a happy ending, » said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Courchaine, who stressed the important of the partnerships the RCMP have with the other rescue agencies.

« That’s a huge area with lots of lakes, lots of isolated areas, so it really requires us working together like that. It’s neat to see how well it worked. »


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OPP recover man’s body from lake south of Ottawa


Ontario Provincial Police divers have found a man’s body in Mississippi Lake just over 24 hours after getting a call about a vehicle that went through the ice.

Police said in a news release he was a 31-year-old man from Drummond North Elmsley Township, a community in the area.

His name was not released.

At about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, OPP responded to a report that a vehicle had crashed through the ice on Mississippi Lake, just south of Carleton Place, Ont.

This map shows the location of Mississippi Lake, the site of a potentially fatal crash on Jan. 6, 2019. (CBC)

When officers arrived, they found a partially submerged all-terrain vehicle with its lights on. 

The ATV’s three passengers managed to escape with minor injuries, police said.

While searching for the ATV’s occupants, police found another vehicle, a completely submerged Volkswagen sedan, which had been the subject of the original call.

A man inside the submerged vehicle was taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia​.

It was believed a passenger in that vehicle had died.

Police are still investigating.


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27 CP Rail cars derail near Lake Louise, Alta.


Two investigators with the Transportation Safety Board are headed to Field, B.C., after 27 cars from a westbound train derailed on the CP line near the Upper Spiral Tunnels on Thursday.

The derailment was reported on the CP Laggan subdivision, which runs from Calgary to Field, B.C., just after 10 a.m. MT. The train was travelling at 22 km/h. No injuries were reported.

The investigators « should be there very late tonight or early [Friday], » said TSB spokesman Alex Fournier.

The Upper Spiral Tunnels are near Cathedral Mountain, between Lake Louise, Alta., and Field, B.C.

The Upper Spiral Tunnel lies between Lake Louise, Alta., and Field, B.C. (Google Maps)

It was the second derailment reported in a national park in two days.

CN officials said a gondola-style petroleum coke car came off the track on Wednesday near Jasper, Alta. There was no spill or leak reported and no injuries. The car remained upright and the track is being repaired.


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Lake Louise ski resort wants fine reduced from $2M to $200,000 for chopping down endangered trees


An Alberta ski resort has appealed a Calgary judge’s $2.1-million fine for cutting down endangered trees, arguing the sentence is « grossly disproportional and demonstrably unfit. »

The Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park has asked a higher court to either stay the charges or reduce the penalty to $200,000.

One year ago, the resort pleaded guilty to charges under the Species at Risk Act and Canada National Parks Act for cutting down a stand of trees, including 38 endangered whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013.

Last month, provincial court Judge Heather Lamoureux imposed the fine that works out to about $55,000 per tree. The maximum fine is $300,000 per tree.

In a notice of appeal filed Friday, the resort argues the trial judge « made palpable and overriding errors of fact and findings in absence of evidence and in interpreting mitigating and aggravating factors erroneously. »

In her decision, Lamoureux said the resort had risked « undermining the survival of the species in the decades to come. »

But the appeal argues there are 200 million whitebark pines in Canada and that Lamoureux erred in her assessment of the risk of harm to the species.

The resort had previously argued that cutting down 38 trees would have « zero impact » on the overall whitebark pine population in Canada.

Dan Markham, the resort’s director of brand and communications, said after the sentencing decision that the resort has taken steps — like educating staff and marking the 7,000 whitebark pines on resort land — to ensure the endangered trees remain protected.

Before the guilty plea, defence lawyer Alain Hepner had made an application to have the charges tossed out because, he argued, the case had taken too long to get to trial. Lamoureux rejected the application — and that decision is also under appeal. The resort wants the charges to be stayed. In the event the charges are not stayed, Hepner will argue for the fine to be reduced.

In this 2011 photo, whitebark pine have succumbed to mountain pine beetles through the Gros Ventre area east of Jackson Hole, Wyo. (The Associated Press)

In 2013, seven employees were doing cleanup work on Ptarmigan Ridge at the ski resort. They were trimming and removing trees, including the endangered pines, which was done without a permit.

Following DNA analysis, the trees were confirmed to be whitebark pines and the case was handed over to Parks Canada investigators. 

Prosecutor Erin Eacott had proposed the $2.1-million fine, arguing a « significant deterrent » was needed to protect the species.

Invasive disease, fire and climate change threaten the whitebark pine. 

The whitebark pine is found at high elevations in western North America and helps stabilize steep subalpine slopes.

The trees have been growing on the continent for 100,000 years and some are hundreds of years old.

The appeal will be heard in March by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge in Calgary. 


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Plan to move aircraft testing centre from Cold Lake to Ottawa ‘sad’: mayor – Edmonton


Cold Lake’s mayor described a decision to move the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) to the international airport in Ottawa “strange” and “sad.”

The Department of National Defence announced this week it plans to relocate the testing site currently based at CFB Cold Lake to Ottawa, saving about $14 million each year in operating costs.

“The community is a bit shocked,” said Cold Lake mayor Craig Copeland.

“It was in the works for a few years now,” Copeland said. “The rumor was that AETE was going to move some personnel from Cold Lake.

“The issue really is that it kind of caught everybody off guard that it was announced in the House of Commons in Ottawa, rather than have a bureaucrat come to our community and explain what was going on with AETE.

“We have a great relationship with the wing commander and colonel at AETE, but… a lot of the decisions come from Ottawa. And Ottawa doesn’t necessarily come to your community and spend a lot of time engaging with the mayor and council on their plans for the fighter base here in Cold Lake and for AETE,” Copeland added.

READ MORE: Protesters rally in downtown Edmonton over plan to move federal office out of Vegreville

The unit has been operating out of Cold Lake since 1971.

The mayor said about 2,200 people work at the Cold Lake 4 Wing. Nearly 200 people work at the testing unit and about 50 engineer-type positions will be relocated to Ottawa.

“Right now, with the the economy the way it is,” Copeland said, “for a small community like ourselves, it’s a big number.”

He said the soft housing market in Cold Lake is going to create challenges for anyone who has to relocate.

READ MORE: RCAF members at Cold Lake work second jobs to make ends meet: Ombudsman

“The way the oil patch is right now up in northeastern Alberta, then you add this on there, it’s just the uncertainty,” Copeland said. “There seems to be so much of the federal government and the provincial government really influencing the day-to-day activities here in Cold Lake and it’s out of our control.

“It’s going to be a sad day to see that unit leave a fighter base to go to a big civilian airport. It’s kind of a strange decision.”

The Department of National Defence said the final details are still being worked on, but said the move to Ottawa would not take place until 2021.

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


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Alberta’s Lubicon Lake First Nation to ink land deal Tuesday with feds, province


Alberta’s Lubicon Lake First Nation expects to mark the end of a decades-long fight for recognition on Tuesday.

But Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan says the real work will begin after the band signs off on its land claim with the province and the federal government.

He says the $113 million included in the deal will allow the band to get to work rebuilding the community of Little Buffalo.

READ MORE: Treaty signing marks start of real work for Alberta’s Lubicon, says chief

Money in the settlement is already tagged for essentials such as decent housing, a new school and an elders care facility.

Laboucan says the 246 square kilometres included in the claim are in good shape and relatively unaffected by industrial activity.

Laboucan credits former chief Bernard Ominayak for that, saying his advocacy work let companies know the Lubicon had an interest in that land and discouraged them from working there.

READ MORE: Lubicon band settles long-standing land claim for $113M and swath of land

In the late 1800s, British officials missed the Lubicon as they negotiated Treaty 8 with other Indigenous groups. Canada agreed the Lubicon deserved title to their land in 1939, but a deal was never reached.

The issue stagnated until the 1970s when oil and gas companies began carving through local traplines. By then, the Lubicon were so poor that diseases such as tuberculosis were a problem.

In 1988, Ominayak staged a protest at the Calgary Olympics and blockaded roads into the disputed area. The dispute went global as a United Nations committee criticized Canada for its treatment of the Lubicon.

“If that hadn’t been the case, we wouldn’t be here,” said Laboucan. “A lot of credit has to go to previous chief Bernard Ominayak and council, and all the chiefs before him.”

Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan says signing the deal will feel a little like history.

READ MORE: Prentice welcomes new federal negotiator for stalled Lubicon treaty talks

Feehan says everyone at the negotiating table sat down with the knowledge that the time had come to settle the dispute.

Ominayak has been invited to the ceremony, although it’s not clear if he’ll attend.

Laboucan said the band can finally focus on it’s future, not its hard-luck past.

“Up until this point, we haven’t had our own land base. It’s pretty hard to do what you need to do without a land base.”


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