Environment Canada lifts winter storm warning for Ottawa – Ottawa


After a windy snowstorm dumped about 20 centimetres of fresh powder on Ottawa overnight Tuesday, Environment Canada has terminated the winter storm warning for the national capital.

But the snow hasn’t let up yet and the national weather agency predicts another five centimetres will fall before tapering off into flurries later Wednesday.

WATCH (Feb. 12, 2019): Southern Ontario pummeled by winter storm

More blowing snow is in Environment Canada’s forecast for the afternoon, with winds gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour.

Wednesday will reach a high of -1 C, with a wind chill near -13, according to the agency. Wednesday night will bring flurries and a low of -11 C, with a wind chill of -10 in the evening and -18 overnight.

While the worst now appears to be over, the heavy snowfall still put a halt to many activities across the city Wednesday morning.

The Ottawa International Airport is reporting that a number of flights are delayed or cancelled because of the weather conditions.

On the roads, Ottawa’s public transit provider warned earlier in the morning that road conditions remain poor and told transit riders to expect detours, delays and trip cancellations for both OC Transpo and ParaTranspo rides.

OC Transpo is posting live transit updates here.

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All schools in Ottawa are closed for the day.

City council’s regular meeting on Wednesday has been cancelled, as has the budget consultation meeting scheduled for the evening.

All schools closed, public meetings cancelled in Ottawa in anticipation of winter storm

All city libraries and recreation facilities are closed in the morning but will reopen and resume regular programming at 12 p.m.

The municipality has also cancelled green bin, recycling and garbage collection for the day. Wednesday’s pick-up will take place on Thursday and collection for the rest of the week will be delayed by one day.

Clean up underway

On Tuesday afternoon, the City of Ottawa said the top priority for its road crews during the storm would be to keep the Queensway, Transitway, and other major and arterial roads clear.

Crews will plow residential roads “as soon as possible,” the city said but warned those streets won’t be cleared as quickly as the main roads.

If it’s safe to do so, the city is asking residents to sweep the snow away from fire hydrants connected to their properties.

Only call 311 if you have an emergency, the city tweeted early Wednesday morning.

Ottawa police say they’ve responded to five collisions since 5 a.m. Three of the five accidents involved vehicles that “slid into the ditch,” the Ottawa Police Service tweeted.

Police urge pedestrians not to walk in the streets and remain on the sidewalks.

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


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Flash freeze warning for Greater Montreal area as temperatures expected to drop – Montreal


Environment Canada is warning of a flash freeze for the Greater Montreal area as temperatures are expected to suddenly plummet.

“Ponding water, slush and any falling precipitation will freeze,” the public weather agency stated.

“Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.”

READ MORE: Freezing rain could ring in the new year in Greater Montreal

This comes after a wave of warmer weather melted a lot of the ice and snow in the city, causing a cocktail of ice and water and submerging the streets and sidewalks.

WATCH BELOW: Wet winter weather wreaks havoc on Montreal roads

With the precarious weather conditions, Environment Canada is asking drivers to be careful on the roads.

READ MORE: Slushy mess greets Montreal commuters after onslaught of freezing rain, snow

Flash freeze warnings are issued when a rapid drop in temperature is expected, causing rain or melted snow on streets and sidewalks to quickly freeze over.

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


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Canadian case is another warning about the murky world of cryptocurrency: Don Pittis


So much for living the libertarian dream.

Canadians who have lost about $200 million escaping the control of « fiat currency, » backed by governments, and market regulation are now asking for help from the authorities to try to get their money back.

The B.C.-based Quadriga is going to court today in Halifax to claim protection from its creditors under Canadian bankruptcy law.

And according to documents prepared for the court hearing, suddenly it turns out that a company widely seen as Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency trader, a company that described itself as a « leading bitcoin exchange » was really just a guy with a computer.

Vous recherchez une plateforme de trading alternative? Essayez Meilleure Plateforme de trading Canada. Arrêtez de traiter avec des plateformes de trading aux États-Unis et à l’étranger qui vous font perdre du temps et de l’argent. Tu ne mérites pas mieux?

Government should be freaking

And now the guy in question, Gerald Cotten, the company’s CEO and sole director, has been reported by his widow to be dead, taking his passwords with him into the great beyond. And the nearly $200 million in the QuadrigaCX « bank » has gone missing or is inaccessible, locked away in encrypted wallets.

« You know if any other group of Canadians lost $300M from a bank or other finance company, the govt would be freaking, responding and bailing them out but they just don’t care when crypto people lose vast sums of money, » tweeted Canadian lawyer Christine Duhaime. « It’s not right. »

But that kind of sympathetic view is not widespread.

A t-shirt on displayed at the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference last year. For many, crypto has been seen as a cash cow.

(Mike Segar/Reuters)

Early evidence says it may be too late for the people in this case to get their money back, ever. But it stands as a warning to the rest of us tempted to try to make a fortune in a highly unregulated sector.

Among the features of crypto, as it is often called for short, is that its anonymity puts it beyond the reach of normal regulation. According to its advocates, unlike regular money, imagined into life by governments and controlled for their own purposes, cryptocurrency is founded on libertarian and mathematical principles that assure its value by limiting supply.

But a lack of government oversight means that in many ways the business of cryptocurrency has been less than transparent.

‘Super murky’

« It’s super murky, » said David Gerard, author of the book Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. The term blockchain refers to the complex system of encryption used by currencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin to simultaneously record the value of the virtual money, keep its owner secret and prevent anyone from stealing it.

One of the problems with asking regulators to step in and solve this digital cash conundrum is that almost no one is qualified to do it, said Gerard from his home in London.

« At the moment, literally the best investigative source we have is the QuadrigaCX2 forum in Reddit, » he said. Reddit is an open forum where people with expertise or interest in a subject area can post their findings and speculation.

The problem is that unlike an investigation by an authoritative group such as the RCMP or the Ontario Securities Commission, it is hard to gauge the quality of the evidence being presented.

One Reddit post claims that accounts that are supposed to be inaccessible due to lost passwords are actually being drained, but it is impossible to separate rumour from fact.

We know that real cash is hard enough to keep track of when people want to keep it secret. But with bitcoin and its ilk, hidden behind walls of encryption, it is even more difficult to follow the money. And if digital coin encryption could be cracked to get at that money, the entire crypto house of cards would collapse.

On the Quadriga sub-Reddit, rumour mixes with fact. One post claims that accounts of Quadriga’s litecoin, for which passwords were supposed to be lost, are showing activity. Others insist the millions never really were there and the trading platform was being used as a Ponzi scheme, where people were being paid out from new investors’ deposits.

Others on Reddit and Twitter try to poke holes in the Cotten death story, criticizing the quality of the death certificate in India —where an affidavit says he died — skepticism over the cause of death and its timing.

Amateur hour

But with crypto, says Gerard, this is the world we are in.

« Cyrpto is amateur hour, it really is, » said Gerard, who in his day job is a Unix systems administrator studying software to keep the bad stuff out of his network.

He says it is possible to build reliable financial systems. Banks do it, but it is complicated and expensive with data backups in different geographic areas. Banks are supported by central banks. Governments insure deposits to discourage runs. Quadriga didn’t have those advantages.

Some crypto exchanges are better than others, but for many young or inexperienced people hoping to make a fortune in the sector, it is really hard to tell if a seemingly credible operator is really just a guy in his basement with a pretty web site.

« People assume these are active institutions that operate under rules and regulations, and they operate under very few, » says Gerard. « I wish it was as regulated as gambling. »

But just because companies are dealing in cryptocurrency doesn’t let governments off the hook. If fraud was committed the RCMP must investigate. If rules weren’t followed, how did the company get away with it?

« I’ll bet the relevant regulators are scrambling right now to see whose jurisdiction they are under, » says Gerard.

Follow Don on twitter @don_pittis


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Take that Canada! Yellowknife cold weather warning just another day in the North


With temperatures as low as –36 C in Yellowknife, Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning on Sunday afternoon through to Monday morning, and Canadians continued the tradition of one-upping each other’s chilly cities.

Last Friday, the City of Toronto issued an extreme cold warning for –8 C, which prompted a cheeky « Aww that’s cute » response from a Winnipeg Twitter account.

Manitoba has seen extreme cold warnings for days, with wind chills making it feel like –53 and daytime temperatures around –30 C.

But by Yellowknife’s standards, Toronto’s weather seems almost pleasant. 

« I think this [is] the coldest place I’ve been in my life, » exclaimed Jessie Zou, who was visiting the territory’s capital from Vancouver, or as she describes it: « The warmest city in Canada. »

She says the coldest day she’s experienced in British Columbia is a balmy –6 C, a full 30 degrees warmer than Monday morning in Yellowknife. She was glad to be going home to Vancouver on Monday.

Jessie Zou was visiting Yellowknife from Vancouver. She experienced an extreme cold warning in Yellowknife Monday, on the last day of her trip. (Andrew Pacey/CBC)

Patrick Jacobson also hails from Vancouver, and has been in the North for four years. To him, there’s no comparing B.C.’s weather to Yellowknife’s.

« You don’t hit extreme temperatures like this, but [in Vancouver] you do kind of get that chilled through to your bone kind of sensation, » Jacobson said.

The extreme cold criteria is based on climatology and people’s capacity to adapt to extreme cold.– Matt MacDonald, Environment Canada

« There’s a bit of a survivor mentality [in Yellowknife], it kind of feels good to get through a winter up here… It feels like something that Canadians should be used to. »

Jacobson said he had « a bit of a chuckle » at an extreme cold warning issued for Vancouver on Jan. 15, when it was about –1 C outside.

‘It kind of feels good to get through a winter up here,’ said Patrick Jacobson. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

How do cold warnings work?

For Trisha Paradis, who’s lived in the North for almost 15 years, Monday was just a typical day. She has trouble understanding what prompts some weather warnings.

« The ones that I don’t understand [are] when they put in Edmonton it’s –20 with the –25 wind chill and they get an extreme cold warning, and we’re at –40-something, no extreme cold warnings. »

« Our extreme cold warnings are based on a specific criteria for different locations, » explained Matt MacDonald, a spokesperson for Environment Canada. 

For Trisha Paradis, Monday morning’s –36 C weather was just a typical January day in Yellowknife. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

For example, in Yellowknife Environment Canada issues an extreme cold warning when the wind chill or air temperature drops to –50 for at least two hours; on B.C.’s south coast it’s –35, and for Toronto it’s –30.

« The extreme cold criteria is based on climatology and people’s capacity to adapt to extreme cold, » MacDonald said.

As long as we dress for it, it’s not a big deal.– Trisha  Paradis , Yellowknife resident

However, he said sometimes cities will issue cold weather warnings, especially if they have a large homeless population.

Yellowknife’s overnight temperature drops below zero 225 days a year, according to Environment Canada. By comparison, Vancouver sees an average of 40 nights a year drop below zero.

Of course, this week’s cold weather also isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year. The average low for Jan. 28 is –30.4 C. It’s supposed to warm up to a comfortable high of –26 C in Yellowknife on Tuesday. By Thursday, the city is forecasted to be back to a low of –37 C.

Paradis has advice for getting through the cold.

« Get a little bit more bundled up, then we’re fine… as long as we dress for it, it’s not a big deal. »


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Extreme cold warning for Toronto starts off chilly week, school buses cancelled


Time to brave the cold, Toronto. Coming out of an icy spell this weekend, Torontonians are in for more frigid temperatures with Environment Canada issuing an extreme cold warning on the first day of the week.

While the agency is forecasting a temperature of -12 C during the day, it’s calling for a wind chill that will have it feeling like -30 C to -38 C this morning.

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold alert for Monday morning, continuing a series of extremely chilly days in the city.
Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold alert for Monday morning, continuing a series of extremely chilly days in the city.  (Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star)

Several school boards have cancelled bus service in light of the weather conditions, but schools remain open. Bus service for the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Durham Region, York Catholic and York Region District, and Simcoe County school boards are cancelled. Peel District School Board buses are running.

If you’re commuting into the city, give yourself a little more time — most GO Trains going into Union Station are running 15-to-20 minutes late. The TTC is warning that there might also be some minor travel delays on their lines because of the extreme cold. The 506 Carlton streetcar is being replaced by buses due to a streetcar shortage.

Torontonians are advised to cover up, wrap around those scarfs and uncuff those pants, as Environment Canada says there’s a risk of frostbite given the conditions. Winds will gust from 20 km/h up to 40 km/h and frostbite can develop “within minutes” when skin is exposed, they said.

The weather agency is also calling for the temperature to sit at -20 C, with wind chill expected to fall between -25 C to -30 C tonight.

Read more:

OPP respond to more than 350 snow-related crashes on GTA roads

Extreme cold warning, special weather statement hit Toronto over weekend

Edmonton and Calgary lose their chill this weekend as mild winter weather returns

The agency is also warning that if it’s too cold for you, it might be too cold for your pet as well.

Things will get considerably warmer after Monday. On Tuesday, Environment Canada is calling for -4 C during the day with a 30 per cent chance of flurries. The temperature will stay the same into the night, but there will be flurries and periods of snow. It might still feel really cold though — with the wind chill it’s forecasted to feel like -21 C in the morning and -9 C in the afternoon.

Wednesday will bring rain and temperatures that will feel tropical in comparison. Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 3 C with a chance of showers. But the warmer weather will be short-lived, with temperatures dropping back below freezing to -5 C in the night. There’s also a 30 per cent chance of flurries so prepare for a wet, even slushy day.

For the rest of the week, plan on leaving your house with considerable layers and a good pair of boots. Thursday will see a high of -2 C with a 40 per cent chance of flurries. There’ll be some sunnier periods throughout the day as well. In the night, the weather will drop down to -8 C with some more snow expected.

Not much will change on Friday — Environment Canada is calling for a high of -8 C during the day with a 60 per cent chance of flurries. The night will bring more cold and more snow with the temperature dropping to a frosty -13 C.

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


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Extreme cold warning, snow continues across eastern Ontario


A blustery, cold and snowy Sunday is in store as Environment Canada’s extreme cold warning and winter storm warning continues for much of eastern Ontario.

In Ottawa, the temperature will only rise slightly to a high of –16 C, which will feel like –25 in the afternoon, with winds gusting up to 40 km/h.

The snow will be heavy throughout the morning before becoming lighter in the afternoon, with another seven to 12 cm expected to fall by Monday morning.

The amount of snow has made roads slippery. There have been 11 collisions on Highways 417 and 416 between midnight and 9:30 a.m., said Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Cynthia Savard. 

Ontario Provincial Police are warning drivers to stay off Highway 401 and other highways across the region. 

A number of flights are cancelled at the Macdonald–Cartier International Airport. Anyone set to travel is urged to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

An overnight parking ban will also be in effect between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday as crews work to clear city streets, the City of Ottawa wrote in a statement. Vehicles won’t be allowed to park on the street between that time, but on-street parking permit holders are exempt, the city said.

Free parking is being offered at all city-owned covered parking garages during that time.


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WARNING: Video contains EXPLICIT LANGUAGE – Kelowna RCMP hogtie arrest unruly man on Leon Avenue


More than a dozen Kelowna RCMP and city bylaw officers descended on Leon Avenue just after 10 p.m. on Thursday night when officers requested assistance to deal with an uncooperative man.

Numerous police officers were seen assisting in the curbside arrest that concluded with the hogtied male being lifted into the back seat of an police car.

The man being held down by police can be heard talking while police restrained his legs and arms.

Police at the scene would not comment on the incident but only said the man tried to fight a police officer.

B.C. drug overdose deaths on pace with 2017’s record tally

Emergency crews, minutes earlier, had been called to the Level nightclub at 275 Leon Ave. for a report of a non-responsive male.

RCMP would not say if the arrest was related to the medical call.

The man arrested sustained extensive facial injures, but it is not known when that occurred.

Police were seen speaking with a bouncer at the nightclub as well as others who were called out from the establishment.

Break-and-enter suspect spending holidays in custody

RCMP referred comment to their spokesperson who was not readily available.

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


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Richmond man warning others after ‘massive’ dog enters home, ‘shreds’ family pet


WARNING: The details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

A Richmond man is warning the public after a large dog ran into his home and killed his family pet.

The incident happened on Friday just before 5 p.m. near Armstrong Street and Keefer Avenue.

‘Worse than a horror movie’: Witness describes dog attack that badly hurt animal control officer

Gary Lok told Global News that his niece had arrived to pick up her one- and four-year-old kids from his house when their 13-year-old Maltipoo, Brandy, ran out front.

Gary Lok’s 13-year-old multipoo Brandy.

Gary Lok

That’s when a “massive” dog walked past their house without an owner, Lok said. Brandy barked at it, and Lok said the larger dog chased her into the family home.

“It attacked our dog by the jaw and ripped it to shreds, tore all the teeth out of its mouth. Blood everywhere,” he said.

Lok said his sister-in-law was in the hallway with the four-year-old boy and tried unsuccessfully to pry the dog off Brandy.

“The four-year-old was a few feet away from the attack. The one-year-old was in another room in a high chair,” he said.

“Then my nice came into the house and saw that nothing was working so she kicked the dog in the head a couple times, and it finally released its grip,” he said.

WATCH: (Aired Sept. 13, 2018) Witness describes dog attack on animal control officer as ‘worse than a horror movie’

Lok said the dog walked out of the house, stood on the porch for a few seconds, then ran off.

The family rushed Brandy to a vet, but she did not survive.

Lok said the family reported the incident to animal control and the Richmond RCMP, who have yet to locate the dog.

City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend confirmed that it had received reports of the attack from the Loks and their vet.

READ MORE: Two dogs to be put down after attacking 75-year-old Surrey man

However, he would not say whether the dog was still at large.

“We are investigating, I can’t really comment much because the situation is evolving, but we believe we have identified the dog,” he said.

“We believe that we’ll be able to resolve this situation and ensure that the community is safe.”

Global News has requested comment the Richmond RCMP on the status of the case.

Lok said he’s concerned the dog is still loose in the area and could hurt someone else.

“It’s been well fed, it’s an attack dog and it was quite vicious. I’m just worried that that could happen to somebody walking around the neighbourhood,” he said.

WATCH: (Aired May 15, 2018) Ten-year-old Nanaimo girl injured in vicious dog attack

“There’s a lot of people that walk around this neighbourhood. Just a half an hour ago, I saw a lady walking around with a stroller, with her baby.”

In addition to his concerns about his neighbours, Lok said the family is dealing with the emotional fallout of losing Brandy in such a horrific fashion — all witnessed by his niece’s toddler.

READ MORE: 5-year-old girl undergoes surgery after getting attacked by dog in Surrey

“They’re devastated. It was a long-term family pet, and especially this time of year, they’re quite upset,” he said.

“We’re working on that. Very traumatic.”

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


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6.6 magnitude earthquake rocks Anchorage, tsunami warning issued for southern Alaska


A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has rocked buildings in Anchorage and caused lamp posts and trees to sway, prompting people to run out of offices and seek shelter under office desks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake Friday morning was centred about 12 kilometres north of Alaska’s largest city. 

The USGS initially said it was a 6.7 magnitude quake but reduced it to 6.6.

The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for coastal zones of southern Alaska following an earthquake that rocked buildings in downtown Anchorage.

The centre said Friday that the warning was in effect for parts of the state’s Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai peninsula.

The warning means tsunami waves are expected.

People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a smaller aftershock a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.

An Associated Press reporter working in downtown Anchorage saw cracks in a two-storey building after the quake. It was unclear whether there were injuries.

Anchorage lawyer Justin Capp says he was getting ready for work when he felt the shaking start. He grabbed on to the doorframe in the hallway and the door slammed into his hands, scraping his fingers and hand.

Another lawyer, Hank Graper, was driving when the quake struck. He first thought his vehicle had a flat tire, then thought it was exploding. He realized it was an earthquake after he saw traffic poles swaying.

Graper called it the most « violent » earthquake he’s experience in his 20 years in Anchorage.

The National Weather Service Seattle tweeted a tsunami warning is in effect for Cook Inlet, but it is not expected to affect Washington or B.C.


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Chilliwack RV fire sparks a warning about space heaters


Chilliwack firefighters have a warning for people who use space heaters in confined areas after crews were called late Monday afternoon to douse a blaze that torched the interior of a recreational vehicle (RV) in the 9700 block of Skrhelam Crescent.

It turns out the vehicle owner had earlier placed a space heater inside the RV.

Torched camper raises new concerns about Vancouver’s RV-living community

Crews put out the fire before it could spread to neighbouring vehicles.

The vehicle’s interior was destroyed but fortunately, no one was hurt.

Fire destroys RV camper north of Port Hope

Fire officials are reminding homeowners that all heaters need at least three feet of space apart from anything that can burn, and they should also be placed on a solid, flat surface.

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


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