A major explosion, the ‘Freedom Convoy’ report comes out, and Tim Hortons pizza comes to Ottawa: Top 5 stories on our website this week

The “Freedom Convoy” was not as peaceful as proponents made it out to be, a major explosion rocks an Ottawa neighbourhood, and Tim Hortons gets into the pizza game.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the most viewed stories on our website this week.

Major explosion rocks Ottawa neighbourhood

Residents in an Orléans neighbourhood were shaken awake early Monday morning by a powerful explosion.

The blast at a construction site injured a dozen people, including two children. Two people had to be rescued from the rubble left behind by the blast, and families living within hundreds of metres of the blast site were displaced from their homes for several days.

It’s believed the blast is linked to a natural gas leak, but the incident remains under investigation.

Ottawa firefighters sort through the wreckage after an explosion levelled several homes at an east Ottawa construction site on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (Ottawa Fire Services)

Freedom Convoy’ protests were ‘unsafe and chaotic’, inquiry finds

Organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” have long contended that the three-week protest in downtown Ottawa was a peaceful celebration, and not a forceful occupation.

But in his report on the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act to end the occupation, Justice Paul Rouleau decidedly rejects that version of events.

“I do not accept the organizers’ description of the protests in Ottawa as lawful, calm, peaceful or something resembling a celebration,” Rouleau said in his report.

Rouleau acknowledged many participants wanted to maintain a peaceful protest, recognizing that violence would discredit the movement.

“These efforts, however, were not successful,” he said.

The report in the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act found that the government met the threshold to invoke the act, but it could have been avoided if it wasn’t for “a series of policing failures” and all levels of government failing to “rise above politics.”

A copy of Justice Paul Rouleau’s report on the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act, is shown in Ottawa, Friday, Feb.17, 2023. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa couple pays $80,000 out of pocket for cancer treatment

An Ottawa couple say they have spent nearly $80,000 of their own money for cancer treatment, which they say the province covers for other people.

Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019, Linda Guttilla endured nearly two and a half years of chemotherapy. When doctors said that stopped working, she was placed in palliative care.

But, Guttilla and her husband Michael Darch did find hope through a new immunotherapy treatment, which she says is working and keeping her alive.

The drug, called Keytruda, comes at a cost. The couple says they pay around $10,000 a month, all out-of-pocket. What’s worse, they say, is the province does cover the cost for some patients – those who have had no previous treatment.

Guttilla’s oncologist has tried to get it covered, and says after months of writing appeals, the government contacted him this week to say the drug will be funded.

Linda Guttilla was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019. Guttilla and her husband paid nearly $80,000 out of pocket for cancer treatment, despite saying the Ontario government covers the drug for other people. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

Problematic LRT train parts still pose ‘risk to safety,’ TSB says

The Transportation Safety Board is issuing a dire warning about the cartridge assembly in the axles on Ottawa’s Confederation Line vehicles, saying they will “continue to pose a risk to safety” until OC Transpo and Rideau Transit Maintenance resolve the issues “to protect the travelling public.”

In a Rail Safety Advisory issued to OC Transpo on Feb. 3, the federal agency says the cartridge assembly failures that caused two derailments in 2021 and a component failure last July “cannot be attributed to a single component”, and the combination of the newly designed Alstom Citadis Spirit vehicle and the “more powerful drivetrain” are to blame.

The TSB letter also suggests the lack of an on-board heat detection system in the automated cartridge assembly is adding additional maintenance that is “labour intensive and time consuming for a component that should last over 1.2 million kilometres.”

In a memo announcing the TSB’s letter, the city’s head of transit services said the LRT system is safe.

However, the TSB’s letter suggests there is more work to be done to ensure the system is safe for riders.

Amilcar says staff are reviewing TSB’s findings in detail, and the letter will assist OC Transpo and Rideau Transit Maintenance/Rideau Transit Group in completing the final root cause analysis into the wheel axle hub assembly issue.

A window is broken and the wheels of a segment of an OC Transpo O-Train is seen west of Tremblay LRT Station in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 after it derailed on Sunday. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Tim Hortons pizza has arrived in Ottawa

Have you ever walked into a Tim Hortons, looked at all their menu options, and wished you could order pizza?

Now, you can do just that. The fast-food chain known for its coffee and doughnuts has expanded its new flatbread pizza offerings to some Ottawa restaurants.

Tim Hortons launched the new menu item as a test run in some Mississauga restaurants last August. Now, they’re expanding further.

The flatbread pizzas are prepared fresh to order, the restaurant says, and are available in three flavours: chicken parmesan, pepperoni and cheese.

There are 12 Tim Hortons restaurants in Ottawa and the area that are serving pizza.

  • 2970 Carling Ave., Ottawa
  • 993 Richmond Rd., Ottawa
  • 1406 Prince of Wales Dr., Ottawa
  • 2145 Robertson Rd., Nepean
  • 3330 Fallowfield Rd., Nepean
  • 650 Eagleson Rd., Kanata
  • 4060 Carling Ave., Kanata
  • 6 Edgewater Rd., Kanata
  • 407 March Rd., Kanata
  • 2636 Innes Rd., Gloucester
  • 88 Broadway Ave., Russell
  • 771 Notre Dame St., Embrun

Tim Hortons is expanding its new flatbread pizza offering to some Ottawa restaurants. (Tim Hortons)

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