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The 10 most popular stories on CTV News Ottawa’s website in 2023 looks at 10 stories that caught readers attention on our website in 2023.

An Ottawa family called a foul on Ottawa Bylaw officers and neighbours in July after an anonymous resident complained about the proximity of basketball nets to the curb.

In an attempt to catch the attention of the anonymous complainant, the Paciga family put up a bright pink sign.

“Dear Neighbour,

“The kids of Beech, Lynwood, Oakvale and Fern are BEGGING you to cut us some slack with our basketball nets.

“You called by-law regularly because we aren’t strong enough to move our nets off the road every time we take a break from playing, and now that our parents have pulled them off the road, you STILL call bylaw because they’re not 20 feet in from the road!

“We just want to shoot some hoops with our friends – sometimes spontaneously!

“We would be forever grateful if you could understand how much we love playing basketball and how having our nets accessible allows us to play. Our parents would love to have a chat about how we can find a compromise.

“Will you stop to chat with us next time?”

The Paciga family of Ottawa put a giant sign in front of their home, calling out the anonymous neighbour who complained to Ottawa bylaw about their kids’ basketball net. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis became the youngest Canadian to graduate from university this year.

The 12-year-old graduated from the University of Ottawa in June with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science. Patricia Dennis started the program when she was 9.

“My advice for people who are also young, gifted, smart, talented — don’t let other people’s expectations bring you down,” she told The Canadian Press.

“That’s been a major obstacle for me everywhere I go.”

A member of Ottawa’s board of health spoke out in March about body shaming after receiving a letter that said she shouldn’t serve on the health board because of her weight.

Elyse Banham tweeted a picture of a letter she received that claimed she could not be a role model because she appeared to be overweight, according to the writer.

Banham was quick to call it out.

“Standards that are projected onto women make this type of work hard. Sad, demeaned & hurt today but standing up for myself and all women,” she said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Her tweet was met by an outpouring of support from across the city, including board of health chair Coun. Catherine Kitts and Ottawa Public Health.

“You’re beautiful (inside & out!) & a valued board member. Proud to see you speak out about this nonsense. The toxic vitriol hurled at women in leadership is beyond comprehension.”

Ottawa Board of Health member Elyse Banham shows a screenshot of the letter she received saying she shouldn’t serve on the board because of her appearance. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)

Keith and Debra Polachek of Ottawa became millionaires this summer.

The retired couple won the $55 million Lotto Max jackpot on Aug. 11.

“Our reaction was laid back, but we were very happy. We realized we had a lot of preparation to do,” Debra said as the couple picked up their prize from OLG.

Keith and Debra Polachek of Ottawa pick up their $55 million prize for winning the Lotto Max jackpot. (OLG/release)

Residents and tourists had a new spot to swim in Ottawa last summer, and it was popular online and in-person.

The National Capital Commission opened the NCC River House at the end of July, which included a new dock with access to a free public swimming area in the Ottawa River.

As part of the River House revitalization project, the NCC replaced the pedestrian bridge leading to the building and completed work to preserve the heritage character of the pavilion and allow four-season use of the upper two levels.

The entire project cost $20 million.

The National Capital Commission officially opened the new NCC River House this week, which includes a free public swimming area. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

A climate protester splashed paint on a Tom Thomson piece hanging in the National Gallery of Canada in August as part of escalating activities demanding a national firefighting service.

A member of the group On2Ottawa, which periodically blocked traffic in Ottawa, splashed paint on Thomson’s 1914-15 painting “Northern River.” A video shared by the group on Instagram shows a member smearing pink paint on the glass that protects the oil on canvas painting and then gluing himself to the floor.

The National Gallery said the painting was not damaged.

A climate protester is arrested after splashing paint on Tom Thomson’s ‘Northern River’ painting in the National Gallery of Canada. Aug. 29, 2023. (Graham Richardson/CTV News Ottawa)

The Kanata Santa Claus Parade returned this holiday season, but the Girl Guides did not participate because of its secularism policy.

Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley said he reached out to several community groups to let them know the parade was returning and to invite them to participate, but the local Girl Guides replied to say they would not be coming.

“We got a response from the Girl Guides that Girl Guides of Canada does not allow them to be part of a Christmas parade,” he told CTV News Ottawa.

It’s part of Girl Guides of Canada’s (GGC) wider diversity, equity and inclusion policy.

“GGC is a secular organization, which means that Guiding is not affiliated with, nor privileges any religion or faith-based beliefs, behaviours and traditions,” the Girl Guides of Canada’s Guiding is for Everyone handbook says.

A Girl Guides Canada Embers patch is seen in this undated file image. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Girl Guides of Canada)

The doors closed at Ottawa’s infamous Rideau Street McDonald’s in 2023.

The restaurant, which opened in 1985 in the heart of Ottawa’s tourism area, became a notorious hotspot for late night crowds after last call at bars and restaurants.

When CTV News reported earlier this year that it would close, the story prompted an outpouring of reaction and memories from residents who recounted their late-night experiences at the restaurant. The story also attracted worldwide media attention.

In March, about 200 people attended a farewell march to pay tribute to the restaurant. Some dressed as Ronald McDonald. Another marcher turned up in a raccoon costume to commemorate the time that someone whipped out a baby raccoon during a fight at the restaurant in 2013.

The golden arches have been taken down from the infamous Rideau Street McDonald’s which has officially closed for good. (CTV News Ottawa)

A dead crow was the talk of social media in June, when the National Capital Commission unveiled its new public art along the LeBreton Flats Pathway.

The giant crow is called, ‘When the Rubber Meets the Road’ by PEI artist Gerald Beaulieu.

“Did you know there used to be a landfill at LeBreton Flats?” the NCC said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “In line with the #BuildingLeBreton guiding principle of fostering sustainability, this piece is made from recycled tires.”

The one-year rental of the piece cost the NCC $14,022.

The ‘When the Rubber Meets the Road’ art installation is made from old tires. It’s located along the LeBreton Flats Pathway in Ottawa’s west end. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa)

Microsoft removed an article in August that recommended 15 things to do while in Ottawa, including visiting the Ottawa Food Bank.

The MSN article was titled, “Headed to Ottawa? Here’s what you shouldn’t miss!”

“In Ottawa you will find some beautiful attractions that you just cannot miss,” said the article. “Places like The Winterlude Festival, National War Memorial, and Ottawa Food Bank and many more.”

Number three on the list of 15 things to do in Ottawa was visit the Ottawa Food Bank.

“People who come to us have jobs and families to support, as well as expenses to pay,” the description says.

“Life is already difficult enough. Consider going into it on an empty stomach.”

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson blamed the article’s publication on “human error,” adding the article was “not published as an unsupervised AI.”

“The content was generated through a combination of algorithmic techniques with human review, not a large language model or AI system,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

A now deleted Microsoft Tourism article recommends the Ottawa Food Bank as one of the 15 places to visit in Ottawa. (Microsoft Travel/website)

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