Winter storm buries Ottawa and the betting favourite for new Senators owner: Top stories this week

A winter storm blankets Ottawa, two students face hate crimes charges at an Ottawa school and full O-Train service resumes following six days of disruptions.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories on our website this week.

Full service resumed on the Confederation Line late Tuesday evening following six days of disruptions between Tremblay and uOttawa stations.

The problems started at 11:45 p.m. on Jan. 4, when two trains stopped in an area east of Lees Station during a freezing rain storm.  Shortly after, a temporary power interruption occurred between Tremblay and Blair Stations. Rideau Transit Maintenance says the power outage led to a build-up of ice in areas where trains were no longer running.  Four trains became immobilized between Tremblay and Lees stations due to ice build up and damage to the overhead catenary system.

While full service resumed at approximately 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, RTM is still investigating what caused the trains to initially stop near Lees Station, contributing to the ice build up.

“We know what happened. The ice buildup was so extreme that we had to take several steps to remove it and because of that, it took much longer than it normally would have,” RTM CEO Mario Guerra said. “As to why it happened? I think Ms. Amilcar said it’s going to take us awhile to figure that one out, but I wouldn’t expect that to take too long.”

Guerra said a working group formed of experts from RTM, the city of Ottawa, and Alstom, the train manufacturer, has been formed and has already met once, and he anticipates some preliminary information “within weeks.”

Workers move an LRT train on the Confederation Line between Lees and Hurdman stations after trains remained stuck for four days. Jan. 8, 2023. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

The first significant snowstorm of 2023 blanketed Ottawa with 26 cm of snow Thursday and Friday, slowing down the commute for drivers and transit riders.

Environment Canada says a total of 19 cm of snow fell between 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday night, while another 7 cm of snow fell on Thursday.

The storm forced the cancellation of school buses on Friday, disrupted some air travel, and caused slowdowns on roads.

The city of Ottawa warns the clean-up will take a few days.

“This will be a longer duration clean up, just given the significance of the amount of snow accumulation that’s out there we’ll be working into the weekend,” Quentin Levesque, director of roads and parking services, said Friday morning.

The snow is good news for area ski resorts and cross-country ski trails, after mild temperatures and rain melted snow during the first week of January.

A city of Ottawa snowplow clears the sidewalk along Wellington Street in Ottawa on Friday. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

Two students are facing hate crime charges after an antisemitic incident at an Ottawa high school last month.

The hate incident happened at Sir Robert Borden High School on Dec. 1. The students have been charged with public incitement of hatred, mischief and criminal harassment, Ottawa police said in a news release Tuesday.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board confirmed the incident last month. The board said that after an extracurricular activity, two Jewish students were called into a room by other students.

When they entered, they witnessed a large swastika displayed on the floor and one student made a Nazi salute. Police said Tuesday that one student created and displayed a hate symbol in the school and another used antisemitic language and gestures.

In a statement on Tuesday, the OCDSB said it stands against antisemitism.

“Jewish students, families and staff have the right to feel safe at school and in the community. Acts of antisemitism, hate and intolerance are unacceptable,” a board spokesman said. “Since this incident, the school has taken a number of steps to respond to concerns of antisemitism and the safety of students. This work will continue in 2023.”

This week, the Ottawa Police Service reported a rise in hate crimes in Ottawa last year.

The police service’s hate and bias crime unit saw 377 total incidents in 2022, they said in a news release, deeming 300 of them to be criminal. That’s up from 340 and 260 in 2021.

Sir Robert Borden High School in Ottawa in December 2022.

A group of seven firefighters from around the Ottawa-Gatineau region are splitting a $1 million lottery prize.

The seven won a guaranteed $1 million prize in the Sept. 7, 2022 Lotto 6/49 draw, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced.

OLG says the group of seven of “the finest fire crew in Ottawa” have been playing both Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49 together for the last three years.

A group of seven firefighters from the Ottawa-Gatineau area are splitting a $1 million Lotto 6/49 prize. (OLG/supplied)

Ryan Reynolds is the betting favourite to become the new majority owner of the Ottawa Senators, according to a gambling website.

The Canadian actor and entrepreneur expressed an interest in being part of a consortium to purchase the Senators and Canadian Tire Centre.

Online sportsbook Bodog has updated its odds on who will be the next majority owner of the Senators, and Reynolds is now listed as the favourite at +240.

Reynolds expressed his interest in being part of an ownership group on The Tonight Show, attended a Senators game in November, and has met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Toronto businessman Michael Andlauer, who is part owner of the Montreal Canadiens and owns the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL, is tied for second favourite at +245.

A group of seven firefighters from the Ottawa-Gatineau area are splitting a $1 million Lotto 6/49 prize. (OLG/supplied)

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