Tracey Tong/metro ottawa
More than 30 people were left homeless after fire ripped through buildings housing apartment units and businesses at 801 Somerset St. W. in August.
Looking back at a year always holds surprises for those who work at a newspaper.
When you’re in the thick of the daily grind, chasing down the day’s top news, events have a tendency to blur, and it’s only with the perspective of distance and time that you realize how much a year is indeed the sum of its parts.
While reviewing 2007, it was a revelation to see once again the blend of good, terrible, shocking and surprising news that provided the backdrop to the city in which we live and work.
As a new year approaches, we’re pleased to offer you a sample of some of the top local stories published in Metro Ottawa in 2007.
Thank you for another year of faithful readership that has made Metro the No. 1 choice for free daily news in Ottawa since its launch in March 2005. We’ll meet you back here in our news pages in 2008!
2 – The Rideau Canal is not even close to freezing. The NCC said the canal needs two weeks of temperatures below -10 C in order to have the canal ready for Winterlude.
3 – Allison Lee Quets, a 49-year-old mother from Florida, who abducted the 17-month-old twins she put up for adoption in 2005 and fled to Canada, appeared in court after Ottawa Police arrested her.
4 – The Special Investigations Unit is investigating after a standoff between police and a 26-year-old man who was covered in blood and holding a knife in the back seat of a taxicab. Police eventually took the man into custody and then transported him to the Ottawa Hospital for treatment of a serious eye injury. James Barber of Ottawa died from his injuries days later.
2 – After two weeks of temperature below -15 C, Winterlude opens with the canal ready.
5 – Jason Gall, 33, is found hunched over a car on Gilmour Street with a stab wound to the upper chest area and is pronounced dead a short time later in the hospital. It’s Ottawa’s first murder of the year.
15 – Councillors decide to give the light-rail project more consideration after Siemens demands $175 million for “wrong termination of the project agreement.”
27 – Mayor Larry O’Brien pushes through a budget that comes close to his promised zero-tax increase budget. With the help of a city surplus, property taxes only rose by 0.3 per cent.
5 – The IFAB upholds a decision by a soccer referee in Quebec not to allow an 11-year-old Nepean Hotspurs player, Asmahan Mansour, to play soccer wearing a hijab.
12 – The Rideau Canal Skateway closes for the season. Despite opening later than usual, the canal was one day short of a record for the longest skating season.
16 – Gatineau Police have seized more than $500,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency after an investigation that involved the American Secret Service.
20 – The Carleton Ravens’ men’s basketball team captures its fifth straight national championship to become only the second men’s team ever to win five in row.
10 – An inquiry into the dragging death of 25-year-old Sarah McCarthy has started. On Nov. 27, 2005, McCarthy died after being caught under a taxicab and pulled along for more than a kilometre outside a pub in Kanata.
30 – Hassan Al-Khazaali, 17, dies after being stabbed three times in the chest during an altercation with other teens in a parking lot.
3 – Canadian War Museum officials have refused to change an exhibit that has angered WWII veterans who complain the exhibit’s tone suggests they committed war crimes.
8 – A gunman stormed a building near the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario yesterday, firing a weapon before being Tasered twice by police. No one was injured.
6 – Hearts were broken in the capital as the Ottawa Senators’ stellar playoff run ended in a 6-2 loss in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Anaheim Ducks. After losing only three games in the first three rounds, the Sens went into the series as favourites but the Ducks won the series 4-1.
18 – Gage Crescent residents are in shock after 19-year-old Aaron Howard was accused of killing his adoptive mother, Deborah Frankel-Howard, in their home over the weekend.
27 – Residents of a Caldwell Avenue apartment building are grieving after a three-year-old boy fell to his death from the 15th floor the night before.
28 – The federal government announced that a ceremonial guard would be posted at the National War Memorial until the end of summer. The placement comes after Canada Day revellers made news nationwide by urinating on the memorial last year.
5 – Police have confirmed the identities of triple homicide victims found in a luxury condominium unit. The bodies of former tax court judge Alban Garon, 77, his wife Raymonde, 73 and the couple’s neighbour, Marie-Claire Beniskos, 78, were found bound and beaten at an apartment at 1510 Riverside Dr.
12 – Council voted 15-7 to scrap Ottawa’s controversial crack pipe program, despite an appeal by Ottawa’s chief medical officer that the program reduces the spread of disease among addicts.
13 – The Ministry of Transportation replaced a section of the Queensway over Island Park Drive in just 17 hours, marking a Canadian first as workers used a rapid replacement technique to lift out the existing 1,200-tonne bridge.
17 – Thirty-one people are homeless after a huge blaze ripped through several buildings on Somerset Street. The fire, which began in the early hours, reduced a building at 807 Somerset St. W. to rubble and gutted 801 Somerset St., which was later demolished.
18 – A 68-year-old man walked away uninjured after his homebuilt plane crashed in a forested area near the Rockcliffe Parkway and Highway 174 around noon. A mechanical failure caused the plane to lose altitude shortly after takeoff from Rockcliffe Airport.
19 – The redevelopment of the Ottawa Congress Centre will “redefine the urban landscape of downtown Ottawa,” say proponents who unveiled the $159-million project, which features 200,000 square feet of space — triple the size of the current facility.
11 – Progressive Conservative challengers failed to unseat Liberals in city ridings as Premier Dalton McGuinty returned himself and his governing party to power in Ontario’s provincial election. Despite a Liberal campaign that was widely criticized for sidestepping its checkered record and for focusing on a single-issue opposition policy rather than its platform, city voters opted to return all Liberal incumbents to Queen’s Park.
16 – Thousands of mourners — including more than 2,500 uniformed officers — gathered at Notre-Dame Basilica to celebrate the life of an Ottawa native remembered for his sense of humour and devotion to his job and his family. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Const. Christopher Worden, 30, was shot and killed in Hay River, N.W.T., on Oct. 6. A suspect, Emrah Bulatci, 23, was arrested.
23 – A heritage building at 352 Somerset St. partially collapsed after a Bobcat operator struck a column during renovations. The intersection of Bank and Somerset streets was closed to traffic as a safety precaution.
2 – A strict new transit bylaw now in effect prohibits smoking at any bus stop on any city street — as well as within nine metres of transit properties — under threat of fines.
13 – Ottawa-based Cognos Inc., a maker of business intelligence software, believes a $5-billion takeover by IBM is the best thing for its customers and local staff.
22 – Forensic investigators discovered a fourth dead body inside a city house where they had already been called to probe the deaths of a man and two women. A man and two females were initially found dead at 175 Grandpark Circle, but forensic investigators later found a fourth body, that of a woman, in the house.
David Gonczol/for metro ottawa
Mayor Larry O’Brien listens at a council meeting in December, on the same day that provincial police laid Criminal Code charges against him in connection to influence-peddling allegations.
4 – Friends and family gathered for the funeral of 18-year-old Tammy Couture, who died after being stabbed in the chest last month after an altercation at a social gathering.
5 – More newcomers to Canada are seeing Ottawa-Gatineau as a good alternative to settling in the country’s three largest cities, recently released Statistics Canada data indicates.
6 – Two men were stranded 22 storeys above the ground when the elevating platform they were working on got stuck against the outside face of a downtown office tower.
11 – An eight-month probe into allegations that Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien tried to bribe an opponent to drop out of the 2006 mayoral race has now resulted in criminal charges being laid.