9:30 a.m., Jan. 2)
on the year that was
By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star
2017 now in our rear view mirrior, it’s a good time to
take stock of the year that was.
small army of volunteers spent hours filling
up sand bags in an effort to protect homes on
Leo Lane near Cumberland Village from rising
flood waters last June. Fred Sherwin/Photo
If there was one theme that formed a common thread throughout 2017 it was that
of community service.
theme was most evident during the spring flooding which
left more than a dozen homes on Leo and Boise Lanes along
the Ottawa River in total ruin.
trouble started on Sunday, April 30 and continued into
Monday, May 1 when more than 56 millimetres of rain fell
in less than 48 hours. That would have been bad enough,
but when an additional 40 millimetres of rain fell on
Friday, May 5, it spelled disaster for local residents.
the best efforts of dozens of volunteers who showed up
to fill sandbags after hearing about the rising floodwaters
on television, the rains continued into the weekend and
the water eventually breeched the sandbag walls forcing
a complete evacuation.
wasn’t until the following week that the water had receded
enough to allow the homeowners to return along with dozens
of additional volunteers who helped clear away the debris
group of volunteers organized a fundraising event for
the flood victims in September that was attended by more
than 1,000 people and raised over $10,000. The effort
was a testament to the caring nature and generosity of
local residents who came to the assistance of their neighbours
at a time of crisis.
example of the level of selflessness that exists in our
community was evident last February when a group of Grade
10 students at St. Peter High School wrote a collection
of cards and letters to students at the Masjid Bilal mosque
on Innes Road, expressing their support of the Muslim
community in the wake of a mass shooting at a Quebec City
mosque that left six people dead and 19 injured.
Bilal youth member Ameena Ally (left) stands
in front of a display containing cards and
letters writen by students at St. Peter High
School, including Shealyn Foley (right). Fred Sherwin/Photo
at the Innes Road mosque responded with cards of their
own expressing their thanks and appreciation for the outpouring
of support from the students at St. Pete’s.
examples of the community’s generosity include the Cairine
Wilson Secondary School Relay for Life which raised over
$90,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society; and St. Peter
High School’s annual food drive during which more than
38,000 items were collected for the Orléans-Cumberland
Community Resource Centre food bank.
February, Navan teenager Jackson Bender was recognized
for making excellent use of the $150 he received from
the local RBC branch as part of their Make 150 Count program
commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday.
16, used the grant to solicit another $760 from local
businesses and donated the full amount to the Heritage
Public School breakfast program.
year started off with Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France
Lalonde get- ting a new Cabinet position as Minister of
Community Safety and Correctional Service. Two weeks later,
Sherwin Publishing launched L’Orléanais, a French
language monthly serving the francophone community of
in January we lost Ray St. Louis,a veteran of the Korean
War and a popular member of the Orléans Legion. St. Louis
was a mainstay at the Legion’s annual Remembrance Day
ceremony during which he led in the colour party and reported
the attendance which always ended with the numbers 632
– the Orléans Legion’s designated number.
February, the Orléans Chamber of Commerce honoured some
of their own at the 2017 Business Excellence Awards with
State Farm insurance agent Lisa Cruickshank taking home
the top prize for Business Person of the Year.
also saw thousands of people attend the 11th annual Ottawa
Health and Wellness Expo at the Shenkman Arts Centre and
the unfortunate story of the little dog Ginnie, who was
attacked and killed by a coyote while out for a walk with
her owner along the bank of the frozen Ottawa River.
March, Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Police Service
issued a joint warning to the public on the danger of
counterfeit opioid pills containing the deadly drug fentanyl.
It came on the heels of information released by the province
indicating that 40 people died as a result of an opioid
overdose in 2016.
the true number of opioid related deaths that occurred
in the past year is months away from being released, front
line public health workers estimate they have increased
crisis sparked a group of frontline health care and social
workers to form the group Overdose Prevention Ottawa which
set up a pop-up tent in Raphael Brunet Park in Lowertown
to offer drug users a safe, supervised site in which to
inject and ingest their drugs which resulted in the prevention
of more than 20 potentially deadly overdoses.
with March, the month also saw the city unveil its plans
for Stage 2 of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit system which
included an extension from Place d’Orléans to Trim Road.
Later in the year the plan would receive the blessing
and funding from both the provincial and federal governments.
the same month, Orléans native and Carine Wilson Secondary
School alum Rachel Homan led her rink to a gold medal
win at the World Curling Championships in China.
Homan foursome would go on to win the Roar of the Rings
Olympic qualifying tournament in Ottawa in December, earning
themselves a berth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang,
South Korea this February.
March drew to a close the contro-versy over a proposed
wetland conser-vation project in Navan began to heat up.
The project called for the creation of three man-made
ponds in an area to the south of the village, bordered
by the Prescott Russell Pathway. In the end the project
was canceled due to public pressure.
April, a tragic fire in a group home on Old Montreal Road
claimed the life of 16-year-old resident Courtney Scott
who was trapped in the basement. That same month, the
jury in the Michael Wassill trial heard that the 20-year-old
Orléans resident was killed in 2012 over a $100 debt.
was trying to protect a female friend from her former
boyfriend and self-styled pimp Carson Morin. When Morin
went to Wassill’s Fernleaf Crescent home to collect a
sum of money from the female in question, he pushed his
way past the front door before Wassill could grab him.
In the scuffle that ensued, Morin slashed Wassill’s throat
with a box-cutter knife.
20-year-old would die as a result of the wound and Morin
was arrested and later charged with first degree murder.
After a trial that lasted 13 weeks, Morin was found guilty
as charged and sentenced to life in prison with no chance
of parole for 25 years.
mentioned previously the month of May brought with it
torrential rain which caused massive flooding along the
Ottawa River affecting residents in Constance Bay, Cumberland
in May, the Navan Lions Club celebrated their 65th year
serving the community and area bars reported doing tremendous
business as the underdog Sens made it all the way to the
East Conference finals before they were knocked out of
the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
June, Habitat for Humanity broke ground on their latest
build in the National Capital Region. Leacross Landing
is situat-ed at the corner of Jeanne d’Arc Blvd. North
and Fortune Drive across from Convent Glen Catholic School.
initial plan calls for the construction of four townhomes
which will be completed this spring. Four more units will
be built in 2019 and eight more in 2020. All the work
is being done by volunteer labour.
June 17, party-goers flocked to Petrie Island for the
annual Carivibe festival celebrating the food, music and
culture of the Caribbean. The event, which is organized
by Orléans resident Trevor Mason, was blessed with excellent
the newly-revived Canada Day celebration on Petrie Island
was not so blessed. Torrential rain leading up to the
event turned the site into a bog. The rain continued for
much of the day on Canada Day, which severely affected
attendance. Despite the bad luck, organizers with the
Kiwanis Club of Orléans plan to stage the event again
the same day Carivide was happening, residents in the
village of Navan staged their own Canada 150 parade as
well as a concert under the Domes on the Navan Fairgrounds.
The events were organized by Wyatt McWilliams and J.T.
Bradley Country Convenience Store owner John Bradley.
was a fairly quiet month in Orléans, but not so for residents
living on Beechmont Crescent in Blackburn Hamlet where
a mischievous woodpecker was discovered to be responsible
for cracked side mirrors on about a half dozen cars on
residents solved the problem by wrapping their side mirrors
with plastic grocery bags. It’s not known where the woodpecker
went after that, or if he continued his carnage some place
August the Navan Fair was a huge success and the Cumberland
Panthers Junior Varsity football team won the provincial
September, thousands of BBQ food fans attended the second
annual Orléans Ribfest and 14-year-old Orléans resident
Kayleeah Bartelemy made it to the finals of Ottawa Idol,
finishing in third place.
October, a Blackburn Hamlet family, a local community
organizer and a business woman with Orléans roots were
honoured as part of the Amazing People Awards.
Agoro family was among the recipients for being able to
overcome the 2002 stabbing death of their son and brother
Dapo who was two weeks shy of his high school graduation
when he was murdered while trying to break up a fight
in a downtown dance club. After his death, the Agoros
launched the Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace and organized
the first annual Dapo Fun Day which raises money for the
Raymond received an award for the work she’s done through
Women Living Fully in helping to enable women to achieve
their full potential. Under Raymond’s leadership, the
group recently launched the #$1M$10MProject with the goal
of raising $1 million and turning it into $10 million,
using public and private partnerships, for local and international
third recipient was Blackburn Community Association president
Laura Dudas who was recognized for her ongoing community
service. In November,
Lalonde announced that the long-awaited and highly-anticipated
Orléans Health Hub is still on target for 2020. The $65
million super clinic will be built near the intersection
of Mer Bleue Road and Brian Coburn Boulevard.
in December, Ottawa city council passed the 2018 operating
and capital budgets, which among other things contains
a two per cent tax hike.
year ended on a positive note with four local athletes
qualifying for the Winter Olympics – Rachel Homan in curling;
and Ivanie Blondin, Vincent de Haître and Isabelle Weidemann
in speed skating.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)