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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Legislature Supports Movember

More than 281-thousand dollars has been raised in New Brunswick by the Movember event in support of prostate health and awareness.  Members of the New Brunswick legislature posed for a picture today with many sporting moustaches of their own.

Tax Assessment Dollars From The Province Should Go To Saving Transit Service

The president of the union for city transit workers believes the influx of an additional 5 million dollars from the provincial tax assessment should be used to save transit service.

Ten employees will be laid off, five workers will see their hours reduced, and 20-thousand hours of service will be cut on Boxing Day due to tightening budgets.

Tom McGraw tells CHSJ News the union is trying to get the message out to Common Council and transit needs only 900-thousand dollars to maintain the current level of service.

He says 21 million dollars in gas tax funding could also be used to boost transit but it been earmarked for water projects.

The Commute Will Be Easier Tonight

The trek across the Harbour Bridge will be even easier this afternoon.
The eastbound Chesley Drive on-ramp is open to traffic once again.

Work continues on the area of the former toll plaza and is scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks.

Earlier this month,  the west bound lanes of the Harbour Bridge re-opened after being closed since the spring for a major overhaul.

At the time, Transportation Minister Claude Williams told CHSJ News the bridge project is on budget and he remains confident the east bound lanes will be completed during the construction season next year.

Overnight Parking Restrictions Begin Tomorrow

Here's a reminder that winter is coming  -- overnight parking restrictions will be in effect tomorrow and ending March 31st.

For most of the City, there is absolutely no on-street parking between midnight and 7 a.m.

City spokesperson Leah Fitzgerald tells CHSJ News there are exceptions, like in the lower west side, north end, and the Mount Pleasent area.
The South Central Peninsula works on a year-round alternate side parking arrangement outside of a snow ban.

The Saint John Parking Commission is also offering a new online parking space matching service.

The site will match residents with property owners with available off-street parking spots.  It will launch in the coming days.

For more information on parking restrictions, click here.

For information on the matching service, click here.

Anti-Nuclear Groups Gear Up For Lepreau Hearing

NB Power wants the operating licence for the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant to be extended by five years. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will be in town for two days of hearings into the application  beginning tomorrow morning at the Delta

Larry Lack of the Lepreau Decommissioning Coalition says the relationship between the regulator and the nuclear industry is too cosy and they're turning a blind eye to any concerns.

The Conservation Council is also warning the next significant earthquake in the province is expected to be in the area of Passamaquoddy Bay. The anti-nuclear groups are calling for a rigorous environmental assessment along with a Royal Commission into the future of the nuclear industry.

Michel Duguay has a Ph.D in nuclear physics and used to be an advocate of nuclear power but now says a much better bet would be to invest taxpayer dollars in wind energy because that's where alot of private investment is headed.

He maintains wind power from the Gulf of St. Lawrence has the same potential to generate as much energy as Saudi Arabia does with oil.

Dr. Gordon Edwards is President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and warns an industrial accident at Lepreau would devastate the provincial economy. He also brands the refurbishment of Point Lepreau with the delays and cost overruns "incompetent.

A public forum on nuclear power is being held tonight at the Fort Howe Hotel starting at 7:30.

More Layoffs In City

The Saint John economy will be taking another hit over the next several months with 78 layoffs at Irving Oil.

The company says the workers are losing their jobs because the finance and I-T departments are being consolidated into one division. 

Irving Oil President Mike Ashar recently told CHSJ News the refining business was going through a down cycle.

These job losses follow the recent announcement at Moosehead about 27 administrative jobs being eliminated.

West Side Fire May Have Been Deliberately Set

The cause of a fire at a building owned by Saint John Non-Profit Housing on the lower west side is believed to be suspicious. 

Fire Crews were called to 182 Rodney Street West shortly after 7 last night.

District Chief Peter Saab says there was heavy fire coming from the rear of the building which then spread to the roof. 

Firefighters spent three hours at the scene to make sure all the hot spots on the roof were extinguished.

10 people have been forced out of their apartments because of the damage.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sea Dogs Take Part In Raise The Roof

The Sea Dogs will be donning red toques to help out homeless youth here and across the country.

80 per cent of the of the proceeds will go to Saint John Youth House, a planned housing facility for homeless and at-risk youth and the rest will help support initiatives across the country.

Colin McDonald, Project Coordinator for Saint John Youth House says the campaign brings added financial resources to address an important issue in this community and raises awareness about youth homelessness in Saint John.

Members of the Sea Dogs will be presented with the toques at Harbour Station tomorrow afternoon at 3pm.

Students Protest Lack of Quiet Study Spaces at UNB Saint John

UNB Saint John students are making some noise about too much noise

3rd year student Samantha Tinker is petitioning the university to decrease the amount of noise at the new commons building or to provide more quiet study spaces.

Tinker tells CHSJ News finding a place to study shouldn't be a hassle as she is paying thousands of dollars to get a quality education.

Grad student Jonathan Simmons signed the petition because the new commons building has become too much of a social hub and a lack of quiet spaces can really hurt grades.

Tinker says the school has increased the hours of the commons building to provide more study time but that is not what she is after.

She expects to have a few hundred signatures by the end of the day and suggests that the Ward Chipman Library be re-opened as a study area.

Watermain Break On City Road

City crews are working to fix a watermain break on City road near Stanley Street.
A crew was called in about 11:30 this morning to respond to the watermain break and the section of pipe has been isolated.

It should take most of the day to fix.
Saint John Water responds to approximately 70 breaks in the drinking water distribution system every winter.

Salvation Army Trumpeter On King Street

Walkers on King Street today treated to some Christmas classics while the Salvation Army fundraises for the annual red kettle campaign.

Pregnancy Committee Using Video & Social Media To Reach Teens

You can't return a baby and babies are a lifelong contract--that's the message in a new campaign put on by the Greater Saint John Teen Pregnancy Committee.
It features a Facebook page and locally produced videos featuring local teens.
Chair Penny Higdon tells CHSJ News Saint John has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the province and it's almost double the national rate.

She thinks involving teens in the process might be a better strategy than always having adults talk about it.
19-year-old Sarah Woodword is featured in one of the videos and become involved through the Teen Resource Centre.

She found it emotionally and physically difficult to be around crying babies adding something you can't soothe a baby even if it's your own.
Higdon says the Committee's vision is a future where pregnancies are planned and desired and happen at a time when it will not limit future opportunities.

To see the video, click here

New Plan On Recreation In The City For The Next Generation

If you have an interest in recreation and parks, you can have your say in developing a strategic plan for the future at the Lily Lake Pavilion tomorrow.

Over 200 community and recreation groups have been invited to take part.

City planner Sara Herring tells CHSJ News the city has too many recreation facilities for the size of the population and with budget constraints, it's becoming harder to maintain all of them so there will have to be some streamlining.

She says recreation needs in the future will change as well because of an aging population.
There is an open house and workshop being held from 4:30 until 8:00 tomorrow.

Retirement Age Needs To Be Increased To Fight Pension Deficits

President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Catherine Swift says more steps need to be taken by our city and others who are struggling with huge pension deficits.

She tells CHSJ News retirement ages need to be increased in the public sector because people are living longer and pensions were not built to be paid out 30 years after retirement.
She says another big step is to move away from defined benefit plans and switch to combination plans that do not punish the retiree excessively.

Our Listeners Do Not Want More VLT's

Our Facebook friends taking issue with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation's plan to add another 75 video lottery machines in province.

Tarah says this is why Facebook needs a dislike button adding it's everyone's choice to gamble but, the need for one at every street corner is ridiculous.

Aimee says if taxes are constantly going up then why do we always seem to be getting less services for what we pay. She can't believe they would add more addicting machines just to line their own corporate pockets.  She says this is what the Occupy movement is all about--corporate greed.

Francina says it's a terrible thing to feel that the Government is so attached to a five letter word called "greed".

Join the conversation on our Facebook page, click here

Bus Strike Looms Larger

Acadien Bus Lines in this province and Prince Edward Island could be hit by a strike Friday morning at 6:30.
Local 1229 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, representing bus drivers, mechanics and customer service reps, is reporting members have voted 88 per cent to reject the company's latest contract offer. 

The union withdrew a strike notice last week so that Acadian Lines could present a new proposal but the president of local 1229 Glen Carr says it's obvious the company's latest offer was put together quickly.

More Video Lottery Terminals For Province

More video lottery terminals could be set up in the province because of falling revenues from the V-L-T's which fell to 91 million dollars in 2010-2011 from 100 million a year earlier. 

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation wants to install up to 75 more V-L-T's in the province.
Bids have been opened for the operation of three new gaming sites. Two of them in Saint John and the other one would be in Fredericton. 

City Loses Garbage Truck In Blaze

A garbage compactor going up in smoke early this morning at the City's repair and maintenance building on Rothesay Avenue known as the City Barns. 

There was heavy smoke emanating from the cab portion of the garbage truck when fire crews arrived. 

The sprinkler system was activated and the building, itself, sustained what is termed signifcant smoke and water damage. 

The garbage truck is a complete loss.

Snook Upset Over Lack Of Details On New Government System

A lot of talk and emotion in council chambers as council got briefed on what goes into a standing committee style of government.

Council is contemplating on making the switch, which would have various councillors sitting on 5 major committees that deal with major issues like transportation and city growth.

Councillor Donnie Snook was upset because he wanted more information before moving forward.

He say he wants to know how transparent and accessible the new form of government would be for citizens.

He adds it's ironic that the new system is being touted as more transparent for everyone yet he is lacking key details about the process.

Council voted in favour of asking representatives from the city of Fredericton to make a presentation to the city as it currently uses a standing committee system.

Councillor and Mayor Get Into Spat

Some verbal sparring taking place between Councilor Bill Farren and Mayor Ivan Court.

Court took umbrage over Farren's comment that if the Mayor gets to appoint which councillor heads each of the standing committees, it would be "kingdom building."

Court told Farren that if he can't respect the chair of the meeting, then he could leave the chambers.

Farren countered that the Mayor should show respect as well and they can talk about that issue right now.

Court told Farren they should go outside but both ended up staying put.

Partnership Puts University Students And Young Learners Together

Hazen White-St. Francis and UNB Saint John forming a promise partnership that will see the older students mentoring the young.
Principal Jennifer Carhart tells CHSJ News the funding is provided by the province and it will allow the UNB Saint John students spending one hour a week with the younger kids.

She says they also acquired funding to hire two teachers to work with the students as they transition to high school to make sure they graduate.

Emera Brunswick Pipeline will cover the cost of tuition, room and board for the Hazen White-St. Francis students to attend university.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Duplexes Needed In The City

The city's Commissioner of Planning and Development Ken Forrest says we need more duplexes and semi-detached homes in order to grow.

He says since the city has the highest average housing prices in the province, those kinds of homes will be in demand. 
He adds that kind of housing stock is practically non-existent in the city and we will need it to address affordability issues. 

In contrast, he says over 30 percent of the housing starts in Moncton are duplexes.

Standoff in St. Stephen Last Night

 Last night, St. Stephen RCMP responding to a Mayfield home on a report of a man uttering threats.

One person was able to leave the home safely, but a man locked himself inside with a weapon.

The RCMP’s Emergency Response Team responded and after nearly four hours they were able to arrest a man without incident.

A 30-year-old man faces charges but no one was hurt in the incident.

Woman Hit By Steamroller

A woman in her 30s suffering serious injuries to her lower body after being hit by a steam roller.

She was working as a flag person at the time of the incident near the corner of Lewisville and Shediac roads in Moncton.

WorkSafe NB is looking into what happened.

Dinner Aims To Attract Women To Skilled Trades

Young women in grades 9 through 12 are invited to attend a dinner promoting careers where women are often under-represented such as the skilled trades.

It's happening on Thursday night at the New Brunswick Community College campus on Grandview Ave.  

It's hoped the event will foster a positive environment in which young women can meet with tradeswomen in the community.
The students will have a chance to learn about each mentor's career journey and experiences.

If you want to attend or know someone who does: 
call Mélanie Gallagher at 506-453-8126.

Use Patience When Driving This Winter

"Be Patient" that's the advice of the RCMP when it comes to driving this time of year.
Constable Jay Doiron of the Codiac RCMP tells CHSJ News the best things drivers can do is slow down in winter conditions.

He says they encourage motorists to drive for the conditions which might be slower than the posted speed limit.

Doiron says drivers can face a fines of $172.50 and a charge of undue care and attention if their actions cause an accident that could have been avoided if they were driving slower.

Cirque Du Soleil Returns Next Year

If you want to hear a squeal Christmas morning, tickets to Cirque Du Soleil could do the trick.

The latest show called Dralion is coming to Harbour Station next May in 8 performances.

More than 8 million people worldwide have seen the show since it premiered in 1999.
Dralion is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus traditions and the avant-garde style of Cirque du Soleil with the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West.

The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, singers and comedic characters.    Tickets go on sale this Saturday.

For more info:   click here here

Anti-Shale Gas Petition To Be Presented In Legislature

The Conservation Council is calling it one of the largest petition campaigns it has been involved with in its 42 years of existence.

A petition, started last spring, has gathered 15 thousand names calling on the Provincial Government to abandon plans for shale gas exploration and development. 

The Conservation Council's Stephanie Merrill tells CHSJ News the Alward Government seems intent on pressing ahead because of what it sees as the economic windfall for a province in dire financial straits. 

The opponents claim any economic benefits could be offset by problems with drinking water, damage to roads or to peoples' health.
The petition, itself, will be presented in the Legislature, ironically, by a Conservative M-L-A, Kirk MacDonald of York North.

Fists Fly At Hampton Arena

 Punches being thrown Sunday at the Hampton Arena after two spectators got into it.

RCMP arriving on the scene about 1:30 in the afternoon to find two men hitting each other.
One man is from Hampton and the other from St. George and he left with a broken nose.

The Mounties tell us charges are possible.

Bullying Appears To Be Down In School District 8

The number of reported cases of bullying is down in School District 8.

Learning specialist Jill Jollineau says the district has begun hammering home the message in kindergartern about what constitutes acceptable behaviour with the belief, the earlier you do this, the better

She feels they're making inroads in tackling the problem although it's alot tougher to guage the psychological impact when the bullying does not involve physical injuries.

Jollineau tells CHSJ News there should be no confusion about the policy and consequences which are, in her view, clear.

City Police have said they would like to see more consistency in how that policy is interpreted and acted upon by the various schools around the district.

City to Get Millions of Dollars From Gas Tax Fund

Common Council meets tonight and will be hearing from Cherry Brook Zoo which will be looking for some funding from the city next year, the River Road Community Alliance on efforts to make that part of the city safer and the Saint John Community Arts Board which will be reporting on the state of the arts in the city. 

Common Council has also heard from Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch that the city will receive 21 million dollars from the Gas Tax fund to help pay for 28 million dollars worth of projects which include the installation of new water transmission lines under the Reversing Falls Bridge.

Cyber Monday Shoppers Should Be Wary Of Fraud

Many in greater Saint John will be shopping in their p.j.'s today hoping to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.
The online shopping phenomenon is growing in popularity with 52 per cent of Canadians more aware of it this year than last.
Nicky Mezo of PayPal tells CHSJ News in addition to using different passwords for banking, shopping and email, Cyber Monday shoppers should update their security as well.

She says your should make sure your computer is updated with the latest anti-virus software and your internet browser is also up to date.

Mezo says shoppers should be aware of online scams and keep an eye out for phishing emails which are often fraudulent and often come with the words "urgent" and "act now" in the subject line.
For more info:  click here

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canadian Services CEO Says NB Won't Be Able To Sell Blood

The CEO of Canadian Blood Services wants to dispel further misinformation about its decision to move a blood production lab to Darthmouth.

Dr. Graham Sher tells CHSJ News the idea that the province can establish its own blood system and sell products to the U.S. is incorrect because there is simply no market for it in the U.S.
Sher says according to a third party study, it would cost New Brunswick up to 40 million dollars to run its own system.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stonehammer Geopark Gets International Recognition

Stonehammer Geopark is hammering home New Brunswick's status as a national tourism destination. The park showcasing the fossils and unique geology of the region spans more than 2,500 square kilometres. On Thursday, it received the national tourism association's Deloitte Award for Innovator of the Year.

Chair Bill Merrifield says that the park's unique appeal lies in its diversity. Every site offers something new from a geological perspective, he says--and you can see it all in a day.

The award is given out to tourism or business organizations that develop the most innovative product. The 2,500 square kilometer park includes more than 60 major geological sites across Southern New Brunswick, ranging from Lepreau Falls, Norton, the Irving Nature Park, and the Fundy Trail.

Red Cross Disaster Response Team Seeking Volunteers

The Canadian Red Cross wants you to join its disaster response team for the greater Saint John area.

The organization trains members of the public to emergency situations. Volunteers are on call for a few days each month to assist people who need help. That could mean arranging emergency shelter, clothing, food or other support for folks affected by disasters.

An information session will be held Monday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Red Cross office at 70 Landsdowne Avenue.

According to Red Cross disaster associate Mark Belliveau, it'll be a great opportunity to learn more abut what the service does locally, and how you can  volunteer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Parades Today

It's double parade day in the city and out in the valley -- the Lancaster Santa Claus Parade kicks off at 1pm on Main Street West and will make it's way towards Catherwood Street and Fairville Boulevard.

Parade Chair Blaine Harris tells CHSJ News 65 floats are taking part this year.

For those in the valley, the 13th Annual Santa Claus parade kicks off tonight at KVHS at 6 o'clock.  The parade will go along the Hampton Road.

You're being asked to bring food donations to both events.

Report Says CBS Move Will Have Huge Economic Impact

Enterprise Saint John commissioning a report on the economic impact of Canadian Blood Services moving to Dartmouth on the city and province.

Jupia Consultants of Moncton finds the business case for moving does not seem strong and questions why New Brunswick taxpayers should foot a large portion of the cost when it's the Nova Scotia facility that needed to be replaced.

The report also says decisions like this should include an assessment of the local economic impacts.

In terms of numbers, Jupia Consultants claims the move will result in 1 million dollars in direct employment income lost and 31 jobs.

It says the lost GDP impact will be over 1.2 million dollars and lost taxation to government exceeds $400,000.

Drug Bust In Rothesay

This had to turn a few heads...RCMP and the Rothesay Regional Police arresting three people in a mall parking lot on Lacey Drive about 7 last night.
It's the result of a joint investigation into the trafficking of prescription drugs.

A 28-year-old woman and man along with a 34-year-old man taken into custody without incident and police seizing a quantity of prescription drugs and cash.

The two 28-year-olds are due in court in March while the other man remains in custody for a parole violation.

Port Makes $4000 Food Donation

The food banks in every corner of Saint John will have full cupboards for a while thanks to a donation from the Saint John Port Authority.
Esther Shanks of the Community Food Basket on Charlotte Street tells CHSJ News it began as a temporary measure in 1984.

She calls that an absolute disgrace but, she's not blaming the city adding she's never been in a city more generous than Saint John.  Saint John Port Authority CEO Jim Quinn says part of the reason they can provide this help to the food banks is because of the support already given to the Joshua Group.

Quinn says they raised $36,000 for the Joshua Group ahead of schedule and we able to divert fundraising efforts to other local groups.

The Port Authority giving a donation of food and other goods totalling $4000 to the North, West, East and Uptown food banks.

Tree Lighting Ceremony Tonight

The city will be getting into the Christmas spirit tonight with its 27th annual tree lighting ceremony.

There will be carollers, treats, and a visit from Santa.

Everyone is invited and it gets underway at 6 o'clock at the Loyalist Plaza next to Market Square.

Housing Alternatives Celebrates 30 Years

Housing Alternatives getting honoured with a community breakfast today as it celebrates 30 years of helping to develop affordable housing in Saint John.

Brenda Murphy is the Coordinator for the Urban Core Support Network and she tells CHSJ News while great strides have been made, more affordable housing is needed in the city as there are hundreds still on waiting lists.

She says the group is the unsung hero on this issue.

Housing Alternatives manages 550 units in the city.

President Of One Change Honoured By The "Y"

The YM-YWCA is honouring the President of One Change, Scott Crawford with its 2011 Peace Medal.

Crawford says residents of the old north end are not just sitting back and waiting for others to make their neighbourhood better.

The projects on the go include setting up a computer training centre and, with the help of doctors, a new model health centre to better deliver primary healthcare in the priority neighbourhoods.
One Change also has made a proposal to the city to take over the day to day running of the North End Community Centre.

Seinfeld To Visit Saint John

Now here's a stocking stuffer to get excited about: Tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld when he visits Harbour Station next year.

The actor most famous for his show about nothing is returning to his first love--stand-up comedy.

The tour will visit Saint John on February 3 and tickets go on sale next Saturday at 10am.

Ticket prices ranges from $55 to $105 dollars.

For ticket info, click here

Bus Strike Averted For Time Being

It was feared bus service between cities in this province and Prince Edward Island might be disrupted by strike action within 72 hours but that's not going to happen.    

The union representing Acadian Lines employees gave the company strike notice  yesterday but has now withdrawn it.

A new offer will be presented to the union on the issues still in dispute and a vote on that proposal by bus drivers, mechanics and maintenance workers will be held Sunday and Monday.

If the offer is rejected, December 2nd is being talked about as the new date for strike action if it comes to pass.

Prostitution Arrests Made By City Police

City Police making another sweep through the Village area around Waterloo and Cobourg Streets where the sex trade seems to flourish. 

Two women in their thirties will be charged in early January with communicating for the purpose of prostitution.

Province Releases Totals For Unconditional Grants

Municipalities, rural communities and local service districts will receive $69,012,690 in unconditional grants in 2012.

Saint John will be receiving about 19 million dollars while Quispamsis is getting over 800-thousand and Rothesay a little over 400-thousand.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News with these figures coming in along with provincial assessments, the town budget for next year will be finalized soon.

He believes the town will be able to hold the tax rate.

There was a slight reduction in funding overall and local service districts will see a slight increase in taxes to reflect administration costs in LSD's.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2012 Municipal Tax Base Released

The province releasing the 2012 municipal tax base and Saint John and the surrounding areas are all in the black ink.

Figures show the tax base in Saint John has gone up by about 319 million dollars while assessments in Quispamsis sand Rothesay have also gone up -- 85 million and 45 million respectively.

According to Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch, the tax bases for municipalities and rural communities have increased by $1.95 billion.

That means $29.5 million in new tax revenue.

Students Ready For Tin Can Challenge

Get ready to see some crazy shapes like boats and dragons made from canned goods -- the 4th Annual Tin Can Challenge takes place tonight which has students compete in a giant sculpture-building contest in order to raise awareness about homelessness and the needy.

Project Coordinator Colin McDonald tells CHSJ News we have a homelessness problem here in the city but it tends to be hidden as we don't have clusters of people on the streets.

He says homeless youth tend to couch surf until they overstay their welcome.

He adds we need to have an emergency shelter for youth that will get them off the street as quickly as possible.

The 4th Annual Tin Can Challenge gets underway at 7 o'clock at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal.

Flag Flies For AIDS Awareness Week

There's a new flag on the flying on the pole outside of city hall.

The Mayor raising a flag for AIDS Awareness Week.

Executive Director of AIDS Saint John Julie Dingwell tells CHSJ News there are still a lot of misconceptions about HIV and AIDS, such as some people believing there is currently a cure for the disease.

She says stigma and discrimination is still present for people with HIV and they're afraid if people found out they are infected, it would cost them their job or home.

According to the Canadian AIDS Society, the cost of HIV is $1.3 Million per person infected.

Municipal Operations Defends Street Plowing In the Storm

The City's Municipal Operations department defending it's work clearing streets and sidewalks in yesterday's storm.
Kevin Rice tells CHSJ News says the City's equipment and personnel were as prepared as they possibly could be.

He says the motorists on the road did not have winter tires and did not drive appropriate to the conditions.  Rice tells us he takes issue with comments being made that they were not prepared and the roads were in bad shape.

Rice says he'd invite people to look at all other municipalities in the Maritimes along with bigger cities including Montreal and Ottawa who experienced the very same conditions yesterday.