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Alta Vista neighbours, should you wish to recieve this newsletter in French, we encourage you to e-mail us at jeancloutierott@ottawa.ca to indicate your preference. Each and every newsletter I publish is available in French and English. 
Dear neighbours,

With the holiday season upon us, please note the next editions of our newsletter will be published on Wednesday Dec. 23rd and Wednesday December 30th. Should you require timely information, we encourage you to visit the Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 webpage or call 3-1-1. Please call 3-1-1 or email 311@ottawa.ca for any issues regarding plowing, parking or general information.  My office will be checking emails and phone messages regularly throughout the holidays.
Should you or a loved one need assistance over the holiday season, please consider reaching out to 2-1-1 Ontario. They can be reached online, over the phone, and by live chat - help is just a click away. 

They are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. 

You are not alone, 211 navigators are ready to support you. 

COVID-19 Vaccine

This week, the first #COVID19Vaccine arrived in our community. These are busy times and it's normal to have questions. At your leisure, kindly watch this video and please check out our newly-launched website to get some answers: http://OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine

FACE the Holidays 

The Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa (GPCSO) are highlighting that many older adults are worried and anxious about the upcoming season, as the holidays can be joyful and sometimes hard. The one thing we know is that this year will be different. But social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation. We can find new ways to celebrate and connect with each other, and maybe even start a new holiday tradition! If you’re feeling worried about what this holiday holds, here’s a guide to thinking creatively about what truly matters this season.

They encourage all of us to FACE the Holidays:
 
F - FOCUS on what’s in your control
A - ACKNOWLEDGE this year is different
C - CONNECT creatively
E- ENGAGE safely
FOCUS on what’s in your control

When we’re feeling anxious, it helps to focus on what we're able to do: for ourselves, our families, and the community. Think about how you want to spend the holidays safe from COVID 19, then start the conversation with your loved ones. If this isn’t easy for you, write down your thoughts first so you can be clear. Will you stay physically apart but get together for chats and meals on the computer? It’ll feel good to talk about it and work out a plan together. Connecting with people, making memories, and continuing or starting new traditions is possible this year!

ACKNOWLEDGE this year is different

Nothing is normal about 2020. Accepting this is step one in letting yourself grieve over what’s lost with COVID 19. It’s okay to feel disappointed about having to give up some traditions you love. Older adults have lived through many difficult seasons, but this is a particularly difficult year for all. Recognize what you’re feeling and respond to yourself with kindness and compassion. There are no right or wrong ways to experience grief, but acknowledging the loss of cherished social connections this season is an important step to be able to move forward.

CONNECT creatively

What are the ingredients of a joyful holiday? Seeing loved ones? Watching a snowfall? A favourite story? Helping others, or enjoying the hopeful spirit of the season? Thinking about what the holidays truly mean to you can help you get creative with your plan. Maybe your family can watch a movie on the same night, and chat during or after. Play a family favourite album at the same time. Or swap stories of holidays past on a video call or through letters. Food also brings us together. Start a cookie exchange, or make a traditional family meal and share the recipe with everyone. What else makes you happy—decorations, family traditions, gifts, spiritual contemplation? There is power in connecting with our own memories, traditions and needs.

ENGAGE safely

Engage and connect with those you love in the ways that work for you. Do as much or as little as you want: no explanations or apologies needed. You can feel connected in a range of ways even when apart. Stay safe by honoring your own needs this year. It is possible to feel connected to the spirit of the season, past traditions and your loved ones, while keeping yourself and your community healthy and safe.

How to say “thanks but no thanks” to a COVID-unWise holiday invite

Avoiding crowds is the norm this year, but what do you do if a friend, family member or coworker invites you to a holiday party? If you’re not on the same page in terms of pandemic precautions, it could get awkward.

Ottawa Public Health has resources to check out(link is external) if you’re unsure of what’s in and what’s out this holiday season. And if you’re invited to a gathering that’s out of your comfort zone, we’ve got some tips to help you handle it with tact.

Give yourself permission to say no

… politely

We are raised to be polite, and that’s a good thing. It’s natural to consider that declining an invitation would disappoint the host, but frankly it's the lesser of two evils.

With a little thought, you can take the sting out of declining an invitation, while also being honest about your reasons. At a loss for words? Here’s a script you could follow:

“I really appreciate the invite, but I’m not going to be able to make it. With the pandemic, I’m just not comfortable in that kind of setting.” Consider following it up with an alternative meet-up: “I won’t be able to join, but it would be so great to catch up another time. Can we have a (FaceTime chat/outdoor coffee) sometime soon?”

… with humour

If the nature of your relationship with the host allows, send your regrets with a dose of humour:

“I really wish I could make it, but my dog has smallpox so I should probably sit this one out.”

“I’d love to come, but I promised my (son/daughter/niece/nephew) we would get the Elf on the Shelf their flu shot that day.”

“I’m sorry I’m not available! I’ll be washing my face masks that night.”

“That’s one reindeer game I won’t be able to join in on. Maybe next year!”

“Sorry, my agent is only booking me in 2021.”

“I’d love to, but I don’t think you have enough wine for me this year.”

… and without guilt

Doing the right thing is not always easy. For the sake of our mental health, we need to be kind to ourselves. Instead of feeling bad for saying no, pat yourself on the back for doing the right thing for yourself, your family and your community.

Let go of any feelings of guilt and instead focus on fun, safe ways to recharge over the holidays.

Related stories:

Ten ways to celebrate safely during the holidays

Has a COVID Christmas got you feeling blue? Here are some things that you can do!

Holy flu vaccines batman!

Over 50,000 flu vaccine doses have been given to residents through our OPH clinics! The last day of our citywide flu clinics is December 18. Doctor’s offices and pharmacies will continue to offer the flu vaccine.

More info visit: http://ottawapublichealth.ca/flu

Wake Up Ottawa!


A house full of smoke is no joke! Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan. Replace old smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with new versions which have a hush feature to temporarily silence your alarm, giving you time to air out that unwanted smoke. 

Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink Holiday hours

In effect Monday, December 21 to Friday, January 1

  • Monday
    • U12 pick-up hockey, 10 to 11 am
    • U16 pick-up hockey, 11 to noon
    • Pick-up hockey, noon to 1 pm
    • Public skating, 1:30 to 5 pm
    • Pick-up hockey, 5 to 6 pm
  • Tuesday
    • U16 pick-up hockey, 10 to 11 am
    • U12 pick-up hockey, 11 to noon
    • Pick-up hockey, noon to 1 pm
    • Public skating, 1:30 to 5 pm
    • Pick-up ringette, 5 to 6 pm
  • Wednesday
    • Public skating, 10  am to 1 pm
    • Pick-up hockey, 1:30 to 2:30 pm
    • U12 pick-up hockey, 2:30 to 3:30 pm
    • U16 pick-up hockey, 3:30 to 4:30 pm
    • Public skating, 4:30 to 6 pm
  • Thursday
    • Public skating, 10 am to 3 pm
  • Friday
    • Closed
  • Saturday
    • Closed
  • Sunday
    • Pick-up Ringette, 10 to 11 am
    • U12 pick-up hockey, 11 am to noon
    • U16 pick-up hockey, noon to 1 pm
    • Public skating, 3:30 to 7 pm
    • Women’s pick-up hockey, 7 to 8 pm
    • Pick-up hockey, 8 to 10 pm

This schedule is subject to change

COVID-19 safety measures at the Jim Tubman Rink:

  • Follow the safety measures in place at City facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • A maximum of 100 people can be on the ice at one time for public skating.
  • A maximum 20 people can play hockey at one time (6 per team on the ice, and 4 per team off the ice).
  • When the rink is at capacity, access is on a first-come-first-served basis. Be considerate and limit your time to 30-minutes when others are waiting.
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres must be maintained, including during hockey, ringette and all sports activities as per Ontario Regulation 642/20
  • Physical contact between players is not permitted.
  • Player benches will only be open during hockey times and have a maximum capacity of 4 people per bench.

Note: Restrictions are aligned with the Provincial COVID-19 response framework and may change when the Provincial restrictions are modified.

For more information, please visit ottawa.ca/en/jim-tubman-chevrolet-rink

With the holiday season upon us, please consider inviting your household green bin. More than just food scraps go in the green bin. Not sure how to dispose of something? Visit ottawa.ca/greenbin

Loblaw Christmas Food Drive this Saturday

The 36th Annual OC Transpo/Loblaw Christmas Food Drive ends in just one short week! We need your help to support the Ottawa Food Bank and the wonderful work they do in our community. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Food Drive will look different to prioritize your health and safety.
Want to get involved? Here’s how!
  1. Make a virtual donation You can make a virtual donation through the Ottawa Food Bank’s online donation page until Friday, December 18.  

    Sharing is caring! Sharing the link to the Ottawa Food Bank’s online donation page is easy—you  can post it on your social media accounts for friends and family to see. Monetary donations are helpful and convenient.

    Because of its wholesale purchasing power, the Ottawa Food Bank can deliver about $5 worth of food for every dollar you donate.
     
  2. Make an in-person donation on Saturday, December 19
Items most needed
  • Soup
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Canned meat
  • Canned fish
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Peanut butter
  • Baby food, formula and diapers
Participating stores
Loblaws
  • 1980 Ogilvie Rd.
  • 200 Earl Grey Dr.
  • 2085 Carling Ave.
  • 1460 Merivale Rd.
  • 2210 Bank St.
  • 363 Rideau St.
  • 1910 St. Laurent Blvd.
  • 100 McArthur Ave.
  • 2065A Robertson Rd.
  • 1980 Baseline Rd.
  • 3201 Greenbank Rd.
  • 64 Isabella St.
No Frills
  • 30 Iber Rd.
  • 1226 Place d'Orléans Dr.
Real Canadian Superstore
  • 190 Richmond Rd.
  • 4270 Innes Rd.
  • 760 Eagleson Rd.
Your Independent Grocer
  • 1251 Stittsville Main St..
  • 2681 Alta Vista Dr.
  • 1619 Orléans Blvd.
  • 685 River Rd.
  • 3777 Strandherd Dr.

Winter Service Changes

Winter service starts Sunday December 20, 2020. Some routes will be modified to reflect seasonal ridership changes and respond to changing customer needs. For more information, please visit: http://ow.ly/WP9Y50CIxms
OC Transpo holiday service starts December 21

OC Transpo special holiday service will run from December 21 to January 1. Customers are reminded to plan ahead using the Travel Planner on octranspo.com when riding on OC Transpo this holiday season.

OC Transpo continues its commitment to keeping everyone as safe as possible when travelling on New Year’s Eve. In partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Ottawa and the City’s Safer Roads Ottawa Program, OC Transpo is offering no-charge service on Para Transpo and OC Transpo after 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. Remember to celebrate with members of your household, to wear a mask when using transit and follow Ottawa Public Health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.
 

Special Holiday Service:

December 21-24: Reduced Weekday schedule
December 25: Sunday Schedule
December 26: Saturday schedule with extra service on busy routes
December 28: Saturday schedule
December 29-30: Reduced weekday schedule
December 31: Reduced weekday schedule with no-charge service after 8 pm
January 1: Sunday schedule
 
Shopper routes will operate on a normal schedule throughout the holiday period, including Route 301 on December 28 and 304 on New Year’s Eve. However, Route 305 will not operate on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Visit octranspo.com for information on hours of operation, frequency adjustments and schedules for bus routes, O-Train Line 1 and Line 2 buses during the holidays. Customers can get real-time schedule information, 24 hours a day, by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus their four-digit bus stop number or first three letters of the station name.
 
Para Transpo holiday bookings
Para Transpo will operate a holiday service on Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Days. Regular scheduled trips are automatically cancelled, but customers may book trips for these days by calling 613-244‑7272 up to seven days prior to the holiday. Customers are reminded to suspend their regular booking if they will be on vacation during the holiday season.

Experience Your
Winter Capital

In Canada’s Capital, we don’t just endure winter — we embrace it! Blanketed with a fresh layer of snow, Ottawa–Gatineau’s vast network of parks and trails becomes a winter wonderland.

That we need to be able to take part in safe and healthy outdoor activities is especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of a pilot project, the NCC is adding close to 50 percent more accessible winter trail space to the Ottawa area. Public health directives and measures established by local authorities apply at all times.

Our new interactive map will help you find activities and explore the region’s top nature destinations. With over 450 km of trails for skiing, snowshoeing, snow biking, walking and hiking, hills for tobogganing and fire pits to warm up by, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in our “Winter Capital”!

Bundle up, head outdoors, and don’t forget to enter our #WinterCapital challenge!

Use our #WinterCapital interactive map to find suggested routes in the Capital. Pick an activity, and narrow the results using the duration and level of difficulty filters. 

Your perfect outing is just a few clicks away!

Goodbye to late fees as of January 1, 2021

We are happy to announce that we will be eliminating late fees as part of our new Materials Recovery Model on January 1, 2021. Other existing fees, including replacement fees for lost or damaged items, will still apply.

Our aim is to remove barriers for customers and increase access to the Library. Eliminating late fees should result in more OPL cardholders, better access to Library resources, more circulation, and greater recovery of Library materials. Research shows that late fees are not the best way to encourage timely returns of Library material, and we want to make sure that late fees do not discourage people from accessing Library services. We look forward to welcoming new and returning customers to the Library as a result of this change.

CURRENT FEES (as of January 1, 2021)

The following existing fees will still apply:

  • $1 restocking fee for holds that are not picked up or cancelled on time
  • Replacement fee for lost or damaged items
  • Replacement fee for a lost library card  
  • Interlibrary loan fees when applicable
  • $15 referral fees for collection agency accounts 
  • SmartLibrary fees for monies accrued at SmartLibrary partner institutions
  • Non-resident fees  
  • Photocopying and printing fees

No new fees have been introduced. However, accounts with $25 in fees will be suspended until the fees are paid or until lost items are returned. Accounts with outstanding fees over $50 for more than 90 days will be referred to a collection agency.

REPLACEMENT FEES

Items are considered lost:

  • 21 days after the due date (regular collection items)
  • 7 days after the due date (Express items)

Once an item is considered lost, a replacement fee equal to the cost of the item will be charged. If the lost item is returned, the replacement fee will be cancelled.

RENEWING ITEMS

Items that previously had no renewal limits will now have a limit of five renewals. Other renewal limits remain unchanged. Please note that an item can only be renewed if there are no holds on the item.

OPL looks forward to a happy new year in 2021 with these changes to make the Library more accessible to everyone.

For more details on the end of late fees, and the focus on materials recovery, you can read our Frequently Asked Questions.

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