Top 5 stories in Ottawa this week


Published Sept. 2, 2023 2:55 p.m. ET

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A climate activist defaces Canadian artwork, an Ottawa couple wins big, and people are scamming local Swifties. looks at the top 5 stories on our website this week.

A climate activist caused a stir Tuesday when he entered the National Gallery of Canada and smeared pink paint over a Tom Thomson painting on display.

The painting, titled “Northern River”, was protected by glass and was undamaged, the National Gallery confirmed.

The protester was part of a group called On2Ottawa, which has been causing traffic disruptions in the city in the past month as they call on the federal government to create a national firefighting agency.

The protester at the National Gallery was arrested and charged with mischief.

Two people from Ottawa are the city’s newest millionaires after winning a $55-million Lotto Max prize.

Keith and Debra Polachek, who are both retired, say they have not made any major plans with their winnings yet.

“Our reaction was laid back, but we were very happy. We realized we had a lot of preparation to do,” Debra said as the couple picked up their prize from OLG.

While they continue to plan how best to make use of the winnings, the Polacheks said they did get some new toys and treats for their dogs.

Ottawa police are warning Swifties to be careful while buying tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert, after residents lost more than $12,000 in three days this week in online ticket scams.

Swift’s incredibly popular Eras Tour is coming to Toronto next year and it’s her only announced Canadian stop. Tickets went on sale last month.

But police say the incredibly high demand for the tickets means a fertile ground for fraudsters.

“Because the concerts are all sold out, people in Ottawa and the rest of the country are dire to get the tickets so they’re searching Facebook Marketplace believing it’s safe, finding profiles who are selling tickets and the bulk of them are fake profiles that they’ve hacked,” Ottawa police Det. Shaun Wahbeh tells CTV News Ottawa.

“They’re getting you to send an e-transfer, upwards of $2,000 for four tickets, and then the tickets never come to you. You’ve already sent the money away, most of the time the money doesn’t even stay in Canada.”

Police recommend making sure you know whom you’re buying from and to meet in person to verify what they have.

An Ottawa man pleaded guilty for causing an explosion that destroyed several homes, caused more than $5 million in damage and injured 12 people in an Orléans subdivision last winter.

Kody Troy Crosby, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to charges of breaking and entering a dwelling under construction and intentionally causing damage by explosion. The judge sentenced Crosby to five years in prison.

According to the agreed statement of facts in the case, Crosby intended to steal water heaters from new homes under construction. The court heard that when the two water heaters were stolen, the natural gas lines were left open and gas started filling the townhomes.

When two sets of contractors arrived at work on Monday, Feb. 13, the natural gas ignited and caused the explosion.

The explosion levelled homes in the Avalon Vista neighbourhood and spread debris over a wide area. Miraculously, no one was killed.

The streets of downtown Ottawa were filled with rainbow colours, songs and celebrations on a sunny Sunday afternoon, for the annual Capital Pride Parade.

Approximately 10,000 people marched in the parade along Elgin Street, Gladstone Avenue and Kent Street, with thousands more lining the parade route for the signature event of the 2023 Capital Pride festival.

Participants and spectators said it was important to attend the Capital Pride Parade this year to show solidarity in the face of the rise of anti-trans hate across Canada.

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