Ontario reports 491 new cases of COVID-19, highest daily increase since early May


Ontario reported that the province had 491 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest number since May 2.

Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and York Region led the daily case count, according to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Elliott said in a tweet that there are 137 new cases in Toronto, 131 in Peel Region, 58 in Ottawa and 58 in York Region.

A full 63 per cent of cases are among people under the age of 40.

The province processed more than 42,500 tests on Saturday.

As of Sunday at 10:30 a.m., a total of 2,839 people in Ontario had died of COVID-19, according to provincial figures.

A total of 112 are hospitalized, a number that is on the rise. On Saturday, the province reported that there were 100 people in hospital. 

Of the people in hospital, the province says 28 are in intensive care units and 16 of them are on ventilators. The number of people on ventilators has increased by one since Saturday.

Ontario has a cumulative total of 49,831 cases, of which 42,796 are marked as resolved. 

Rise in new cases ‘of great concern,’ province says

Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford, said the provincial government is concerned about the increase in the daily case count.

“The rise in cases continues to be of great concern. That is why our government took action to tighten public health measures on private social gatherings as well as restaurants and bars. It’s important to note that the results of these actions will not be seen immediately,” Yelich said on Sunday.

“It is, however, critical that Ontarians continue to do their part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 by following the rules that are in place,” she added.

“We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and act on the public health advice of the Chief Medical Office of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table.”

The tightening of public health measures to slow the spread of the virus took effect in the last 10 days in Ontario.

Ontario’s bars and restaurants, for example, can no longer serve alcohol after 11 p.m. as of this weekend. Strip clubs have also been closed.

As well, private social gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. That limit was imposed on Sept. 19.

In a separate statement, the Ontario health ministry said it is keeping a close eye on the number of hospitalizations and is continuing to build capacity in the health care system.

“We are in the process of rolling out our comprehensive fall preparedness plan, which includes public health measures to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19,” the health ministry said.

A closed sign is visible in the window of MARBL restaurant in downtown Toronto. Toronto Public Health has ordered three King Street West restaurant, including this one, to close as it seeks to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

Toronto Public Health closes 3 restaurants

In Toronto, where 1,178 have died of the virus as of Friday, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has temporarily closed three downtown restaurants to protect the public from COVID-19.

MARBL, King Taps and Casa Mezcal received orders on Friday night to close. A fourth is being served with an order.

TPH is notifying staff and patrons of two other establishments, Yonge Street Warehouse and Regulars Bar, this weekend that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Seven cases are linked to Yonge Street Warehouse, while three cases are linked to Regulars Bar.

Individual protective measures matter, health officer says

On Sunday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement that, as of Friday, an average of 1,175 cases were being reported daily across Canada over a seven-day period.

She said labs across Canada continue to test at a high rate, with an average of nearly 70,000 people tested daily last week and 1.4 per cent of these testing positive.

“As we head into another week, we need to be vigilant about rising cases and increasing hospitalizations, particularly in areas where cases are increasing most rapidly,” Tam said.

“Surges in cases, leading to increases in hospitalizations can quickly overwhelm public health and healthcare system resources in localized areas, while increasing the likelihood of spread to more areas.”

People wait in a line for COVID-19 testing in Toronto. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said abs across Canada continue to test at a high rate, with an average of nearly 70,000 people tested daily last week. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Tam said every protective measure that Canadians can take matters to lower the overall rate of infection in communities because every person that people encounter brings a “whole network of contacts history with them.”

Reducing the number, duration and closeness of encounters makes a difference, she added.

“The quickest and safest way for Canada to get back on the slow burn is for us all to for us to take every measure during every moment of our day, and always act in a way that can prevent the spread of illness to others,” Tam said.

That means keeping a two metre distance from others outside of individual bubbles, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask where appropriate, limiting the amount of time and number of people in close contact, choosing lower risk settings or situations where public health measures are in place whenever possible.


Still have questions about COVID-19? These CBC News stories will help.

Is another lockdown coming in Ontario? What do we know about the Ford government’s fall plan?

CBC Queen’s Park reporter Mike Crawley obtained a draft copy of the plan

What’s the latest on where I should get tested?

It’s confusing, but here’s an explainer complete with a flow chart

What’s the most recent guidance on mask use?

Reporter Lauren Pelley took a look at what the experts are advising

What should I do about my COVID bubble?

With cases going up, even small gatherings are getting riskier

Who is getting COVID-19?

CBC News crunched the data from across Canada to get the clearest picture possible

 

 

 





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CMHC, worried about excessive household debt, wanted tighter mortgage rules for competitors


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Siddall declined to elaborate on his conversations with government officials about an industry-wide tightening that also would have included CMHC competitors Genworth MI Canada Inc. and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co. Discussions between the CEO of CMHC and the minister of finance must be kept confidential, he said.

“I’m not saying whether I had that conversation with the minister,” Siddall said. “I had it with some colleagues in the department of finance.”

For the same legal and governance reasons, Siddall also declined to say whether he has since reached out to Bill Morneau’s successor as finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, who took over the job last month.

We didn’t want to participate in lending or insuring lending that we thought was an inappropriate drag on the economy

Evan Siddall, CMHC CEO

“Certainly, hypothetically, the Department of Finance could look at (broadening the policy),” he said, adding he is certain the government is tracking the impact on the market of the changes made by CMHC.

“If there’s significant problems — and I should say we have not seen that — then they could act in the future,” he said.

Freeland’s office referred questions to the Department of Finance, which did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Siddall said there has been reduced activity at CMHC since July, but not as steep as anticipated.

“When economic conditions get sketchy, as they are now, people tend to self-regulate and weaker borrowers may be less likely to present themselves in 2020 than they were in 2019,” he said.

“The impact on us — we expected to be 20 or 30 per cent — and it hasn’t been quite that bad. But it’s still early.”



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Large sinkhole opens up moments before vehicle drives by – Edmonton


A large sinkhole on 99 Street around 61 Avenue opened up Saturday afternoon moments before a vehicle drove past in the adjacent lane.

In security video sent to Global Edmonton from the store World of Spas, viewers can see that workers have two lanes of traffic blocked off in front of the store. At 2:30 p.m. the video shows a white SUV driving by in the adjacent lane moments before the road opens up.

The sinkhole appears to be the size of one lane of traffic.

Jeff Whelan, the general manager of World of Spas, said an employee called EPCOR around 10 a.m. when they noticed water was overflowing from the storm drain out front of the store.

World of Spas was in the middle of its preorder sale event, with promotions happening out front of the store, when the sinkhole opened. Whelan said the store will be open on Sunday.

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Traffic was closed on 99 Street, between 61 and 62 Avenue, in both directions Saturday. EPCOR said crews were fixing a water main break.








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Some scientists taking ‘DIY inoculations’ instead of waiting for COVID-19 vaccine


TORONTO —
Nearly 200 COVID-19 vaccines are in development, and more than 60 of those are at various stages of human testing.

But for some, a vaccine isn’t coming soon enough, so they have taken to making their own and giving them to others – despite criticism that this could be dangerous for recipients and set back the entire vaccination movement.

Known as the “citizen science” vaccine initiative, some independent scientists, technologists and science enthusiasts are designing “do-it-yourself inoculations” against COVID-19. They say it is their only chance to become immune without waiting a year or more for a vaccine to be formally approved.

Preston Estep, an American biologist and co-founder of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative (RaDVaC) in Boston, has created his own inhaled vaccine and is currently testing it on himself.

“I was guinea pig number 1,” Estep said in an interview with CTV News.

While COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, it will still take months and possibly years before those inoculations are widely administered to the public.

“We didn’t have the time to wait for that, so we employed a longstanding tradition in vaccines and in medicine more generally, of self-experimentation to try to accelerate that process,” Estep explained.

However, Estep and his colleagues are not the only ones designing DIY vaccines. Other scientists are also using this unconventional approach to find an immunization against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

For Estep’s vaccine, he and other researchers with RaDVaC used common ingredients and fragments of the coronavirus protein to produce a liquid they think will boost the immune system’s ability to recognize the virus.

“The vaccine consists of just a few very simple ingredients. It can be easily made, we make it in a private lab but we could make it at home,” Estep said.

“It could be made in a physician’s office very easily,” he added.

He explained that the vaccine consists of just five ingredients, two of which are water and sodium chloride. He said the other ingredients are “relatively accessible and extremely well-tested” while minimal equipment is required.

RaDVaC has shared the formula for the vaccine online, but no one knows yet if it works.

“Whether or not it provides protective immunity is an open question, but that’s an open question for every vaccine,” Estep said.

He said their vaccine poses minimal risk and has not shown any adverse reactions in those who have taken it.

“We’ve had a couple of people experience mild headaches, out of the well over 100 doses that I’ve recorded in the dosage log, so it’s pretty mild relative to the other commercial vaccines that are in production and in clinical trials,” Estep said.

While RaDVaC consists of scientists and engineers that Estep says have a “level of competence” to judge the safety of the vaccine, other experts are warning that this kind of self-experimentation can be dangerous.

“The biggest concern is that information about how to develop this vaccine in untrained hands really could lead to serious health harms,” University of Illinois law professor Jacob Sherkow said in an interview with CTV News.

Sherkow said there is also concern that the DIY vaccine trend may spread beyond COVID-19.

“As people learn about the do-it-yourself vaccine movement for COVID specifically, there’s going to be hesitancy to take a vaccine that otherwise is commercially developed, either because of anti-government or anti-regulatory leanings,” Sherkow explained.

Additionally, Sherkow said DIY vaccines may give ammunition to anti-vaccination conspiracy theories that are “just starting to currently bubble over in the COVID context.”

While it is impossible to stop someone from experimenting on themselves, critics say government regulators should step in and monitor this homemade vaccine trend.

“Vaccines, before they’re approved, need to undergo clinical trials to ensure that they’re both safe and effective,” Sherkow said.

CTV is publishing this story about do-it-yourself inoculations’ against COVID-19 because news about the development of a vaccine is very much in the public interest. However, CTV strongly discourages people from engaging in the highly dangerous action of taking do-it-yourself inoculations.



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Parliamentary police service boosts Hill presence after string of harassment incidents


The police service tasked with overseeing Parliament Hill says it has expanded its security presence in the area following several harassment incidents targeting politicians and members of the media.

“As a result of recent incidents whereby parliamentarians and members of the press were harassed, the Service has increased its presence and visibility around the precinct,” the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS) said in a statement Saturday.

“The parliamentary community should rest assured that in addition to our increased posture and surveillance, we are ready to respond to their calls for support or help at any time.”

The PPS told CBC News that for security reasons, it could not provide further details on the additional measures it would be taking. 

A video was posted on social media Friday showing a man following the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh as the leader walked down Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill. The man can be heard asking Singh if he would like to be arrested.

A spokesperson for the NDP said the party would not be commenting on the incident. 

At what point will he cross that line? At what point will he go beyond what is acceptable in polite company?”​​​​​​– Hull-Aylmer MP Greg Fergus

The day before, the same individual was captured harassing Radio-Canada reporter Daniel Thibeault — and attempting to make a citizen’s arrest —  in the mistaken belief that Thibeault was a Member of Parliament.

While the PPS said it was ready to respond to calls for support, the service is only responsible for incidents occurring within the Parliamentary precinct. The Ottawa Police Service covers other areas outside that jurisdiction.

According to a statement from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s office, the matter will be raised at a meeting of the city’s Police Services board on Monday. The statement said Watson was “deeply concerned” about the confrontations.

Wernick: Canadians would be shocked at level of political violence

In July, former clerk of the privy council Michael Wernick said Canadians would be shocked to learn how often politicians encounter abuse and violent threats while they are in office.

“It’s a very hostile environment to go into public life and we pay a price for that,” Wernick told CBC Radio’s The House.  “It’s a slide towards a degree of violence in our politics which I think we should resist.”

In early 2019, Wernick told the House of Commons justice committee that he had serious concerns about the rising tide of political violence in Canada. 

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now and its politics and where it’s headed,” he said.

The former clerk of the Privy Council talks about the current threat of political violence in Canada. 11:54

In response to this week’s incidents, Hull–Aylmer MP Greg Fergus said they could hamper a politician’s ability to form relationships with their constituents.

“I don’t think we want to get to the point where MPs would have a security guard with them,” Fergus told Radio-Canada. “That would impede our ability to really be close to people.”

More worrisome, Fergus said, is the possibility of the incidents increasing in severity.

“At what point will he cross that line? At what point will he go beyond what is acceptable in polite company?”



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Sunday Scrum: Liberal government’s pandemic spending plans


CBC News Network’s Sunday Scrum panel is your destination for frank discussion and analysis of the week’s big political stories.

This week, we talk to our panellists about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vision for Canada’s economy ahead of his speech from the throne later this month as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

The panellists also discuss an increase in drug-related overdoses in Canada, which is leading to calls from police, politicians and public health authorities to decriminalize illegal drugs. 

Also on the program: Trudeau’s defense of Governor General Julie Payette, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s reconciliation plan and the ongoing issue of Indigenous land claims in Canada.

WATCH | The Trudeau government’s pandemic spending plans:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lay out a vision for a major overhaul of the Canadian economy when he delivers the Speech from the Throne on Sept. 23. The Liberals have signalled that their plan will involve even more deficit spending in order to respond to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. 9:18

WATCH | Opioid crisis prompts calls for decriminalization of drugs:

An increase in drug-related overdoses in Canada is leading to calls from police, politicians and public health authorities for the decriminilization of illegal drugs. 5:20

WATCH | Trudeau defends Payette:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Julie Payette an “excellent” Governor General this week and said he has no intention of asking the Queen to replace her in the wake of CBC reports alleging harassment and a toxic workplace environment at Rideau Hall. 5:57

WATCH | O’Toole promises ‘serious approach’ to reconciliation:

New Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he wants to chart a new path in the Crown’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, with a focus on Indigenous economic potential. 8:05

WATCH | Indigenous land claims 25 years after the death of Dudley George:

Our political panel discusses the ongoing issue of Indigenous land claims in Canada, including the pipeline and railway protests in support of the Wetʼsuwetʼen First Nation earlier this year. 8:04



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Alberta community’s concerns about wind farm echo familiar challenges of Canada’s energy transition


Chris Blumhagen was working on his organic farm in central Alberta when Capital Power called to sell him on the idea of putting a wind turbine on his land.

Blumhagen says the representative from the company pushed hard, telling him his neighbours were already on board with a plan to build 74 turbines in the 100 square kilometre area and that if he didn’t sign on, he would miss out.

So Blumhagen signed in exchange for $10 and a promise of more to come once the turbines started spinning, only to later learn that many of his neighbours hadn’t done the same.

“They essentially tricked me,” he said.

That was 2015. Since then, Blumhagen and his neighbours have banded together to oppose the project, alleging dishonest tactics by the company in promoting the project to residents and risks to their health, land and livelihoods if it goes forward.

Edmonton-based Capital Power, which operates coal, natural gas and wind power facilities in Alberta, and Alberta’s utilities commission say all the residents’ concerns have been addressed.

This is the view from the rural front lines of Canada’s energy transition — a move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy that a majority of Albertans say they support but that few in the country’s cities will have to deal with head-on.

Not opposed to wind power

That will be left to people like Blumhagen and his neighbours, who live on a sliver of Alberta prairie about 200 kilometres outside of Edmonton, wedged between the Battle River Valley to the north and the Paintearth Coulee to the south.

Locals call it “the island,” and a handful of families have lived here for more than a century, farming and ranching together.

Chris Blumhagen was approached by Capital Power about placing a wind turbine on his land and says the company misled him about local support for the project. (Erin Collins/CBC)

Along with agriculture, power generation has long been a part of daily life in Paintearth County. The area saw first the dawn of the coal industry and then the rise of the oil and gas industries in Alberta. Oil wells still draw black gold from the earth here, and a coal mine and power plant still operates in the area.

Blumhagen says that experience is why most residents aren’t against the idea of wind power or other forms of renewable energy.

“Wind has its place,” he said.

But Blumhagen says Capital Power, which already operates one wind farm in the area, near the village of Halkirk, has not taken the time to listen to the concerns of residents.

Residents like Gerard Fetaz, whose family has lived here since 1904. Fetaz’s concerns about the project are easy to see. He has a small runway on his property that he uses to fly his vintage 1957 Cessna. He used to make some money crop dusting in the area, though these days he flies just for the love of it.

But that passion may be grounded for good if Capital Power’s wind farm is built. The plans would see a turbine just 650 metres from his landing strip, despite recommendations from Transport Canada that turbines should be at least four kilometres from a runway.

Gerard Fetaz worries that a wind farm close to his home in Paintearth County will mean he can no longer fly his plane. (Erin Collins/CBC)

“It’s not safe,” said Fetaz. “Somebody runs into a turbine, or gets caught in the turbulence or something — you could hit somebody’s house.”

He says he has tried to reach out to Capital Power about finding a different location for the turbine but says “they aren’t interested in talking about it at all.”

24 conditions placed on project

Capital Power didn’t agree to an interview with CBC News, but in a statement, the company denied that it ignored the concerns of residents and said it would act with “integrity, work to address stakeholder concerns and abide by all laws and regulations governing the project development process.”

But Fetaz and others in the area say the rush to embrace sustainable energy has meant that their concerns have been passed over. Since the project was given the green light in 2018, local residents have challenged its approval at several levels, including at the Alberta Court of Appeal and, most recently, at the county, but to no avail. 

The province is moving ahead with wind power, with Alberta Electric System Operator, which oversees Alberta’s electricity grid, predicting that the amount of wind power generated in Alberta will double over the next decade.

The Alberta Utilities Commission, the regulator that approved the Capital Power project, says it is in the public interest. 

The AUC’s Jim Law says every effort was made to accommodate the residents, including putting 24 conditions on the project’s approval, which the company must meet to complete it. 

Among them, a commitment to move the turbine near Fetaz’s runway by up to 50 metres and to make sure that any environmental impacts are mitigated.

Katrina Smith and her family play in their backyard in Paintearth County. Three wind turbines will be visible from their property if the planned wind farm is built. (Erin Collins/CBC)

“Those are in place to directly answer some of the concerns that the intervenors had about the project, and they range from airport considerations to wildlife and noise,” Law said.

Law said that, unlike with oil and gas developments, no one can be forced to have a wind turbine on their land in Alberta,

“There’s no forced entry. It’s a voluntary agreement,” he said.

Law says the system is set up to make sure the public interest is served and that the concerns of the land owners are respected and that it generally works.

‘Backlash’ in Ontario

That’s not how Katrina Smith sees it. Three turbines will be visible from Smith’s home, which sits just down the road from those of her parents and brothers. Smith likes the idea of renewable energy; her home is completely off-grid, powered by a solar array in her backyard.

But she has concerns about how a large wind farm will impact the sensitive wetlands near her home and the community she grew up in. She sees a push to meet the green energy needs of urban Canada on the backs of rural communities like hers.

“There has to be mutual respect. There has to be an appreciation for what is already there,” she said. “There has to be a goal for what we can maintain and sustain for the future.”

Dayna Scott says similar concerns about the location of turbines and their impact on residents and the environment were raised in rural Ontario more than a decade ago, when that province moved to embrace wind power. 

Scott, who holds a research chair in environmental law and justice at York University in Toronto, says that residents were not consulted adequately in Ontario and that ignoring local concerns caused “a huge amount of backlash in rural communities.”

Scott worries that repeating those mistakes in other parts of Canada could slow a shift toward green energy.

That situation may already be playing out back on “the island.” Local opposition and a sluggish economy mean the future of the wind farm is in limbo. Capital Power has yet to start construction on the project, which it has until December 2022 to finish.

That’s welcome news for many of the residents in the area if not for Canada’s shift to a lower-carbon future.



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Endangered species: Canadian small oil and gas companies under pressure to merge or die


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The same issue has not plagued the larger companies in the Canadian oilpatch, with Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Husky Energy Inc. tapping the debt market with little trouble this year, Chari said.

It’s the smaller producers that are feeling the heat from impatient bankers and financiers.

“In terms of returns for both equity and debt-holders from energy companies has been so poor for a number of years that the market doesn’t necessarily have the confidence that these companies will be good stewards of their capital,” Chari said.

It’s the smaller producers that are feeling the heat from impatient bankers and financiers

As creditors’ patience runs out, a handful of opportunistic acquirers, such as Waterous, are buying up assets at bargain basement valuations.

“Consolidation has never been more urgently needed than right now,” Waterous said in a recent interview, noting that small energy companies have been shut out of both debt and equity markets and without access to capital, they are “effectively orphaned businesses.”

“These orphaned businesses need to come together,” he said. “We’ve been very aggressive in doing this.”

Waterous, who divides his time between Banff and Calgary, has been advising energy firms on deals for decades, with his own advisory called Waterous & Co. beginning in 1991. In 2005 he sold the firm to Scotiabank to create Scotia Waterous. He left Scotia in 2017 to set up the private equity Waterous Energy Fund. And after years of watching investments in the Canadian energy sector decline, he says there are major opportunities for consolidation.



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Djokovic disqualification creates a rare opportunity for Canadian men at the U.S. Open


The door is wide open for Canadian tennis to make history. Again.

It has taken an unprecedented series of events, including a global pandemic and an act of pure stupidity by a tennis superstar, to create this scenario. But a year after 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian of either gender to win a tennis major by capturing the women’s singles title at the U.S. Open, Canada now has a golden opportunity to produce another winner in the men’s competition at the same tournament.

Suddenly, all three players who have dominated the sport for more than a decade are out of the running for this year’s U.S. Open men’s title. Defending champion Rafael Nadal didn’t make it to New York because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Roger Federer did not attend because of injury.

On Sunday, the world’s top player, Novak Djokovic, was disqualified from the competition in a shocking development after unintentionally, but recklessly, hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a ball in the middle of a match.

Until Sunday, Djokovic hadn’t lost a match in 2020. But now the brilliant Serb has destroyed his own chances of winning his 18th Grand Slam title. Canada, meanwhile, had three players qualify for the final 16, more than any other country. Dennis Shapovalov, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil all made it through to the fourth round.

Of the three, the player to watch in this dramatically altered competition may be 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime of Montreal. He steps directly into the white hot spotlight of the Big Apple on Monday when he takes on Dominic Thiem of Austria, the highest seeded player left in the competition.

The six-foot-four Auger-Aliassime has been touted as the most promising of all of the country’s top tennis prospects, and all that potential and power has been on display over the past week at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre. He has lost his serve just once, and thumped the great Andy Murray along the way.

Beating Thiem would easily be the biggest win of his career. Thiem, 27, has yet to win a Grand Slam title in his career, blocked time after time by Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.

The unseeded Pospisil, who has fought back from back surgery to deliver his best U.S. Open results at the age of 30, has a very winnable match on Monday to get to the quarterfinals against Australian Alex de Minaur, the 21st seed in the tournament. Pospisil, who has won a Grand Slam doubles title, stunned sixth-seeded Robert Bautista Agut on Saturday after coming back from a two sets-to-one deficit.

The 21-year-old Shapovalov, Canada’s top player, had a very tough match against seventh-seeded David Goffin of Belgium scheduled for centre court at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday night.

Djokovic’s disqualification was the latest incident in a bizarre season for tennis. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic. The season just resumed last month, and the U.S. Open is being played with no fans in the stands.

Along with the absence of Federer and Nadal, Andreescu is not back to defend her 2019 singles title because of injury. Players have struggled to adapt to the strict health measures in New York. Veteran Benoit Paire of France tested positive and was removed from the draw. Katerina Mladenovic, part of the top-seeded women’s doubles team, was booted from the tournament on the weekend after “prolonged close contact” with a person who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Still, Djokovic’s DQ stunned the tennis world. He had just lost a game in the first set against No. 20 seed Pablo Carreno Busta to fall behind 6-5 and was visibly irritated. He then blindly whacked the ball behind him as he walked off the court, hitting the unidentified lineswoman. She yelped in pain and fell to the court, grabbing her throat.

It was an utterly petulant act. The decision to default the Serb superstar, which cost him the $250,000 (U.S.) in prize money he had already won, was essentially automatic under the rules of tennis. Other players have occasionally suffered the same fate, including Shapovalov, who was disqualified from a 2017 Davis Cup match for firing a ball in frustration and hitting the chair umpire in the face.

Djokovic pleaded his case, then bolted the tournament site a half-hour after the match without speaking to the media. He later released an apology on his Instagram account.

“This whole situation has left me really sad and empty,” he wrote. “I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such distress. So unintended. So wrong.”

No male player other than Djokovic, Nadal or Federer has won a Grand Slam title since Stan Wawrinka won the U.S. Open in 2016. None of the men remaining in New York has won a major.

“There’s going to be a new Grand Slam champion,” said Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the fifth seed. “Now it gets interesting.”

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Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, a finalist last year, is now considered the favourite. But the disjointed nature of the tennis season means it’s unclear which players are really on form or are reacting most favourably to the unusual pandemic conditions.

The chance is legitimately there for Canada. Andreescu’s triumph last year electrified the country, particularly as it came against Serena Williams, arguably the best female ever to swing a racquet.

Circumstances, as much as performance, have created this opportunity for Canada’s men this year. Another Grand Slam singles title would truly be incredible for Canadian tennis as the most talented group of players in the country’s history matures.

Damien Cox is a former Star sports reporter who is a current freelance contributing columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @DamoSpin





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City of Kelowna ends swimming advisory for Rotary Beach – Okanagan


The City of Kelowna has ended a swimming advisory it issued Saturday for Rotary Beach.

On Saturday the city urged beach goers not to swim at that particular beach because of “elevated bacterial counts” in the water.

Read more:
Swimming advisory issued for Rotary Beach in Kelowna; elevated bacteria levels

By Sunday morning, the city said testing had determined the water was back within Canadian Recreational Water Quality guidelines and the advisory has been lifted.

The city’s other beaches were not experiencing water quality issues and weren’t impacted by the swimming advisory.






Lifesaving Society calls for more lifeguards at B.C. beaches


Lifesaving Society calls for more lifeguards at B.C. beaches

“Beach water quality can fluctuate due to a number of factors including lake currents, runoff and the outflow of creeks, changing environmental factors and waterfowl and animal waste; it is typically poorer in the summer when the warm weather escalates bacterial growth and swimmers stir up the lake bottom,” the city said in a statement lifting the swimming advisory.

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The concern with the higher than normal bacterial level was that it could make swimmers sick if they drank the water

“Beach water quality can fluctuate due to a number of factors including lake currents, runoff and the outflow of creeks, changing environmental factors and waterfowl and animal waste; it is typically poorer in the summer when the warm weather escalates bacterial growth and swimmers stir up the lake bottom,” the city said.






Breweries for it, but IHA against booze on beach project in Penticton


Breweries for it, but IHA against booze on beach project in Penticton


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