Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After devastation, some return home

The first group of emotionally drained residents returned to see what's left of their homes after the devastating wildfires in Alberta.

But many people who lost their homes to the fires might never return to Fort McMurray after 2,400 houses and businesses were destroyed — about 10 percent of the city.

Last month's wildfires abruptly changed direction and made a direct hit on the city in the heart of Alberta's oil-producing region.

Authorities are planning the return to the city in stages as more than 80,000 people had to flee when the flames and smoke approached.

The return started last Wednesday for people who lived in areas that were mostly spared by the fires.

"These are the points of light in the midst of some very, very hard days," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.

She welcomed home the first group returning and thanked the crews who worked to get the city running again.

The Canadian Red Cross has begun allocating the $125 million raised so far to assist with the recovery efforts — money that is to be matched by the federal government and partially by Alberta.

Government asked to reduce housing risks

Concern over a possible housing market "correction" has prompted the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to seek government intervention.

The agency said the Canadian government should move to reduce risks associated with soaring house prices and household debt levels in Toronto and Vancouver.

Any major market swings could threaten the country's financial stability, it said.

Together, the two cities comprise one-third of Canada's housing market, and the government has acted so far to increase the minimum down payment for homes costing more than $500,000.

House prices climbed more than 25 percent over last year in Greater Vancouver with many Chinese investors in the market and about 12 percent in Greater Toronto.

In both cities, the average price for a detached house has risen to more than $1 million.

News in brief

• The patriotic move by many Canadians to buy French's ketchup instead of Heinz after it pulled out of Leamington, Ontario, for a U.S. plant is expanding. Along with using Canadian tomatoes and mustard seeds, French's announced plans to move ketchup production to Toronto next year. French's is in partnership with Leamington's Highbury Canco, which produces tomato paste for its ketchup and had taken over the century-old Heinz plant.

• Recent deaths include Cindy Nicholas, a marathon swimmer who swam across Lake Ontario and twice across the English Channel in the 1970s and 1980s. Once known as Queen of the Channel, the lawyer and former Ontario politician died in Toronto from liver failure at age 58.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar has advanced to 77.21 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.295 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.

Markets are higher, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 14,152 points and the TSX Venture index 687 points.

The average price for gas nationally has risen to $1.091 a liter or $4.14 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.

Lotto 6/49: (June 1) 2, 10, 14, 23, 26 and 31; bonus 12. (May 28) 18, 29, 31, 36, 43 and 47; bonus 23. Lotto Max: (May 27) 1, 14, 16, 20, 26, 32 and 34; bonus 18.

Regional briefs

• In the city that was long ago nicknamed "Toronto the Good," a massive police raid has rounded up members of a downtown street gang allegedly linked to several murders and firearms trafficking. Inspector Bryan Bott said 53 people have been arrested since January, including 32 in Thursday's raids, that involved more than 600 police officers at 43 locations.

• Environmentalists and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce are calling on the provincial government to give greater protection to its old-growth forests. There are concerns as logging activity is increasing, including west of Victoria where forests with 1,000-year-old trees are being cut down daily, said forest ecologist Andy MacKinnon. It's "open season" on the old trees outside of parks and protected areas, he said.

Contact Jim Fox at canadareport@hotmail.com.

After devastation, some return home 06/03/16 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2016 6:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute

    Drought

    When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.

    During one of the worst droughts in the Tampa Bay region's history, hundreds of houses used more than a gallon of water a minute. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

  2. PolitiFact Florida checks out Rick Baker's talking point about the growth of St. Petersburg's A-rated schools

    Elections

    Rick Baker has used mailers, forums and social media to relay one big message in his campaign for St. Petersburg mayor: Schools in St. Petersburg saw drastic improvements when he was mayor from 2001 to 2010.

    Rick Baker, candidate for St. Petersburg mayor
  3. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly talks family, songwriting and more before Tampa show

    Music & Concerts

    A while back at the Grammys, Charles Kelley found himself in the same room as Paul McCartney. The Lady Antebellum singer, a seven-time Grammy winner in his own right, couldn't work up the courage to say hello.

    Lady Antebellum perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
  4. Clearwater suspect due in court after 9 die in sweltering San Antonio truck

    Nation

    SAN ANTONIO — Nine people are dead and the death toll could rise after emergency crews pulled dozens of people from a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what officials said was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, Sunday, July 23, 2017, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  5. Email warning ignored before St. Pete started spewing sewage

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — A draft report lays blame for the city's sewage crisis squarely on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman and a cascading series of errors that started with the now infamous shuttering of the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility in 2015.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. St. Petersburg dumped up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months from 2015-16. A new state report blames much of the crisis on mistakes made by the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman, but also critcizes past administrations. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]