Top five stories in Ottawa this week

An Ottawa hospital emergency room is closed overnight this weekend due to a staffing shortage, gas prices drop to the lowest levels in six months and a meteor streaks across the Ottawa sky.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories on our website this week.

A 29-year-old man is facing charges after Ottawa police say a vehicle rammed a gate on Parliament Hill.

The incident happened at around 3:30 am Wednesday.

Police say the driver drove an unauthorized vehicle into the front gates on Wellington Street, but was unable to go further because of the security infrastructure. Damage to the gate was minimal and a nearby officer arrested the driver without incident.

Count documents obtained by CTV News show Maxwell Pate, 29, of Ottawa is facing charges of dangerous driving and mischief to property.

Wellington Street remains closed to vehicle traffic between Bank and Elgin streets following the “Freedom Convoy” occupation in February. There have been ongoing discussions since February about whether to keep the section of Wellington Street in front of Parliament closed to vehicles permanently.

The front gate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa was surrounded by barriers with red “danger” tape Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 after an unauthorized vehicle attempted to get onto the hill early in the morning. Ottawa police say charges are pending. (CTV News)

No one was hurt when a tour bus hit a gate outside 24 Sussex Dr., the unoccupied official residence of the prime minister.

Photos showed the “Amphibus” had crashed through the front gate Wednesday morning.

The Amphibus tour drives along Sussex Drive, stopping at landmarks including the prime minister’s residence, according to operator Lady Dive Tours.

Owner Etienne Cameron told CTV News Ottawa a morning check is performed on the bus each day prior to any tours.

Damage is seen to the fence of 24 Sussex Dr. following a single-vehicle accident involving an amphibious Lady Dive Tour vehicle which crashed into the 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa, Ont. on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. (Spencer Colby/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Montfort Hospital is closing its emergency department overnight this weekend as it deals with an “unprecedented shortage” of nurses.

The only hospital in Ottawa’s east end says the ER will be closed Saturday and Sunday between 7:30 pm and 7:30 am, with the temporary closure remaining in effect until Monday at 7:30 am

“Staffing pressures, including in the ED, are being felt by hospitals across the country,” the Montfort Hospital said. “These pressures were strongly felt over the course of the past few weeks and due to the unprecedented shortage of nurses at Montfort currently, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily partially close our Emergency Department.”

The Emergency Department at the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital is also closed for 24 hours this weekend due to a shortage of nurses.

Hospitals across Ottawa and eastern Ontario have said they are dealing with staffing challenges this summer.

The Montfort Hospital sign is seen in this undated photo.

Ottawa motorists received some relief at the gas pumps this weekend, as prices dropped to the lowest levels in six months.

Gas prices dropped 20 cents a liter over a three-day period to 159.9 cents a liter in Ottawa on Saturday.

Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague said the prices at the pumps on Saturday were similar to what motorists paid back in February.

“These are very welcome prices, but the problem with all this is…don’t take it for granted and don’t expect it to last, because the markets I think are overestimating the amount of demand drop we’ve seen in the United States and underestimating the severest supply shortage that we’re having,” McTeague said.

Gas prices have been on the decline since mid-June amid a drop in demand and rising fears about a recession. The Ontario government cut the gas tax rate on July 1 from 14.7 cents per liter to 9 cents per liter.

McTeague warns that gas prices will increase seven cents a liter on Sunday in Ottawa to $1.66 a liter.

Gas prices were sitting at $1.65 or $1.66 a liter at several Ottawa stations on Friday (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

A bright object spotted streaking across the sky on a sunny, bright morning in Ottawa was a meteor.

Terry Cai sent CTV News Ottawa dash cam video showing an object traveling across the sky at 10:06 am Sunday morning. Cai was driving along Moodie Drive near Hunt Club Road when the dash cam captured the object.

A Bell Media employee reported seeing a meteor at approximately the same time, saying it looked like a “falling star, but it had a red/orange/yellow tail.” One person on Twitter reported seeing a small meteor while they were looking northwest towards Gatineau.

Astrophysicist and assistant professor at York University Jesse Rogerson told CTV News Ottawa the meteor is called a “bolide”, because it is very bright.

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