The number of incoming visitors to Canada has been gradually increasing in the days since travel restrictions began easing for fully vaccinated, eligible travellers — and the country’s border agents are expecting more this weekend. The Canada Border Services Agency says incoming traffic last week increased about 25 per cent after quarantine rules were waived Monday for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others already allowed to cross the border. But despite the agency’s best efforts to publicize the requirements, roughly half of the people seeking the exemption had to be turned away, said Denis Vinette, vice-president of the agency’s travellers branch. Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible foreign nationals who have gone two weeks since a full course of one of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson — are exempt from quarantine. Travellers are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online portal to submit their vaccine information and the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before departure.
Travel & Leisure
London to New York may again be possible in under 4 hours after the US-based airline struck a deal for 15 ultrafast jets. Regular commercial supersonic flights have not been seen since 2003. United Airlines announced on Thursday that it was planning to buy 15 supersonic jets from Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic, reviving the kind of high-speed air travel not witnessed since the demise of Concorde almost two decades ago. “We’re the first US airline to sign an agreement for Boom’s Overture airliners,” United said on Twitter, adding the planes would be ready for take off in 2029.
A bridge to the future of Toronto’s revitalized waterfront has floated into view. Half of the new Commissioners Street bridge glided into Toronto Harbour’s shipping channel, south of Polson Pier, early Tuesday afternoon. The western half of the bridge, all 83 metres and 650 tonnes of steel, started its journey May 5 at a manufacturing plant in Dartmouth, N.S. It rode the St. Lawrence Seaway past Montreal, the Thousand Islands and into Lake Ontario. It will sit in the channel for a few days and then be hauled overland into place as an eventual connector between Villiers Island, being created along with a “renaturalized” Don River mouth, to the east downtown shoreline. The section will then wait for the eastern half, slated to float its way to Toronto this summer. When completed the Commissioners Street bridge will be 152 metres long, the biggest of four stylish bridges being built for the massive project. The first bridge, installed at Cherry Street, floated into the harbour with great fanfare last November, heralded by officials as a “future iconic landmark of the city’s skyline.”
The federal government will spend more than $12 billion on transit projects in Toronto and Hamilton. Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said Tuesday that $10.4 billion in funding will go toward four “shovel ready” transit projects in Toronto — the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Rapid Transit replacement, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Yonge-North subway extension. This funding will cover about 40 per cent of each project. However, none of these transit lines will be completed until at least 2029, said Ontario’s Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. The federal government will also help fund a light rail transit line in downtown Hamilton and buy zero-emission streetcars for the TTC, made at Thunder Bay’s Alstom automotive plant. More details about those projects will be announced in the near future. Prime Minister Trudeau said the “historic” agreement will reduce traffic congestion and pollution and create tens of thousands of jobs, as part of Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. “Rapid transit shortens commutes, which gives parents more time with their kids and ensures kids will inherit a cleaner future,” Trudeau said.
Former President Donald Trump is at the center of controversy as a new report details how he and members of his family benefited financially from his time in the White House. According to a new report published by The Scotsman, U.S. taxpayers were left to foot the bill for Trump and his family members’ trips to his foreign luxury golf resorts in Turnberry and Doonbeg. The publication reports that the invoices were obtained by the Washington, D.C.-based ethics watchdog organization American Oversight under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The report shows a number of invoices adding up to thousands of dollars for the former first family. One invoice, dated August 14, 2017, had a total cost of approximately $7,000 — equivalent to £5,400. Although it remains unclear who may have visited the resort at that particular time, Trump’s younger son Eric did travel there later that month. In addition to that invoice, there were other invoices from Trump’s resort totally approximately £5,310 and £6,680. According to the report, “US taxpayers were charged thousands of dollars for luxury-car rentals during Eric’s visit in July 2017.”
Premier Doug Ford is urging the federal government to roll out further restrictions at Canada’s borders. In a joint letter with Quebec premier Francois Legault addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ford cites concern for the growing number of cases attributed to variants coming into the country through international travel. Currently, the border between Canada and the U.S. is closed until at least May 21. It has been shut down since March 2020. The premiers are asking Trudeau to consider reducing incoming international flights and taking further protective action at land borders. This comes as a variant that appears to be wreaking havoc in India was detected in Quebec earlier this week. B.1.617 is considered a variant of interest. The rising number and percentage of COVID-19 cases that are identified as variants is a concern for us all. Collectively we have continued to take action to limit community spread and protect our citizens. We are concerned about the growing number of cases attributed to variants, which arrived in Canada through international travel. We are writing to you to request that the federal government take further measures to limit the spread of the virus.