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Canada  

Ottawa NYE bash frozen out

Mother Nature drowned out Canada Day on Parliament Hill and now has frozen out part of the plan for New Year's Eve.

Organizers were checking the forecast every hour Friday hoping to see some improvement but the polar vortex that has turned Ottawa into a living icicle shows no sign of lifting until at least January 2.

So they've cancelled plans for musical entertainment and DJs for the Canada 150 closing events, but will go ahead with fireworks and a laser show scheduled for midnight.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said while Canadians were able to manage all the snow that fell around last New Year's Eve to ring in Canada 150, this year the cold was proving to be too much.

"Of course it's a bit of a disappointment with this extreme cold weather but we have to deal with it and making sure that Canadians are safe and everything is well taken care of in terms of public health we decided to modify the celebrations," Joly said in an interview.

In a statement Friday, her department asked people to "consider the extreme weather conditions and prepare accordingly to prevent frostbite and other injuries."

Earlier Friday, plans for the bash were in doubt altogether as the department's website briefly listed everything as being cancelled, but a final decision wasn't made until mid-morning.

Andrew Campbell, the senior executive director in charge of the Canada 150 secretariat, had said earlier Friday with the current forecast offering up temperatures close to -28 Celsius with 15 km/hour winds, there had been concern that the equipment needed for the fireworks and multimedia light show might not work.

Hip hop artist Kardinal Offishall was among the artists scheduled to perform on Parliament Hill Sunday night. News of the party's cancellation prompted him to post his displeasure.

"Noooooooooo!!!," read a message on his official Twitter account. "Damn you frigid temperatures!!!!"

The weather has already forced the cancellation of youth hockey games on the Parliament Hill Canada 150 skating rink, but Campbell said public skating continues.

Members of the public will be able to skate on the rink right up until midnight on New Year's Eve.



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