Some bright CBC Ottawa stories in yet another cloudy news year

These are images from four of the nine articles featured in a look back at some of the feel-good stories of 2021 for CBC Ottawa. (Posted by Maryam Sahar, Francis Ferland / CBC, Katherine Leyton / Twitter, Kim Cormier)

For the second year in a row, the pandemic has dominated the news cycle, and we end with a rather harsh tone.

Not everything was bad this year, and sometimes it’s all it takes to turn things around, to highlight the positive.

So sit back and enjoy these nine stories that show that 2021 had some bright spots.

1. Reunited and it feels so good

Former Canadian Interpreter Maryam Sahar will be reunited with her family on September 14, 2021, after 10 years of separation. (Posted by Maryam Sahar)

In a year filled with reunions after lockdowns and months, or years apart, this was at a different level.

Maryam Sahar, who served as an Afghan interpreter for U.S. and Canadian troops from the age of 15, was reunited with her family in Ottawa after being separated for a decade.

She made the original trip to Canada alone, pursued by threats to her life and the lives of her family members. She had to wait 10 years before she saw her family again.

2. Lost and then found

Ontario toddler missing for 3 days found alive

Ontario Provincial Police found a three-year-old boy alive in the woods north of Kingston, Ont., After walking away from his family’s fishing hut three days before. 1:46

When three-year-old Jude Leyton stepped out of his grandfather’s workshop in late March, he disappeared and set in motion a 75-hour search in eastern Ontario that made the country hold its breath.

Despite the length of time and temperatures dipping below freezing, police officers heading north of Kingston, Ont., Found the boy.

Yes in my backyard!

(Kim Cormier)

When Kim Cormier and David MacDonald met by chance last summer, it changed both their lives for the better.

MacDonald, who was experiencing homelessness, blew a tire on his e-scooter in front of Cormier’s house, asked her to take care of his belongings and ended up staying for dinner.

After the first meeting and after becoming better friends, Cormier invited MacDonald to live in her backyard in his three-season tent with plans to move into a small home.

4. Getting together, staying apart

Jane O’Regan poses with one of the snowmen that her Leslie Park neighborhood built together in January. (Francis Ferland / CBC)

The pandemic could not keep this close-knit Ottawa community from enjoying each other’s company, in fact some say it actually brought them closer together.

Leslie Park, a community in Nepean, has always been full of neighborly spirits, but the pandemic seems to have taken it to new heights.

From a physically distant birthday party for an elderly resident to a deluge of snowmen, this group knows how to stay involved.

5th Class connects with WWI soldier

How these Ottawa ESL students reveal the story of a black WW1 soldier

Students at Glebe Collegiate dive into the life of Harry Timothy Jones, a soldier in Canada’s only all-black World War I battalion. Students Khalid, Hilal and Hajira Abdi spoke with teacher Jessica McIntyre to CBC News about the project. 2:58

A class in English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa found connections to the past that they had not expected this year.

Some of the students, who had experienced war on their own, found that they could relate to some of what Harry Timothy Jones, a member of Canada’s only all-black battalion from World War I, had reviewed.

The class also tracked down and talked to a descendant of the veteran, his great-grandson.

6. To share the love of Valentine’s Day

Several residents of Ottawa’s retirement and long-term care homes pose with the Valentine’s Day cards they received from the Woodpark community. (Posted by Ashley Hughes)

A woman from Ottawa turned her hard year into something positive as she gathered her friends and online community to make Valnetine’s Day a special day for seniors in her area.

The Kortney Force collected and delivered hundreds of Valentines from students, personal support workers and other seniors to those living at Carlingview Manor, New Orchard Lodge and Bayfield Manor.

Force had recently lost her job and said at the time that the project resumed a spark for her.

7. Find your pride

This small town in Ontario hopes to be able to celebrate an official Pride week for the first time

Neil Kudrinko and Jessica Roberts have asked the city of Westport, Ont. to declare an official Pride Week in the hope that it will send an inclusive message to the city’s 700 residents. 1:54

The small community in Westport, Ont., Had a wave of support for a local Pride organization this spring.

Two residents of the village of 700 started a Facebook group for a Pride group and asked to have a Pride flag at City Hall.

The council agreed with Neil Kudrinko and Jessica Roberts, and for the first time, Westport flew the flag.

Computers for children

Ottawa man repairs old computers for children in need

Martin Lee says he used his pandemic downtime to repair technology for children’s virtual schooling, and urges others to do the same in their neighborhoods. 1:12

When Martin Lee lost his full-time job at a hotel and began collecting Canada’s emergency benefits, he did not know what to do.

However, his background in working with computers gave him an idea, and he began renovating laptops to give away to children who needed them for online learning.

By February, he had already fixed around 25 and was looking for more people to help get more computers in children’s hands.

9. The dog’s best friend

Frankie the golden doodle, on the left, and Hugo the Samoyed were reunited after Frankie disappeared and was found by his friend Hugo. (Posted by Liz Taggart)

When Frankie the golden doodle disappeared one recent morning, it seemed like the whole town was coming behind to track her down.

She crossed highways and was missing for 12 hours, but was eventually found by her best four-legged friend, Hugo, the soft white Samoyed.

For another pandemic year, this Christmas miracle was extra special.

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