The 2021 Unicode Delay and coloured shape sequences for Emoji 13.1

Emojipedia reports

The Unicode Consortium is delaying Unicode 14.0 by six months due to COVID-19.  This means that emojis that would have arrived on phones in 2021 will instead roll out in 2022.


Alternatively, Unicode has suggested a Emoji 13.1 release which could fill the gap in 2021. This wouldn’t be able to include new Unicode characters (which need a full Unicode release), but could include sequences.

What is a sequence?  A sequence is a way of creating new emojis by combining existing ones (combining existing code points), rather than creating a new code point.

For example, Polar Bear, planned for 2020, is not a new code point, it is

a ZWJ sequence combining 🐻 Bear, Zero Width Joiner and Snowflake


An obvious use for sequences would be to fix the weird codepoint allocation that has gone to making coloured hearts, circles and squares, and some coloured “diamonds”, but no other coloured shapes.

  • heart: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • circle: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • square: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • diamond: small orange, small blue, large orange, large blue (the diamond is really more of a rotated square)

That’s 27 codepoints just to make colours for three different shapes, and another four codepoints to make colours and sizes for another shape.  (I don’t know why there are orange and blue diamonds; I assume they have some cultural meaning.)

It actually is even more complicated than that, because there are multiple codepoints for black and white squares, and it’s not clear whether black and white mean, well, black and white, or more likely mean filled and unfilled, which was the earlier meaning for black and white in pre-emoji Unicode.

  • black small square, black medium-small square, black medium square, black large square
  • white small square, white medium-small square, white medium square, white large square

There are also separate playing card shapes:

So a very simple proposal would be to make more colours by using sequences.  Just pick one of the coloured shapes to use as an additional indicator of colour.  Probably the circles, because the squares are complicated.

e.g. make a small yellow diamond with small orange diamond + zero width joiner + yellow circle

What I would really like them to do is make an actual diamond-shaped black diamond, with diamond suit + zero-width joiner + black circle

This would create the black diamond I recommend as the liquorice emoji.


NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013

NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013

Since everything that goes around comes around, having eliminated all of the interprovincial rail, the NCC circa 2009-2013 tried to conjure up some ideas about bringing it back, as a light rail loop.

There was no money and no plan so the whole thing is moot. This is a historical document only.

In usual NCC fashion, almost all of the documentation has vanished from the web, including the website

www interprovincial-transit-strategy ca

and the archive website

archives ncc-ccn ca/planning/transportation-strategies/interprovincial-transit-strategy

In fact the only thing remaining on the web is the summary hosted by Quebec’s STO – Connecting Communities: An Interprovincial Transit Strategy (PDF).

Some other sites have preserved the report: Action Sandy Hill has the full report in a Google Doc, and City Centre Coalition has all of the annexes/detailed reports as Google Docs.

I saved the presentation deck, and here is the key slide with their imaginary LRT loop.

NCC Interprovincial Transit - Infrastructure

That diagram is pretty small, basically the idea was that Bayview Station would be the hub with connections across Prince of Wales Bridge, and that rail would also come across the Alexandra Bridge, making a loop.

Here is a a clearer version, from page 52 of Interprovincial Transit Strategy for Canada’s Capital Region: Connecting Communities (January 2013).  From the Action Sandy Hill copy.  I have also put a copy in the Internet Archive.

Figure 12 NCC Recommended Long Term Rapid Transit Infrastructure post-2031

This post adapted from the NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013 section of my post Ottawa – Gatineau interprovincial rail.

What is actually being built instead

Ottawa Stage 1 LRT is complete.

Ottawa Stage 2 LRT is under construction, with a further Stage 3 proposed.

Gatineau has proposed a west-end rapid transit system including trams, crossing the Portage Bridge to connect with Ottawa LRT in the downtown core.

The future of the Prince of Wales Bridge

[photo of the Prince of Wales Bridge]

The Prince of Wales Bridge is currently closed.  Wikipedia tells me that it was built in 1880 and last used in 2001.

The disused line runs between Ottawa’s OC Transpo Bayview Station (the Line 1 – Line 2 interchange station), and Gatineau’s STO Rapibus terminus at Station Taché-UQO.

Google Maps Bayview Station to Station Taché-UQO
Above Imagery ©2019 Google

STO and OC Transpo

Although it was initially considered for a proposed rail transit connection to Ottawa from Gatineau, it has now been removed from consideration by STO in favour of the Portage Bridge.  The reasons cited for removing it from consideration included that OC Transpo’s Bayview Station wouldn’t have enough capacity, and that Portage delivers passengers more directly to the Ottawa Central Business District.

It does remain on Ottawa’s proposed Stage 3 rail transit map (look for the short purple line in the centre of the map below, connected to Bayview) but without any indication of how it would be used and how it would connect into the existing rail lines.

Stage 3 purple from Light-Rail-Transit-Project_Tech-Briefing_20190222_EN
from slide 109 of the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project: Technical Briefing – February 22, 2019 (PDF, Internet Archive) – Stage 3 extensions to Kanata, Barrhaven and across the Prince of Wales Bridge in purple

The only other faint possibility of it ever being used for rail is an STO speculation that it could be a “Potential future link for a west-south route” (following the completion of the proposed Gatineau west-end transit project).  Note that I have changed the colours in the map below to align with more common Ottawa usage.

STO - 15 May 2020 - Analysis of Current Crossings - slide 11 - colour adjust
From slide 11 in STO’s Complementary Study: Public Transit System in Gatineau’s West End – Technical Briefing to City of Ottawa May 15, 2020 (PDF) on STO webpage Update: Progress of the analysis of options for the integration in Ottawa.

So for any possible rail use of the Prince of Wales Bridge you’re into the 2030s timeframe, a decade or more from now.

Current Plans

The current plan is to adapt it for pedestrians and cycling, but there doesn’t seem to be any money allocated for that purpose.

Joanne Chianello writes for CBC Ottawa:

The city of Ottawa bought the Prince of Wales Bridge for $400,000 from Canadian Pacific Railway about 15 years ago for the express purpose of running trains across it one day, and that’s still in the city’s current Transportation Master Plan.

But last fall, the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau announced that plans for rail over the bridge were off.

“It would congest … Bayview station, and secondly, Gatineau has been pursuing their LRT project and they too have ruled it out as a bridge that would be used for transit,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said last September.

Both Watson and Gatineau Mayor Maxime-Pedneaud Jobin are hoping to use the bridge instead as a pedestrian and bike crossing.

from CBC Ottawa – Gatineau wants to run light rail over Portage Bridge

Also see the Mayors’ joint announcement from September 2019 as reported in CBC Ottawa – Mayors rule out Prince of Wales Bridge for transit link.

UPDATE 2020-05-19: Also see Analysis: Rejection of Prince of Wales Bridge illustrates difficulty of planning Ottawa-Gatineau rail link by Jon Willing in the Ottawa Citizen.

For historical completeness, there was an NCC Interprovincial Transit “Strategy” in 2013 that had trains going from Bayview Station across the Prince of Wales Bridge to connect with STO transit, and also had a rail connection across Alexandra Bridge.  But it was totally unfunded so it is moot.

proposed rail transit for Gatineau west end – May 2020 update to City of Ottawa

On May 15, 2020 the Gatineau transit agency, the STO (la Société de transport de l’Outaouais) presented a technical briefing to the City of Ottawa about its studies into improved transit on the Quebec side that would run basically from Place du Portage to Aylmer.  There was a particular focus on how the proposed transit, previously narrowed down to include trams (streetcars) in all three options, would land in Ottawa (the language used is Options d’insertion à Ottawa which is standard French urban planning terminology that does not lend itself to a literal translation).

This is about a tram that would cross Portage Bridge from Gatineau to Ottawa and is proposed to deliver passengers somewhere along Wellington Street or Sparks Street, at least as far as Lyon Station, but possibly as far as Parliament Station or even farther east.

Note that this system is nowhere near being funded and approved yet.

UPDATE 2020-06-27: The STO has launched a consultation on how the proposed tramway should arrive on the Ottawa side.  Should it go on the surface on Wellington or in a tunnel under Sparks?


There is an STO press release in French only:

The City of Ottawa also did press releases:

I have to say you would be hard pressed to understand exactly what is being proposed from the Ottawa press releases. The STO one is not super clear on the Portage Bridge part, although it does make the two options for landing in Ottawa clear: either on the surface along Wellington Street, or in a tunnel under Sparks Street.

deux options d’aménagement d’un tramway sont retenues pour la suite de l’étude :

* Une insertion en surface sur la rue Wellington;
* Une insertion en tunnel sous la rue Sparks.

Rather than burying the lede, here’s the key slide from the STO presentation:
STO - 15 May 2020 - Options for Tram Component in Ottawa - slide 29
From slide 29 in  STO’s Complementary Study: Public Transit System in Gatineau’s West End – Technical Briefing to City of Ottawa May 15, 2020 (PDF) on STO webpage Update: Progress of the analysis of options for the integration in Ottawa.

Why Portage?

These two slides from the May 2020 presentation sum up their analysis:

STO - 15 May 2020 - Analysis of Current Crossings - slides 11 and 12
From slides 11 and 12 in STO’s Complementary Study: Public Transit System in Gatineau’s West End – Technical Briefing to City of Ottawa May 15, 2020 (PDF) on STO webpage Update: Progress of the analysis of options for the integration in Ottawa.

Why a Tramway?

As seen in this slide from the January 30, 2020 update (presentation available in French only), STO’s study recommends a tramway because the bus-only options don’t have enough capacity for a scenario of 7,000 – 7,500 riders per peak hour over the next 15 years.  Also note that to meet that projected demand they’re planning for a future with a tram every 2.4 minutes.

STO - 30 janvier 2020 - Nombre de passagers transportés versus mode - diapositive 23
From slide 23 in Étude complémentaire pour la réalisation d’un système de transport collectif structurant dans l’ouest de la ville de Gatineau – Breffage technique 30 janvier 2020 (PDF) on STO webpage Update on the additional study.

Three Scenarios

As a reminder, here are the three scenarios being considered on the Gatineau side: all-tram (T1), hybrid with rail (in blue) to the north and bus rapid transit (in green) to the south (H1), and hybrid with rail (in blue) to the south and bus rapid transit (in green) to the north (H2).

STO - 30 janvier 2020 - 3 scénarios viables - diapositive 24
From slide 24 of Étude complémentaire pour la réalisation d’un système de transport collectif structurant dans l’ouest de la ville de Gatineau – Breffage technique 30 janvier 2020 (PDF) on STO webpage Update on the additional study.

STO and City of Ottawa Information

The STO presentation is available:

The City of Ottawa info is very high-level and basically just tells you to read the STO webpages.

You can watch a recording of the briefing on YouTube.  Note that it’s a Zoom meeting so there is a lot happening on screen sometimes (multiple video windows).

Next Steps

June 2020: On-line public consultation for Ottawa and Gatineau.  Until then, email contact addresses are available:

July 2020: Transportation Committee and Council – present recommended plan for integration in Ottawa

SIDEBAR: What’s Old is New Again

I couldn’t resist bringing forward this comparison from my first blog post in this series, showing that the proposed new rail infrastructure echos rail infrastructure we already had and tore up.  The earlier STO map I have chosen shows rail options across either Prince of Wales or Alexandra, which emphasizes in a way that they both used to be rail bridges (Portage was never a rail bridge).

If you put the proposed Gatineau (orange) and Ottawa (red) commuter rail map up against the rail that existed in a map from the Greber Plan (all the black lines on the second map below), it’s pretty striking that with the tracks curving along either side of the river we’re trying to recreate some of what already existed. (You can literally still see the ghost of the old rail line to Aylmer in the curve of what is now a vehicle road by the river.)
Gatineau - map of proposed route for west end LRT - en

Greber Plan plate 12 Réseau Ferroviaire Existant Ottawa - Hull and Environs 1948
Above from Greber Plan: Plate 12 Réseau Ferroviaire Existant Ottawa – Hull and Environs 1948 as made available on the Town and Crown website, 1950 Plan for the National Capital: General Report (Greber Plan)List of Plates Contained in the Atlas.


Prince of Wales Bridge

If you want to find out more about the various (unfunded) proposals for using the bridge, see my post The future of the Prince of Wales Bridge.


I’ve done three previous blog posts related to the Gatineau west-end rapid transit proposal, with a lot of detail about the history of interprovincial rail including old photos and videos:

May 31, 2019  proposed rail transit for Gatineau west end including rail across Portage Bridge
February 10, 2019  proposed Gatineau west-end rail project

February 13, 2019  Ottawa – Gatineau interprovincial rail


Check with the City of Gatineau and the STO website for updates and for the official word on the specific rail line routes and stations for Gatineau west-end rail.

Live in Ontario, Work in Quebec – The taxing tale of the Quebec Releve 1 form

If you’re working on preparing your taxes, and you live in Ontario and work in Quebec (or live in any other province and work in Quebec), there’s a tax form you need to know about.

I mention this because I worked in Quebec for two years before even finding out this form existed.

Revenu Québec has a form called the Relevé 1 – Revenus d’emploi et revenus divers, the RL-1 form.

If you work in Quebec the RL-1 will contain important information, most notably income tax that has been deducted from your Quebec pay.  While you may also have a T4, the Quebec information is not on your T4.

If you don’t include the RL-1 information in your tax filing, and you had income tax deducted from your Quebec pay, you could end up unnecessarily and incorrectly paying thousands of dollars in additional taxes.

You may have questions.

The TL;DR is you need to get the RL-1 from your employer directly, and make sure you manually add the RL-1 information (after entering T4 info) into any tax preparation software or paper forms for tax filing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: I download my tax forms including the T4 from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  Won’t the RL-1 be included with that?
    A: No.
  • Q: I download TurboTax for Windows to do my taxes every year.  Won’t TurboTax automatically download the RL-1?
    A: No.
  • Q: When I say that I work in Quebec but I’m filing in Ontario, won’t TurboTax remind me to check if I have an RL-1?
    A: No.
  • Q: When I file my taxes saying that I work in Quebec but live in another province, won’t CRA detect the missing RL-1 form and notify me?
    A: No.
  • Q: If I work for the Government of Canada, won’t I get a reminder that I need to download an RL-1 form in addition to a T4?
    A: No.
  • Q: Won’t the Government of Canada’s pay system remind me to also download the RL-1 when I download my T4?
    A: No.
  • Q: Can’t I just create a Revenu Québec account and download the RL-1 form directly?
    A: No.  Only Québec residents can create a Revenu Québec account.  If you try going through your bank to authorize an account it will just fail when you enter your SIN and birthdate.
  • Q: How do taxes work if you live in one province and work in another? Which province’s taxes do you pay?
    A: You always pay the taxes for your province of residence.  e.g. if you live in Ontario but work in Quebec, you pay Ontario taxes.  The provinces have arrangements to sort out the money behind the scenes.


Get the RL-1 form from your employer.  (In addition to any T4s.)

If you work for the Government of Canada, to get the Relevé 1 in Phoenix select Self Service -> Payroll and Compensation -> View RL-1
(There is a separate menu item to download your T4s in Phoenix.)

In the download version of TurboTax, in guided tax preparation mode, when it asks the forms that you have to enter, you must manually check the Relevé 1 form option.  Then enter the T4 data first.  Then when it gets to the Relevé 1 entry you must Edit the Relevé 1 form to manually enter the missing fields (it will pre-fill some information from your T4 but the software literally has no idea what the remaining Relevé 1 values are). Most importantly, edit the RL-1 form in TurboTax to enter the amount of income tax deducted from your Québec pay.

If you need to ReFILE

If you are using TurboTax download version and have to refile taxes from previous years because your RL-1 form was missing, do not click “Change a filed return”. Click “Continue your return” and then click “Change return” under “Your Federal return” in the FILE section at the end of the guided return process.

Go back to the beginning of guided tax preparation mode, select that you have a Relevé 1 form, and then on the Relevé 1 screen, click edit to make the changes.  Then at the end of the process click ReFILE.


I am not a tax preparation professional and this is not professional advice.

Ottawa LRT Stage 2 Line 2 in Emojis

Ottawa Line 2 🚆 Stage 2

Bayview 🚉 ↔️ Line 1 🚈 East-West

Gladstone 🚉

Carling 🚉

Carleton 🚉

Mooney’s Bay 🚉

Walkley 🚉

Greenboro 🚉

South Keys 🚉 ↔️ Airport Link 🚆

Leitrim 🚉

Bowesville 🚉

Limebank 🚉

Alternative with washrooms

Ottawa Line 2 🚆 Stage 2

Bayview 🚉🚻 ↔️ Line 1 🚈 East-West

Gladstone 🚉

Carling 🚉

Carleton 🚉

Mooney’s Bay 🚉

Walkley 🚉

Greenboro 🚉

South Keys 🚉 ↔️ Airport Link 🚆

Leitrim 🚉

Bowesville 🚉

Limebank 🚉🚻

Airport Link

The Airport Link is a separate line; you have to change trains at South Keys Station.

Ottawa Line 2 🚆 Stage 2 Airport Link

South Keys 🚉 ↔️ Line 2 🚆

Uplands 🚉

Airport 🚉 ↔️ ✈️

Emojis Used

See Also

November 13, 2018  Ottawa LRT Stage 2 maps

September 10, 2019 Ottawa LRT Stage 1 Line 1 in Emojis

2022 Official Plan for the City of Ottawa

Ottawa has an Official Plan from 2003.  It is the master document describing development in the city.

So the general idea is that the Official Plan shapes and constrains everything that can happen in terms of development in the city.

Engagement is underway for the new 2022 Official Plan

Personal Observations

I have to say in that in my view the idea that the Official Plan manages development hasn’t worked particularly well.

With the suburban-urban divide on council, and with individual wards having basically no say in development or road design within their wards, Council tends to do spot approvals for basically anything that is requested.  Ward residents hate the uncertainty this brings, with what is typically a spot upzoning changing the expected character of the neighbourhood.  Council has promised repeatedly that the layers upon layers of secondary plans are to bring certainty in planning, but so far they haven’t.

About the only meaningful constraint the Official Plan imposes is on the development lands around the city.  But there is always a push to expand the urban boundaries.

So at the core there’s the Official Plan, but the Official Plan has amendments upon amendments, page upon page of amendments in the Annexes to a point where I don’t know how anyone could meaningfully understand it.

In addition to the Official Plan there are other plans, specifically the Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Development Charges By-law.  I don’t know what effect these plans have.  The 2013 Transportation Master Plan is a model of promoting active transportation and transit in its main text, and then lists seven pages of road widenings in its annex (pp. 108-114).  It’s not clear that the Transportation Master Plan has any effect on Council decisions or budgets.  The one thing that is certain is that anything that is not explicitly on the approved urban and rural Cycling Network is generally declined.

This is not to say that the city isn’t slowly improving for active transportation and transit.  The LRT will by a wide margin have the biggest impact on the city, but there are also separated bike lanes (cycle tracks) and road narrowings (road “diets”) including Main and Elgin.  The road changes are almost always a compromise rather than a full transformation, and the arterials like Bronson and Kent remain pretty much untouchable one-way highways in the heart of the city.

Ultimately what matters is the city budget and individual Council votes on specific buildings and road redesigns.  In theory the Official Plan and other plans should guide the budget and votes.

If you’re in the urban core, it can be a challenge to be endlessly consulted about layers upon layers of plans (including NCC plans in addition to the city plans) while having the underlying reality of a suburban-majority council.

How many times can you provide the same feedback?  Anyway, the Council could take some steps that would transform the city’s urban fabric, including:

    • the city should have one or more dedicated pedestrian planners
    • all consultations should include one or more sessions where the Councillor(s), planners (including traffic planners) and citizens walk and cycle the affected area(s)
      • I would add to this that Councillors need to use the infrastructure they approve.  I like the idea of a winter and summer transit challenge, but we also need Councillors to do winter and summer pedestrian and cycling challenges.  The reality is that it is hard to get around this city by any other mode than car, particularly in the winter.
    • Demand again and again that cars be slowed to 30km/h or less in residential zones (which applies to much of downtown Ottawa).  Using road design, not just signs.
    • make sure the experience of getting to and from the LRT on foot and by bicycle is delightful
    • invest in Vision Zero now
    • allocate budget according to target modal share
      • including increasing subsidies for transit, and decreasing subsidies for single-passenger vehicles, in particular parking subsidies

It’s important to understand that this involves reallocating money.  Road redesign costs money.

Vision Zero done properly is an integrated process with road redesign.  Vision Zero isn’t about some sign you stick in your lawn asking people to slow down.  Vision Zero means that every single time there is a death of a vulnerable road user, every single time, there is a detailed investigation of the design of the road involved and an analysis of the design as a risk factor.  Then you spend a bunch of money to redesign the road to make it safer.  And you keep doing that, over and over, until it actually is safe with zero fatalities.  That’s Vision Zero.

The thing is, the 2013 Transportation Master Plan already says the right words:

  1. Create a Supportive Built Environment
  2. Maximize Walkability
  3. Develop a Great Cycling City
  4. Transform Ottawa’s Transit System

I think it’s Jeffrey Tumlin who has observed that in city after city where he consults, they have plans that say all the right things about active transportation and transit, and then they continue to budget for a 1960s single-passenger car city.  You can see a presentation by Tumlin in my blog post What has prevented Walkable Urbanism, and how to fix our cities.

END Personal Observations

By all means, participate in the Official Plan consultations

But remember that ultimately what matters is the yearly budget and the monthly Council votes.