January 19, 2019 6:10 pm
Updated: January 21, 2019 2:55 pm

This week on ‘Focus Montreal’: Jan. 19

A blast of winter weather has descended upon Montreal.

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Focus Montreal introduces Montrealers to the people who are shaping our community by bringing their stories into focus.

The program airs Saturday at 5:30 p.m. as well as Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and midnight.

Take a look at who we’re meeting this week.

The need for carbon monoxide detectors

It was a frightening week for hundreds of kids and their parents at a LaSalle elementary school on Monday.

The Des Découvreurs school was evacuated when dozens of kids fell ill, some even passing out, after being exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

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READ MORE: Lester. B Pearson School Board to install carbon monoxide detectors after incident at LaSalle school

In all, 43 children and adults were sent to the hospital for treatment.

While all victims have now been cleared and sent home, the incident has sparked a lot of questions and concerns.

A school board investigation revealed the source of the poisoning: a leak found inside the heating system.

READ MORE: Some parents keep kids out of LaSalle school as questions mount over carbon monoxide leak

According to public health officials, most Montreal schools have a  known source of carbon monoxide, either through a heating or refrigeration system or from water heaters.

However, what many schools lack is a basic tool to detect leaks, because carbon monoxide detectors are not mandatory in Quebec schools.

The Quebec government, however, announced plans Friday to make the detectors compulsory.

Dr. David Kaiser sat down with Orchard to discuss the importance of devices in saving lives.

READ MORE: Carbon monoxide detectors to be mandatory in all Quebec schools: Education Minister

Providing shelter from the cold

The cold winter months are tough on everyone, but they are especially brutal on Montreal’s homeless, who struggle too often to a find warm, dry place to sleep.

Quebec’s regional health authority announced plans in December to open an emergency shelter at the old Royal Victoria hospital.

READ MORE: Emergency shelter for Montreal homeless opens at former Royal Victoria Hospital

As of Wednesday night, and for the next three months, 80 beds are available to men, women and their pets.

The emergency shelter will operate as a backup to Montreal’s permanent shelters, many of which are running at, or near, full capacity.

READ MORE: Record-breaking cold snap leaves Montreal shelters scrambling

It’s a situation that is all too familiar for Welcome Hall Mission CEO Samuel Watts.

Watts joined Global News senior anchor Jamie Orchard to discuss how the overflow shelter came to be and the need for a more permanent solution to homelessness.

For more information on the Welcome Hall’s initiatives and services, visit the Welcome Hall’s website.

Queen for a day

It might only be January, but preparations for the 10th annual Hudson St. Patrick’s Day parade are already well underway.

This year’s queen’s selection night will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Auberge Willow Inn.

WATCH: Hudson dials up the green for St. Patrick’s Day

A panel of judges will decide who will reign as queen of the 2019 parade.

READ MORE: Hudson will take over St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Her court, consisting of her attending princesses, will also be selected.

Organizers are encouraging young women to apply for the royal nominations, saying the opportunity serves as a great way to contribute to the community.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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