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The top Toronto news stories in 2013

Posted by Derek Flack / December 30, 2013

top toronto news 2013The top Toronto news story in 2013 is so obvious it hardly bears repeating. The ongoing scandal involving Mayor Rob Ford and a video in which he's captured smoking crack cocaine was the gift that kept on giving to news editors and late night talk show hosts throughout the latter half of the year. But, of course, it wasn't the only story that gripped the city over the last 12 months. From devastating weather to major real estate developments to a decision on the future of rapid transit in Scarborough, enough happened in Toronto that Rob Ford wasn't the only headline in this town.

Here are the top 10 Toronto news stories from 2013.

Rob Ford crack scandal
It was way back in mid May when Gawker first broke the story about the Rob Ford crack tape, and even though it would take the Mayor until November to fess up to his sins (when faced with a mountain of evidence to suggest that the tape was both very real and very incriminating), the story never really quieted down in the interim. And by the time Ford's various transgressions were all out in the open, the story became major international news.

Ice Storm TorontoToronto ice storm causes widespread power outages
Toronto's most recent news story was also one of its biggest. We don't yet know how much storm-affiliated damage will cost the city, but hundreds of thousands of people spent the holidays with no power as the city was brought to a near standstill in the first few days following the deep freeze. And it could have been worse had we been hit with high winds following the initial precipitation.

Sammy Yatim shooting
The police shooting of Sammy Yatim, a Toronto teenager who was pacing and waving a small knife on board a Dundas streetcar in the moments before his death, was unusual in that it was recorded on multiple security and cellphone cameras and immediately made public. It was also noteworthy for the swift response from Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, which determined that Const. James Forcillo's actions justified a second degree murder charge.

Flood TorontoSummer floods
The Don River burst its banks more than once this year, but it was the furious storm of July 8th that proved the scariest of these occasions. Not only was there flooding in low lying areas across the city, but a stranded GO train caught in the midst of a watery Don Valley underscored just how dire the situation had become. Will we be better prepared next time?

Finally a decision on a Scarborough subway line
Scarborough is getting a new subway line. Probably. Despite repeated waffling on what type of transit would be coming to the city's east end -- LRT or heavy rail -- it seems that Rob Ford's favourite word won the day. With a $660 million injection from the federal government and a 1.6 per cent property tax hike on the way, we actually have a plan in place to build something.

cronut torontoThe Cronut catastrophe
The hype over the outlandish food at the CNE was at its most ravenous this year. That is, until news got out that people were getting sick. From what? Why the cronut, course. Even as it came to light that the maple bacon jam was the culprit, there was something Titanic-like about the whole ordeal -- one was tempting the gods by eating something so decadent, and a price would have to be paid.

Honest Ed's sold to a developer
While the iconic Annex discount retailer will be around for the foreseeable future, its sale to a BC developer all but guarantees its eventual disappearance from the the corner of Bathurst and Bloor. Not all will be sad to see the kitschy landmark go, but questions still remain as to what will become of Markham Street, as many properties in Mirvish Village were also part of the deal.

Ripleys Aquarium TorontoRipley's Aquarium lands in Toronto
Toronto has gone gaga over its new aquarium, the first mega tourist destination to open in the city in recent memory. With underwater tunnels and pods, over 10,000 sea creatures, and some remarkable photo opportunities, the facility has lived up to the ample hype it received leading up to its mid October opening.

David Mirvish and Frank Gehry struggle to realize their vision of a new King West
Things aren't looking altogether that promising for the Mirvish + Gehry proposal right now, as city council recently voted against the internationally recognized architect's original proposal for the three soaring towers on the site of the current Princess of Wales Theatre. Ever since plans for the block were first revealed back in September of last year, debate over the scale of the project and the loss of existing heritage structures has raged on. This one will likely be decided by the Ontario Municipal Board, so stay tuned for more heated discussion.

Ai Weiwei TorontoAi Weiwei's captures Toronto's artistic imagination
Ai Weiwei's major exhibition at the AGO this year was one of the most memorable the gallery has hosted in ages, but the bigger story was his Nuit Blanche centrepiece at City Hall. Consisting of over 3,000 bikes, it brought hordes of people out to gawk at its intricate and yet simple design. Not everyone was sure it's art, but its ability to generate discussion -- not to mention is stunning presence -- is precisely why it was such a successful installation.

Photos (in order) by Chris Bateman, Ann Darby, Greg Stacey, Tom Ryaboi, Rick McGinnis, Natta Summerky.



Todd Toronto / December 30, 2013 at 01:28 pm
What a year. Of course, the highlight for 2014 will be the Mayoral election, which will begin right ... about ... now.

And of course, Rob Ford probably has a better than 50% chance of getting re-elected. Thanks again, Mike Harris!
NotThatDave / December 30, 2013 at 01:46 pm
Regarding that subway, " we actually have a plan in place to build something." the LRT plan had a green light, the construction was to start after the PAN AM games as for it to be out of service during that time would be very unwise.

Either way "the people have spoken" and we're now building the Sheppard Line V2 in Scarberia. I look forward to paying it off for the next 30 years. I'd go into the numbers where the LRT line is better suited, but why beat a dead horse...
Chester / December 30, 2013 at 02:28 pm
With the flood situation and now the ice storm. It's boggles my mind when people say how do we better prepare ourselves. These were unprecedented events which I believe we dealt with incredibly well. It's like saying how well are we prepared for the apocalypse. We're not ever "prepared" but what we can do is establish emergency readiness programs which we have already.
Donnie / December 30, 2013 at 02:55 pm
How do we better prepare ourselves for ice storms? One thing we can do is let city workers or private companies come trim the hell out of the old trees in the summertime so this doesn't happen.

Too many people are protective of the 150 year old maple in their front yard because its so old and they hate to see it trimmed. Trim them right back. Yes they are beautiful trees but they are too big and too old to just let them arch over the street and over hydro lines. Any branch that even comes close to a power line should be trimmed back.
Parker replying to a comment from NotThatDave / December 30, 2013 at 02:56 pm
Matlow wants to revisit the Scarb Sub decision. There is hope that reason will prevail over crack pipe dreams.
Walter replying to a comment from Parker / December 30, 2013 at 03:33 pm
If Matlow want to revert back to the Transit City plan, with its forced transfer at Kennedy, then that would be about the stupidest thing in the world.

If he proposes a compromise, such as connecting the SRT to an elevated Eglinton line, which would eliminate the annoying transfer and save over $1B, then there may be hope indeed.

It may also be reasonable to propose switching the LRT line to ALRT (SkyTrain), as suggested by the "Neptis Foundation" report, which would have the added benefit of reducing the SRT shutdown time from 3 or 4 years to about 8 months. A lot depends on the cancellation fees that may be involved. Since Bombardier make both LRT and ALRT, the cost penalty may be relatively small.
NotThatDave replying to a comment from Walter / December 30, 2013 at 05:12 pm
The transfer would be A FLIGHT OF STAIRS. The upper level of Kennedy would be demolished and the trains would be above the BD line. This is one of the biggest misconceptions of the plan, people need to read the actual construction plans rather than rely on crack mayors and condensed news reports.

The report put forward by the Neptis Foundation is a pretty good read...until you get to that Sky Train part. Again, do some reading, the technology for the Sky Train is the newer version of the the SRT is. In short, you're getting the same service just with flashy new trains. There was plans back in the 1980's for a system of ICTS/ALRT lines but ultimately the cost to build and upgrade was too much no to mention out right stupid considering the state of the SRT.
steve replying to a comment from Shirley / December 30, 2013 at 06:37 pm
Currently no one is getting good subway access, too crowded for that.
Toby / December 30, 2013 at 08:42 pm
Do you like boobs a lot?
Yes I like boobs a lot!
gucci the mighty / December 30, 2013 at 09:19 pm
Gucco the stucco should Be banned from BlogTo - not once has gucco provided any discussion on any topic. Gucco continually comes on here to use the word boobs.
Dave / December 31, 2013 at 08:19 am
Councillor Paula Fletcher said at the peak of the storm’s damage, 300,000 hydro customers translated to over 800,000 people who did not have power. She said had that number been exposed, the argument to declare a state of emergency would have been greater and perhaps warranted the military coming in.

Really Paula, the military? Why? Couldn't make it to Timmy's? Get a brain Fletcher. As well as the rest of you whiny mofo left-wingers.
Is every blown fuse, power outage etc. a national disaster requiring military salvation?
Is the entire council so woefully inept at managing a winter storm after-math that the Armed Forces must be summoned for rescue?
Man, are you guys a joke! Without question, you are the exact group I don't want at the wheel should something truly catastrophic occur. The captain of the Costa Concordia and his "disaster response" immediately springs to mind (Norm Kelly) when envisioning Toronto council's response to a true emergency, such as 9/11.
There remains little doubt a front-to-back house cleaning is in order in the City of Toronto version of the Senate.

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