The top Toronto news stories in 2013
The 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.
Toronto 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.
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.
The 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.
Ripley'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'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.