…and pie charts, and timelines, and Drizzy tweets. ’Cause that’s just how we roll.
Jan. 23: Karen Stintz turns against Rob Ford (Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
If Rob Ford’s year was a series of falling dominoes, right-leaning TTC chair Karen Stintz’s public abandonment of the mayor’s can-you-even-call-it-a-transit-plan marked the moment that the tiles picked up speed. Stintz argued that burying the length of the planned Eglinton LRT, as the mayor wanted, rather than keeping some of it at street-level would be financially and technically prohibitive. As the experts lined up behind her, Ford could only muster, “It’s all subways…it’s all about subways.”
This month in Drake Tweets: “Thanks to everybody at NHL for an amazing night! All the players that showed love and all the fans! I got Gino’s game stick!!!!!” (Jan. 29, 7:42 p.m.)
Feb. 1: Adios, Ontario Place (Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)
In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been so shocking when the provincial government announced that, in the face of declining attendance and revenues, it planned to shutter the landmark waterfront park until 2017 and give it a major overhaul. Former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory was charged with developing a revitalization plan. Unveiled in July, the new proposal ruled out a rumoured casino, instead opting for residential development and a state-of-the-art urban park with cafés, artist studios, and more. Mercifully, this scheme also preserved the space-age heritage of the tackily iconic Cinesphere, our very own giant-golf-ball-by-the-lake.
This month in Drake Tweets: “Champagne Papi” (Feb. 1, 5:54 p.m.)—Drizzy’s Instagram username/nickname for himself.
March 19: Toronto library workers’ strike (Photo: David Rider/Toronto Star)
Fair or not, public-sector unions don’t get much sympathy in Toronto anymore—that’s one explanation for the tidy, strike-free deals struck between the City of Toronto and its inside and outside workers (think ambulance dispatchers and snowplow drivers, respectively) this year. Not so with the librarians. A mid-March poll, in the thick of their battle with the city over a new collective agreement, found that nearly two-thirds of Torontonians sided with them. The strike that followed closed 98 libraries for 10 days, as workers held a “read-in” and marched on City Hall, before signing an agreement on March 29 that they lauded as a labour victory. For once, the city cheered along.
This month in Drake Tweets: “Natasha McElhone [sic] I know you don’t have Twitter cause you are a mature British goddess… but I love you.” (March 25, 9:07 a.m.)
April 27: Dancap Productions calls it a day (Photo: Joan Marcus)
Founded in 2007, Dancap Productions never quite found its footing as a credible rival to David Mirvish’s blockbuster theatre empire, troubled as it was by a sometimes questionable lineup and ongoing financial problems. But it also won a clutch of awards, and over a million people saw its most successful show, Jersey Boys, over a two-year run. Founder Aubrey Dan insisted the company’s failure had to do with the dearth of quality shows available to import from New York and London, rather than money issues. Either way, the curtain came down in 2012.
This month in Drake Tweets: “@theweekndxo YOUR TIME TONIGHT!” (April 15, 8:06 p.m.)—Elusive Drake collaborator/compadre The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye) played a much-anticipated set during the Coachella festival.
recrudescence return of Conrad Black (Photo: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
The most put-upon man on the Bridle Path, Conrad Black came home in May after serving three-and-a-half years in American prisons on fraud and obstruction of justice convictions. Black—who abdicated his citizenship in 2001 after a legal battle over whether Canadian citizens can accept British peerage (nope)—is here on a one-year permit, and is trying to re-secure citizenship, having changed his mind about the country he once called an “oppressive little world.” In October, he wrote in the National Post that Toronto, particularly, is a much-improved city in which “the forces of racial and cultural snobbery…have retreated into a few fetid clubs, where the denizens fester like despotic toads in their unregenerate hypocrisy.”
This month in Drake Tweets: “The first million is the hardest.” (May 30, 6:14 a.m.)
June 2: Shooting at the Eaton Centre food court (Photo: Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)
When it comes to violent crime, Toronto’s a safe city: Last year, its homicide rate was one-tenth’s that of Chicago, and a hair below the Canada-wide average. But it certainly didn’t feel that way on the first Saturday of the month, when the Eaton Centre’s food court became the scene of a shooting that left its two alleged targets—Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, and Ahmed Hassan, 24—dead, five more hurt, and the rest of us spooked by what the tragedy might say about the city in which we live.
This month in Drake Tweets: “22,000 people from Chicago bought tickets to see a kid from Toronto tonight. Believe in yourself.” (June 2, 12:40 a.m.)—#humblebrag
July 16: Danzig Street block-party shooting (Photo: Pawel Dwulit/Toronto Star)
As if the Eaton Centre shooting weren’t bad enough, a block party six weeks later on Danzig Street, near the eastern edge of Scarborough, ended in the worst mass shooting in Toronto’s history. Two innocent bystanders—Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23—died, and 23 were wounded, a casualty count that seemed unfathomable. Another unfathomable number? A 16-year-old was among the four people who’ve since been charged in the shooting.
This month in Drake Tweets: “My condolences go out to the family and friends of Shyanne Charles and Joshua Yasay. Senseless violence in Toronto has to stop.” (July 17, 6:37 p.m.)—Drake was quick to send a social-media response to the Danzig Street shootings.
Aug. 2: Underpass Park opens (Photo: David Rider/Toronto Star)
We know how it sounds: a big, $9.5-million park hidden below three overpasses in a corner of the city that, until a few years ago, didn’t have much of anything going for it. But Underpass Park, near the Don River, is further proof of the waterfront’s resurgence. The shiny new green space includes a playground, basketball courts, and a skatepark—there’s even an art installation, Paul Raff’s Mirage, that features a honeycomb grid of mirrors on top of one section of the park and encourages people to do something they really shouldn’t under decades-old elevated roadways in Toronto: look up.
This month in Drake Tweets: “Pimps don’t cry…word to Eva Mendes” (Aug. 26, 5:10 a.m.)
Sept. 29: Frank Gehry and David Mirvish propose super-duper condos (Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)
Even in North America’s condo capital, the proposal that David Mirvish and Toronto-born starchitect Frank Gehry dropped in September was a bombshell: three 80-storey “sculptures for people to live in,” according to Mirvish, to replace the Princess of Wales theatre and a historic block of King West. If built, the buildings will be the tallest strictly residential towers in the Western hemisphere. Call it hubris, call it visionary, or call it both—it’s the natural conclusion to the condo explosion.
This month in Drake Tweets: “I love me some Gayle King.” (Sept. 26, 9:07 p.m.)
Oct. 20: Christie Pits sex-assault suspect is arrested (Photo: Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)
Between Aug. 16 and Oct. 20, residents of the Christie Pits area experienced no fewer than 16 sexual assaults. The suspect’s
MO and description were invariably the same, and the frequency of the assaults (as well as the vagueness around their severity) kept the neighbourhood on edge for months. On Sept. 3, over 300 people attended an anti-assault rally in the Annex. When a suspect was arrested on Oct. 20, he turned out to be only 15 years old and described by
his lawyer as “naïve, guileless, and scared.”
This month in Drake Tweets: “97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight I have graduated high school!” (Oct. 17, 7:50 p.m.)
Nov. 26: Mayor Ford ousted from office (Photo: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star)
All the dramatic elements were in place: high-school football, cozy lobbyists, a conflict of interest, an integrity commissioner report, and, at the centre of it all, a stubborn mayor slammed by the judge who declared his seat vacant for “willful blindness” and “outright ignorance.” It won’t be until early next year, when an appeals court rules on whether Ford’s punishment was just, that we’ll know if it sticks, but given the luck our mayor has had, how can it not?
This month in Drake Tweets: “Rest in peace to my grandmother Evelyn Sher. What a day to go…thankful to have had the times we did.” (Nov. 22, 7:54 p.m.)
Dec. 12: The Gardiner is (well, pretty much officially) doomed (Photo: Richard Lautens/Toronto Star)
The perennial fix-it-or-demolish-it debate over the crumbling Gardiner Expressway became a lot more urgent when city documents, released to Global News through a freedom of information request, revealed that much of the roadway is just a few years away from becoming dangerously unusable. (Two words: “punch through.”) As debate ramps up over investing half a billion dollars in repairs, or choosing an alternate option, 2013 will probably be the year we finally solve—and spend a lot of money on—the city’s most intractable infrastructure dilemma.
This month in Drake Tweets: “OVO Sound…every country and town right round! AWOH.” (Dec. 6, 5:11 a.m.)—OVO = October’s Very Own, Drizzy’s label/crew/brand.
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