It would be a gross understatement to say that 2013 was “an interesting year for Toronto.” Besides the big red-faced, crack smoking elephant in the room, tonnes of other crazy stuff happened in Hogtown worthy of noting. Ranging from the near-Biblical flood in July to the city’s first son, Drake, reaching even greater heights of awesomeness, this has definitely been an exciting year. Check out our round-up of some of Toronto’s craziest moments of 2013:
In May, American news site Gawker announces that it has seen Rob Ford, the elected mayor of our city, smoking crack cocaine on a video they hope to purchase from sources unsavoury. After months of speculation surrounding said video, vehement denials, and finally intervention by Toronto’s police chief Bill Blair, Ford admitted on November 5th to having smoked crack cocaine. What has followed has been a hurricane of half-assed apologies, continued denial from Ford and family, and a lack of action on the part of the city that would make a vegetable look like a Kenyan track runner. He has also made a number of homophobic and racist comments but we’ll just let the people who defend him continue to gloss over those. Sadly, our continued “sorry” mayor has not had the decency to step down in the wake of this scandal but given that this story has already gotten far too much attention, we’re not going to speak of it anymore.
The Late-Night World Discovers Toronto
Everybody from the cast of Saturday Night Live, to Jon Stewart, to Jimmy Kimmel discovered that Toronto was in fact a real place (and not a medium-sized congregation of igloos as was previously believed by 96% of the American population). In fact, we are a great city that apparently has oodles of narcotics and, most importantly, politicians who refuse to quit even in the red, puffing face of adversity. Any press is good press… right?
Giant Panda’s Come Back TorontoWhile controversial and likely hatched-up as a plan for adorable photo-ops with Stephen Harper, giant pandas made their way back to the Toronto Zoo in May for the first time in 28 years. The 100kg Chinese cuddle-monsters apparently brought up attendance by 15% (still 100,000 visitors less than expected)… as to whether you think that’s a good a thing or not we’ll leave up to you.
TIFF 2013: Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift Become Friends
This September at TIFF 2013, America’s sweethearts (past and present) Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift became friends at the Grey Goose after-party at Soho House. They hugged a lot, shared a photobooth, and the world exploded from the celebrity cuteness and happiness. That day, a unicorn was born.
Condo Canyon Gets Flooded
On July 8th, Toronto got a little taste of Atlantis. And it wasn’t the go-go dancing, Vegas kind of Atlantis. It was more like the wrath of the gods, half of downtown is underwater variety. Environment Canada reports that the city received more rain during rush hour that day than it does during the whole month of July typically, leading to the third largest natural insured catastrophe in history. In the wake of the event, the city continues to ignore citizens’ cries for an ark and carries on with constructing condos instead.
Drake’s New Album Debuts at #1 on the Billboard Top 100
Love him or hate him, the little Jewish boy from Toronto has gone on from Degrassi to become pretty much everything. No longer just a rapper and actor, he is now also a global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, and is generally an all-around sexy superstar reppin’ Hogtown in a big way. Oh yeah, and Nothing Was the Same was a pretty solid album that sold insanely well. Boo ya? Boo ya.
That Girl Who Had Sex for Meals
Remember Erin Wotherspoon? She was that girl with the blog who got everyone’s panties in a knot in October over the fact that she was willing to date men and do other potentially morally questionable acts to get them to take her to fancy restaurants. Really, don’t act like you’re THAT much better.
Premiere Kathleen Wynne
Ontario brought in the province’s first female premiere, Toronto gal Kathleen Wynne, who also happens to be Canada’s first openly gay premiere as well. While not necessarily “crazy” news, it is a testament that the city and province as a whole are moving in a positive, progressive direction. She even referred to herself as the city’s “Pride Mom” during a Toronto Pride event at the 519 Community Centre and the Big Smoke’s rainbow grew two shades brighter. Or maybe that was the party favours. We’re still not sure.
We Gots an Aquarium!
Located just at the base of the CN Tower, the brand new Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada opened on October 16th of this past year. It is 135,000 feet of fishy fabulousness that brightens up the revitalized waterfront area. The attraction boasts over 450 species of sea life in a state-of-the-art environment that promises to please children and stoners alike.
The Ice Storm That Stole Christmas
The Grinch of 2013’s holiday season and an on-going mess for the city of Toronto, the GTA was struck by an ice-storm that knocked down innumerable trees, robbed thousands of power, and basically ruined Christmas for everybody. While social media has exploded in a frenzy of mundane objects that have found beauty in being frozen, how the city is going to pay for cleaning up this cluster-f*ck after this summer’s flood, the matter that people are still without electricity, and what we are going to do with all the dead trees, remains to be seen.
SO Many New Restaurants
This was a great year to be a foodie in Toronto. Check out our list of our favourite new restaurants that opened in the city in 2013.