NEWS

What's Your Top Toronto Story Of 2011?

12/28/2011 03:25 EST | Updated 02/27/2012 05:12 EST
Getty/AP

CBC Toronto viewers have chosen the death of Jack Layton and the subsequent outpouring of grief across the city and country as the top Toronto news story of 2011.

Given a choice of five big stories that had Toronto talking over the past 12 months, CBC viewers voted for the death of the late Opposition leader by a wide margin, with more than half of the almost 1,400 votes.

Rob Ford's first full calendar year as mayor was second, with a quarter of the vote.

Here's the list of the five Toronto stories, in order of the votes they received.

1) Jack Layton dies – Mere months after leading the NDP to Official Opposition status for the first time in its history, Jack Layton was cut down by cancer. His death triggered an outpouring of grief and a series of impromptu chalk messages at Nathan Phillips Square that spoke to his legacy. Layton was a national figure but his death was also a Toronto story, with his funeral happening in the city where he first honed his political chops as a feisty city councillor.

2) The Rob Fordphenomenon – Not so much one story but an almost daily stream of them generated by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during his tumultuous first year in office. Whether he was axing a transit plan, picking a trip to the cottage over attending Gay Pride events or moving ahead with his mandate to curtail city spending, Ford was a constant newsmaker in 2011. Stories about Rob Ford drove traffic on CBC.ca as news junkies (including even those who do not live in the city) were anxious to learn what Toronto's controversial mayor would do next. The "Ford focus" is unlikely to lose momentum in 2012 as he tries to pass the budget and hammer out new contracts with unionized city workers.

3) Occupy Toronto – They came, they camped, and they didn't take their tents away until police came calling with eviction notices. Eventually the Occupy Toronto protesters left St. James Park without the mass arrests seen at other encampments inspired by the Occupy movement. The protesters' presence in Toronto drew plenty of debate, whether the question was "why are they here?" or "when will they leave?"

4) Sgt. Ryan Russell killed – It was a frantic chase through snowy city streets that ended in the death of a Toronto police officer. Const. Ryan Russell, 35, and an 11-year veteran of the force, was struck and killed after the stolen plow he was trying to stop barrelled though a police roadblock. Police officers from forces across North America came to his funeral, which drew 12,000 mourners. "Ryan always put others before himself,” his widow Christine said at his funeral. “On January 12, this cost him his life. Ryan, we are all so proud of you."

5) Long, hot summer – It was a summer to remember in Toronto, not only for the soaring temperatures but also its ability to stretch into a mild fall and a wimpy early winter. Short sleeves stayed on until well into October and the city didn’t see a flake of snow or endure consistent sub-zero temperatures until after Christmas.