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CBC Toronto's 10 most read stories of 2014

12/31/2014 11:43 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
It was another wild trip around the sun in Canada's biggest city.

While there are lots of ways to measure the weight of a news story, perhaps none is more objective than the number of people who read it. 

So here they are: CBC Toronto's 10 most-viewed stories of 2014.

Sunwing flight gets fighter jet escort

Sunwing Flight 772 from Toronto to Panama City was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing at Pearson airport after a 25-year-old passenger allegedly made "direct threats" to the safety of the plane. Two U.S. F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Toledo, Ohio, to escort the airliner. 

Interestingly, later that day once the plane had taken off again for Panama City, it was again forced to make an emergency landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica, after a passenger fainted. 

Ontario's 2014 'Sunshine list'

A perennial favourite on CBC Toronto, the province's annual list of public servants making $100,000 or more always gets a big reaction from readers.

This year the CEO of Ontario Power Generation topped the list with $1.71 million in earnings.

While the average salary on the list dropped slightly from the previous year to $127,433, the number of people making more than $100K increased by 11 per cent to 97, 796. 

Jian Ghomeshi scandal

In late November, former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi, 47, surrendered to Toronto police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance — choking. None of the allegations have been proven in court. 

The police department's sex crimes unit began investigating Ghomeshi on Oct. 31 after three women filed complaints alleging he was physically violent without their consent. 

Ghomeshi was terminated from the CBC in October. To date, a total of nine women have come forward publicly with accusations that he sexually or physically assaulted them.

CBC has hired an employment lawyer to independently probe the allegations. 

John Tory elected Mayor of Toronto

After a gruelling, hard-fought election campaign John Tory was elected the 65th mayor of Toronto on October 27. Tory overcame challengers Doug Ford and early front runner Olivia Chow, who finished in second and third, respectively. 

Ford joined the race on September 12, after his brother and former mayor Rob Ford was forced to abandon his re-election campaign after he was diagnosed with a relatively rare and aggressive form of cancer. 

Doug Ford's entry sparked speculation that the city could see another four years of Ford Nation. Ultimately, however, Tory was declared Toronto's new mayor shortly after polls closed with 394, 900 nods, or about 40.3 per cent of the vote. 

Rob Ford

Of the top 20 most-read stories on CBC Toronto this year, nine of them relate directly to former mayor and current Ward 2 city councillor Rob Ford. 

- WATCH | Rob Ford ridiculed on Jimmy Kimmel Live

While his more than 14 years in public office have been followed closely by local media, he began making international headlines when reports of his struggle with substance abuse surfaced in the summer of 2013. Then, in November of that year, he admitted to using crack cocaine and abusing alcohol. 

In 2014, Ford-focused stories took spots five to nine on the top 10 list with his appearance on late-night comedy show Jimmy Kimmel Live; the announcement he would take a leave of absence to attend an addictions rehabilitation program; his run-in with border officials while trying to enter the U.S.; his revelation that he would drop his bid for re-election as mayor following a cancer diagnosis; and his decision to undergo chemotherapy treatment. 

Pearson's World Cup security breach

Official's at Canada's busiest airport were forced to apologize after Air Canada Flight 090 from Toronto to São Paulo turned back to Pearson due to a "security incident."

- Read the full story  

The flight took off just two days into the World Cup soccer tournament and the story likely garnered so much attention because of the widespread public interest in the event. 

The breach was caused by a passenger who allegedly made it on to the plane without ever having gone through security. 

Deryck Whibley's struggle with substance abuse

Among CBC Toronto's most-read stories of 2014 is a feature report on former Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley's struggle to overcome alcohol addiction.

Whibley, originally from Ajax, Ont., revealed in May that he was hospitalized for a month after he collapsed while at home. He attributed the health woes to "hard boozing" from his days with Canadian pop-punk phenoms Sum 41. 

Whibley sat down for an interview with CBC News in June and explained that he has since sworn off alcohol and has returned to writing music. 

The 'frost quakes'

In late December and early January, just days after the city recovered from an ice storm that knocked out power across the region and caused serious Christmas chaos for many families, Torontonians awoke to strange sounds.

Temperatures dropped to nearly -20 C, causing ice to expand underground and producing what are known as cryoseism, or 'frost quakes.'

"All of a sudden that ice starts to expand — it's like having a lid on top of a bottle, that pressure builds and builds until finally something gives, the ice expands, the pressure is released, the ground cracks and we hear what sounds or even feels like a very localized earthquake," said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland at the time.  

TTC 'leprechaun'

A ride on a crowded 72 Pape bus turned ugly for Brenda Davie when an unidentified man — since dubbed the “Leprechaun” for his green attire and bowler hat — refused to move his bag so she could sit down. 

Davie, describing the incident on Facebook, claimed the man called her an “airhead” and, as things escalated, stomped on her foot.

A video shot by another passenger captured part of the confrontation, but not the alleged assault. 

The video and subsequent fallout online sparked debate about the efficacy and legality of public shamings on social media. 

$900K Porsche goes up in flames

Michael Wekerle, one of the judges on CBC Television's Dragons' Den, watched as his $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder burned to a skeleton frame at a Caledon gas station in September.

The rare sports car, one of the first two to be imported into Canada, caught fire after its gas tank overflowed. The surplus gas was ignited by heat from the vehicle's exhaust. 

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