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Top 10 stories of 2018

Last Updated Dec 23, 2018 at 1:41 pm MDT

FILE PHOTO: Calgary city skyline (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS Photo)

CALGARY – This year has been a whirlwind news year from Canada legalizing recreational marijuana, to Calgary bailing on a potential 2026 Olympic bid, to the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 players and support staff associated with the Junior A hockey team.

As the year comes to a close the world prepares to welcome 2019, we’re counting down the top 10 most popular stories on 660citynews.com.

Here’s a look at what our online audience was most interested in this year.

10. Shock and oil: Alberta premier threatens to turn off taps in B.C. dispute

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley threatened to turn off the oil taps in a fight with British Columbia in March over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notley wouldn’t say if she would cut off B.C. or the rest of Canada — or both — but says her government is ready to pass legislation to make it happen.

“Our key focus is getting people’s attention on the matter,” Notley told a news conference prior to the speech from the throne to open the next session of the legislature.

“We’re not interested in creating any kind of crisis in any way, shape or form. We’re going to be measured. We’re going to be careful.”

Alberta cutting back oil production
Albertans rallying for solutions to oil industry woes
Ottawa confirms over $1.6-billion to help the struggling oil and gas sector
‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery
Government’s tight grasp on Alberta oil: A short(ish) history

9. Lobby group pitches sales tax in Alberta to save public services

It’s never been a popular idea in Wild Rose Country, but a left-wing lobby group says introducing a sales tax could help generate the revenue needed in Alberta to maintain public services.

“Either way it’s the same people paying, so it’s a matter of how we want to structure that,” said Public Interest Alberta executive director Joel French.

“A sales tax has some advantages over personal income taxes in that it’s a tax that’s very hard for people to avoid. With personal income taxes, particularly for wealthy individuals, there are tax write-offs and ways to get around that.”

8. Kids play free at golf courses across Canada this summer

Over the summer young golfers got treated to free rounds of golf across Canada. Kids under the age of 16 were able to swing for free as part of ‘Take a Kid to the Course.’ Over 700 courses across Canada participated, including many in the Calgary area.

Nathalie Lavallee with the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada says the initiative is about more than just putting a focus on youth golf.

“Families getting out doing activities together — and it doesn’t need to be a conventional family, it could be grandparents, aunts, and uncles taking nieces and nephews out spending some time away from the screen,” she said.

7. Missing Clydesdale may be headed for slaughter

This video sparked concern among the city’s animal lovers. CityNews reporter Rachelle Elsiufi spoke with the owner of the 2,000-pound horse who said she woke up one September morning to find her property’s gate (just south of Edmonton) wide open and six-year-old Clydesdale Molly nowhere to be found.

The owner feared the massive horse was targetted to be slaughtered and sold as horse meat in Japan or Alberta.

WATCH: Missing Clydesdale may be headed for slaughter

6.’Wow that plane’s going down’: Small aircraft makes emergency landing in Calgary

For nine hours on a Wednesday in late April, traffic was normal on southbound 36th St. N.E. in Calgary just south of the Trans Canada Highway.

Meanwhile over in the northbound lanes during the same time, a Piper Navajo owned by Super T Aviation was all by itself, after making an emergency landing just before 6:00 a.m. with six people on board.

A witness named Brent was in the nearby Home Depot parking lot and saw the plane on its way down, hearing the engine sputter.

“I could see the pilot’s face, couldn’t make it out clearly, I thought wow that plane’s going down,” he said.

According to a statement from Super T, the plane experienced a “loss of power of unknown cause,” while police reported in the morning it had low fuel.

5. Man’s body found in wall of downtown Calgary shopping centre

In April, a man’s body was found inside a wall in the women’s washroom of the CORE Shopping Centre in downtown along 8 Avenue S.W.

Police don’t believe the death is criminal in nature. The spokesperson added it’s a possibility that someone crawling through a vent or duct fell from above and got stuck in the wall.

4. AMBER ALERT for 6-year-old Saskatchewan girl cancelled

On September 16, a province-wide Amber Alert was issued for a little girl after the vehicle she was in was stolen from a North Battleford area strip mall.

Mounties in Saskatchewan said the vehicle with the child–who has autism and epilepsy and is non-verbal–still inside was found in a work yard around 6:45 a.m. the following day. She was promptly reunited with her parents. The man charged in the case pleaded guilty to several charges.

Johnathan Gunville,19, has admitted to abandoning a child, theft of a vehicle, operation of a vehicle dangerous to the public and driving while disqualified.

3. Trudeau says government will limit access to handguns, assault weapons

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a Montreal radio station on the anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre that his government plans to limit access to handguns and assault weapons to confront gun violence in the country.

The comments came as Toronto grapples with a gun crisis. The city’s mayor even penned a letter to Trudeau calling for an all-out ban on handguns hoping to curb the problem.

2. Hockey sticks meant for Humboldt families stolen

A family left its hockey stick out in support of Humboldt on Tuesday, only to have someone steal it off the home’s front porch on Wednesday.

Colleen said she saw a young man out in front of their house prior to the stick being taken.

“Then I saw him looking between mine and my neighbour’s house and then I saw him go off onto our driveway, when I looked outside, my husband’s hockey stick was gone,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Erase that year:’ Family of injured Broncos player looks to better times ahead

The Broncos were named the Canadian Press’ Newsmaker of the Year with the horrific crash itself being named the organization’s Story of the Year.

1. Crime in rural Alberta town growing at a faster rate than elsewhere in Canada: Maclean’s

This Maclean’s analysis made news across the country. The feature from the magazine stated crime in Wetaskiwin, Alta., a town of 15,000 about an hour’s drive south of Edmonton, is getting worse at a faster rate than any other Canadian urban area.

From 2012 to 2017, Wetaskiwin’s crime severity index (CSI) — a measure used by Statistics Canada that accounts for the seriousness of crimes as well as their number — increased 100.63 points to 257.54.

For comparison, Red Deer, the community with the second-fastest growing CSI, saw an increase of 58.65 points over five years. Canada’s overall CSI fell 2.56 points to 72.87 over the same time period.

WATCH: Update on RCMP rural crime reduction program

HONOURABLE MENTION: Calgary City Council officially cancels 2026 Olympic bid

Nov. 19 was the day that council officially voted to jump ship on an Olympic bid, one week after a Calgarians voted in a non-binding plebiscite on the bid. The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides engaged in sometimes-heated debates and both sides rallied with all their might, even going door-to-door to spread each campaign’s message. CityNews hosted a special Facebook Live debate in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Ultimately, 56 per cent of voters were against an Olympic bid and although the vote was non-binding, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he didn’t see a need to further pursue the bid if it was not what Calgarians wanted.

#Calgary2026: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides face off in CityNews debate
Canmore mayor disappointed by Calgary vote to end 2026 Olympic bid
A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

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EDITORS NOTE: This story has been edited to correct a previous analytics error.