Here are the Vancouver Courier’s most read stories of 2019

The Vancouver Courier’s crack team of journalists collectively writes hundreds of stories every year.

And as 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at which stories really got people reading over the last 12 months.

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10.   Canuck the crow

canuck
Regardless if Canuck the crow is currently of this world, there will be a time when he is not, and when that happens we fully expect this city to lose its cool. File photo Chung Chow

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver news retrospective without an appearance by the city’s favourite winged celebrity Canuck the crow.

Canuck made quite a bit of news over the last 12 months with his untimely disappearance back in the summer: he was last seen in his East Van ‘hood on Aug. 30, fans quickly banded together and donated $10,000 for a reward, there were unconfirmed sightings of a bird that resembled Canuck popping up in Yaletown and a Craigslist post, which has since been taken down, that claimed to have found Canuck’s body.

However, it was Kudos and Kvetches’ missive on how Vancouverites will react when Canuck is no longer of this world that really struck a nerve…

 

9.       Vancouver ridings to watch in the federal election

JWR
Jody Wilson-Raybould’s run as an independent in Vancouver-Granville was the big story to watch in the city’s six ridings on election night. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Ahead of this fall’s federal election, veteran political reporter Mike Howell broke down Vancouver’s ridings, and stories, to watch.

If there was one storyline Vancouver, and the nation, was watching closely on election night it had to be the saga of Jody Wilson-Raybould and whether or not she would retain her seat in Vancouver-Granville after getting ousted from the Liberal party and running as an independent.

 

8.       New condos at Oakridge Centre don’t come cheap

oakridge condos
Oakridge Centre's first phase, buildings 3 and 4, will be 32 and 42 storeys respectively, under the current designs. Image courtesy Westbank/Henriquez Partnership Architects

* This story was actually posted online in December 2018 but some stories have staying power, and this one continued to attract readers throughout 2019.

A sales sheet posted on social media in late 2018 showed prices for market condos in a pair of towers being built as part of the Oakridge Centre redevelopment started at more than $800,000 and soared as high as $4.3 to $5.7 million.

 

7.       Downtown Eastside shooting spree

DTES shooting spree
There were three shootings in the DTES in less than 24 hours Sep. 22 and 23, including one at the Grand Union Hotel at 74 West Hastings St. Photo Dan Toulgoet

After three people were shot in the span of just 15 hours back in September, Vancouver police said a gang war was proliferating in the city’s Downtown Eastside with both new and long-established gangs preying upon residents of the neighbourhood and the Oppenheimer Park encampment.

 

6.       One neighbourhood’s traffic nightmare

traffic troubles
Residents in the Tugboat Landing neighbourhood are fed up with inconsiderate, aggravated drivers speeding through their community. Photo Barbara Borchardt

Residents in a pocket of Southeast Vancouver raised the alarm after years of calling for help to address traffic and transit issues in their neighbourhood.

People living in Tugboat Landing, a small community in Fraserview at the intersection of East Kent Avenue South and Victoria Drive, say on some mornings they can’t get out of their driveways because of a build-up of traffic. Just crossing the street has become a challenge as impatient drivers speed through the neighbourhood.

 

5.       Raving for a reason

renoviction rave
Protestors gathered outside Chip Wilson’s Point Grey mansion Aug. 10 for a “rave against renovictions.” Photo Jessica Kerr

Vancouver billionaire Chip Wilson was back in the news in August for all the wrong reasons as dozens of artists, creatives, activists, small business owners and their supporters staged an afternoon “rave against renovictions” outside his Point Grey mansion.

The group was protesting a “crisis of renovictions” and a dwindling number of DIY spaces — independent, artist-run studios, music venues and collective exhibition spaces — in the city and targeted Wilson because, they said, more than 18 different spaces have been renovicted from properties owned by his company, Low Tide Properties, in the last two years.

 

4.       Businesses in trouble on South Granville

South Granville
After 10 years at Granville and West Sixth, Ramin and Sons Ltd., is one of several businesses on South Granville Street to close. Photo Dan Toulgoet

A number of small, locally-owned businesses — including Ouisi Bistro and women’s clothing store Plum, both of which closed in October, and West Restaurant, which will close on New Year’s Eve — are moving out of one of the city’s marquee commercial districts citing high property taxes, labour costs and exorbitant leases.

 

3.       How do you explain Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to tourists?

DTES
A street-level view of Hastings and Carrall streets in mid-August. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Over the course of several weeks, a Courier investigation looked at ongoing issues in the city’s Downtown Eastside, which many say is worse than it’s ever been, and the effect it has on tourism and businesses.

 

2.       Federal election candidates

federal election map
Here's what the political landscape looked like after the last federal election in 2015.

It’s certainly not sexy, but part of the Courier’s role is to provide readers with news they can use, which brings us to our second most-read story of the year — our guide to all the candidates running in Vancouver in the federal election.

 

And the Courier story that got the most views on our website in 2019 is….

1.       Whatever happened to “Penis Satan”?

satan statue
This statue was erected near Clark Drive and Great Northern Way on Sept. 9, 2014. Its short-lived existence garnered international media attention. Submitted photo

On Sept. 9, 2014, commuters in East Van woke up to a bright red satanic statue placed one block north of Clark Drive and Great Northern Way. The bright red, fibreglass statue of Satan, stood seven-feet-tall, brandishing the devil’s horns salute and sporting a hard-to-ignore erection.

The guerilla art piece removed by city crews within two days, but speculation around the mysterious sculpture continued as the story made international headlines.

Five years later, reporter John Kurucz tracked down the statue’s creator, who had managed to keep his identity a secret.

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