Vancouver Courier's Top 10 stories of 2016

Housing dominates our most popular stories this year

1. Joyce to the World: Skateboard community celebrates ‘Grandmother of Hastings’

A reader thought the Courier would be interested in a story about an unlikely friendship forged between Hastings Skatepark skateboarders and Joyce Wong, an elderly Chinese woman. He was right. So very right. Editor Michael Kissinger responded to the call and headed down to the skatepark with photographer Jennifer Gauthier to cover a birthday party the skateboaders threw for the 75-year-old this past summer. The touching story went viral and wound up being our most-read story of 2016 by a large margin. Keep those story tips coming Vancouver.

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Hastings Skatepark
The skateboard community at Hastings Skatepark came out in full force to wish Joyce Wong a happy 75th birthday. Wong and her husband, Henry, have become fixtures at the skatepark over the years, collecting empty cans and bottles. Photo Jennifer Gauthier


2. The dictator, the doughnut king and a shop called Duffin’s

Tony Chhuon and Paula Sim came to Vancouver to start a new life with recipes from different parts of the world — doughnuts, but also food from L.A.’s inhabitants from south of the U.S. In 1987, they pooled their savings and bought Duffin’s Donuts on Main and 33rd, which has since relocated to Knight and 41st. Written by freelance writer Chris Cheung, this story of immigration, multiculturalism and real estate landed in second place. Photos by Dan Toulgoet

Tony Chhuon and Paula Sim
Tony Chhuon and Paula Sim at Duffin's Donuts. Photograph By Dan Toulgoet


3. Owners of Vancouver’s first cohousing complex move in

Vancouver can’t get enough of housing stories. That's illustrated by this piece, which was our third most-read story. Written by Naoibh O'Connor and shot by photographer Dan Toulgoet, it revealed residents' motivations for embracing this style of collaborative living and showed readers what the city's first cohousing complex looked like on the inside.

Taryn Griffiths chats with Ben Ernst and his 13-month-old daughter Margot Dempsey–Ernst in the courtyard of the city's first cohousing complex. Photo Dan Toulgoet


4. One of UBC's most celebrated basketball players succumbs to cancer

Reporter John Kurucz's obituary for John Dumont, a former basketball star at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver College and internationally, took fourth position on our top 10 list. Dumont was known to be a giant on the court and a gentleman off it. RIP.

john dumont
John Dumont, shown here during his playing days at UBC in the mid '90s, died of cancer on Sept. 1. He was 41.


5. Soaring property assessments destroying Vancouver.

Longtime columnist Allen Garr penned this piece arguing that "real estate values are evidence of a system that is unregulated to the point of being socially destructive." The Courier chose Affordability (again) as our Newsmaker for 2016, so it's no surprise Garr's column placed fifth on our most-read list.

Photo Dan Toulgoet
Photo Dan Toulgoet


6. We need to talk about NIMBYs

"The era of single-family houses in Vancouver is over." So wrote Jessica Barrett in a column that earned her sixth position. Barrett has written many pieces about the affordable housing crisis and what it's like for millennials to struggle to find a home in an over-priced city. She won a prestigious City Mike Award for Commentator of the Year at the Jack Webster Awards this year.

A development partnership proposal between Boffo and the Kettle Society gave rise to a spate of No Tower signs in Grandview-Woodland.


7. History shows that home prices will eventually fall

Columnist Mike Klassen wrote what many people are thinking: "Consider that a professional making $400,000 a year could not possibly make mortgage payments on a typical $4 million west side home with his or her after-tax income. You know it is tough when the "one per cent" can no longer afford Vancouver home prices." Yup. Klassen was rewarded with a seventh-place finish on our top 10.

Photo Dan Toulgoet
Photo Dan Toulgoet


8. Is it time to leave Vancouver.

An oldie but a goodie. Written in 2015 by Jessica Barrett, this column was our top place finisher on last year's top 10 list, but it's made a reappearance in the number 8 spot in this year's edition. Because, affordability.

Photo Dan Toulgoet
Photo Dan Toulgoet


9. Impounded Maserati leads to VPD complaint

What's one more thing most Vancouverites can't afford? A sports car. The driver of this one wasn't so lucky. He claimed an officer abandoned him and his twin four-year-old daughters after he was caught driving double the speed limit in a 50km/h zone. Double the speed limit. The driver's complaint was dismissed. But the story earned reporter Mike Howell ninth place.

Police impounded a Maserati on Southeast Marine Drive in October 2015 after the driver was clocked g
Police impounded a Maserati on Southeast Marine Drive in October 2015 after the driver was clocked going double the speed limit.


10. Spy in the living room: can you trust the Xbox Kinect?

You're a suspicious bunch Vancouver. Former Courier editor Barry Link, who now produces podcasts for Press Play Network, wrote this story way back in 2014 but it's proven consistently popular. Last year, it earned 8th spot on our most-read list, while this year it landed in 10th place.

Xbox Kinect.
Xbox Kinect.


Pass it to Bulis

Pass it to Bulis is our most popular blog. The Courier signed Daniel Wagner and Harrison Mooney to write about the Canucks in 2015, although Mooney was recently replaced by Will Graham. Here are the widely read blog's Top 10 most-read posts of 2016.

  1. Brandon Prust might want to lay low for a while
  2. Jared McCann acted like a 'lonely star,' says Andrey Pedan
  3. Canucks trade Chris Higgins to somewhere, in theory
  4. Report: Canucks may have signed invitee Michael Carcone
  5. Should Canucks fans be worried about Thatcher Demko?
  6. Are the Canucks a bunch of suckers?
  7. Canucks should just sign everyone from University of North Dakota
  8. Who is the Canucks' mystery free agent winger?
  9. Ben Hutton just saved the Canucks season
  10.  Camp Cuts: Canucks cut their two best prospects

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