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Heroes and Villains 2009: Heroes

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2009—the very best and the very worst people, places, and things in and of Toronto over the past twelve months. This week, Torontoist unmasks our picks, complete with original art by our illustrators; starting next week, and continuing until the end of the year, you can vote for your favourite Heroes and Villains as they face off in a single-elimination tournament which, at its end, will leave one Superhero and one Supervillain standing.


  • http://undefined Matthew

    Out of this list of nominations I’ve have to vote for the 5 cent bag fee for Hero of 2009, just edging out the billboard bylaw update, since its still too soon to see the effect of that.
    But, I’m going with the 5 cent bag fee because that’s the one thing on this list that has had the most positivive impact on me and how I view the city.
    The villians, on the other hand, it’s going to be pretty tough to figure out which one has had the most villianous impact.

  • http://undefined W. K. Lis

    The 5¢ bag fee for villain of 2009. The bylaw says the stores are to supply paper bags for free. The only one has been the LCBO, so far. It has turned out to be a tax, if you forget to bring a bag with you.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    The illustrations are fantastic! I think “Roy Halladay” is my favourit, but I also like Captain Scramble Intersection and the nod to the supposed “war on the car”.
    Voting will be next to impossible.
    and W.K. Lis used the t-word, oh noes.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    Yay for taxing bad behaviour!

  • mccool

    i welled up a couple times perusing this list. i love this city so goddamn much and there are many aspects of it to be proud of. great job, torontoist!

  • http://undefined Svend

    Plenty of interesting choices but more than half of the nominations weren’t worth reading about.
    I’ll go with David Miller, he spent a lot of his own political capital standing up for issues he believed would make a better Toronto.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    I probably would have supported Miller for Hero of 2009 until Toronto “won” the 2015 Pan Am games. I predict that is going to be a completely worthless debacle.

  • Kevin Bracken

    Much of this list is made up of things that are somehow in decline or over. To that end, I would have suggested The Big Bop for Heroes

  • Ashley Carter

    Don’t worry, Kevin… I’ve got the death of the Big Bop coming up as a villain.

  • http://undefined Green Sulfur

    I suppose Miller could have refused to budge at all on the Pan Ams but instead Miller demanded that the city not be on the hook for any cost overruns and that infrastructure go to the places its most needed, namely the waterfront and Scarborough. He achieved those things. So I really don’t see how Miller is the one to be held responsible for this. Applying for them wasn’t even his idea.

  • rek

    I’m caught between the Billboard Tax Bylaw, the CBC, Citizen Lab, and Mark the Trash Guy. I’m not sure some of the nominees warrant “Hero” status though; they might be neat, but disappearing/closing/dying doesn’t make them heroic.

  • Kevin Bracken

    Ashley > Nice!

  • http://undefined ClaireBot

    You guys forgot to put ringette as the hero. Ringette is the best hero, and I love ringette. It made this year great the same way it made every year great – by being the fastest game on ice.

  • http://undefined Svend

    Mark the Trash Guy is my second choice, he’s probably the most selfless of them all.

  • http://undefined Craig C

    This is a great list with fantastic artwork! Nice work guys! I think my vote will have to go towards the plastic bag bad habit tax. My only complaint with that is there is no requirement for retailers to use that money for good and not evil.
    As for the artwork, the wildlife one is just hilarious! Just one quick question though. Why are Roy Halladay’s sleeves and hat green? I’m going to miss watching him pitch.

  • http://undefined rek

    I can’t vote for the Plastic Bag Fee because it doesn’t do anything and doesn’t make sense. You pay 5¢ extra but there’s nothing to show for it because the store doesn’t pass it on to city beautification, park maintenance, or even the BIA. We’re (ever so slightly) rewarding businesses for the bad habits of their patrons.

  • http://undefined Cathoo

    Oooh, some very tricky choices!
    I miss Martin Streek. It’s sad that some people don’t get recognized for their contributions until they’re gone.

  • http://undefined Rachel Lissner

    Not that I was here for the blackout or the blackout block party on Ossington, but I think it deserves a shout out. It really shows the great character of the city (or at least its citizens).
    It isn’t hero material, but it was a nice moment in the year.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    While I’m pretty skeptical that the city will be off the hook for direct costs, there is no way that anyone but the city is going to be paying for indirect costs like this:–ttc-seeks-costly-no-strike-deal?bn=1
    And for what? So a bunch of the corporate elite can have a nice party and the Waterfront Corporation can cash in?

  • http://undefined Christine Thompson

    I love ringette as much as every single one of these heros, maybe even more.

  • http://undefined David

    I would like to nominate another Hero for 2009 – Torontoist! I’m sure I speak on behalf of the whole community here when I say how grateful I am you guys are still around after last year’s scare. Thanks! *raises glass* To continued prosperity for Torontoist in 2010!

  • Patrick Metzger

    Is that you, Topping?

  • CanadianSkeezix

    How can it be a tax when no money goes to the public treasury? The by-law simply states that retailers can’t give away plastic bags for free, and establishes a minimum price. That’s not a tax. If you are going to be critical, at least get your facts straight.

  • CanadianSkeezix

    Given the reduction in plastic bag use, I’m not sure how anyone can say that the fee doesn’t do anything. From a legal perspective, had the City tried to keep the 5 cents for parks or whatnot, the fee would likely have been overturned by the courts, so we wouldn’t have even gotten the plastic bag reduction.
    Businesses now charge for bags directly, rather than indirectly as they did in the past. Not sure why this is a bad thing.

  • David Topping

    I pinky-swear it’s not.

  • http://undefined piccola

    I’m voting for the bag fee, even though I wish the 5 cents were going to something like green spaces. (Not sure what the logistics would be, though.) Anything that makes people think twice about plastic bags is good in my book.
    Runner-up: The Toronto Public Library. The new Gladstone branch is well-stocked, accessible and shockingly popular.

  • David Topping

    Voting for Heroes opened today, and there are four rounds, right up until the new year. You can always find the latest round of Heroes voting at this URL:

  • http://undefined Heather

    Mark the Litter Guy – absolutely selfless and truly a good guy.

  • http://undefined Sandinista

    I second the nomination. We need Torontoist! More and better news/commentary = a healthier city.

  • Md Ohidullah