Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
From the G20 to the Green Room, from new Toronto slogans to old Toronto photos, from protests that took over our streets to parties that did the same, and from tearjerkers to just plain jerks, here are the articles from 2010 that you, our readers, liked best, judging by how much you all mashed the little “Like” link below each entry.
Illustration by Chloe Cushman/Torontoist.
1 Heroes and Villains 2010
You know this one already: at the end of every year, Torontoist names Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places, and things from the previous twelve months. This year was our largest yet, with nearly thirty Heroes and thirty Villains, each chosen by a different Torontoist contributor and each brought to heroic or villainous life by our illustrators. (We even won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for last year’s.) If you’re reading this before January 1, you can vote now for who or what you think the Superhero and Supervillain of the year oughta be.
Photo by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.
2 G20 Live, Timelines, and Dispatches
It was almost funny before it happened, but by the time the fence was up and the Eternal Flame of Hope was snuffed out, the G20 was already looking rather grim. Then, the weekend came. Throughout it, Torontoist collected updates and photos and videos sent from our writers and photographers on the ground, alongside reports from Christopher Bird and Christopher Drost, who were both accredited for us. Hey, did we mention that one of our own reporters got hit by a cop?
3 A Better Toronto Slogan
We invited you, our readers, to submit what you thought Toronto’s slogan should be—”one that represents and shows off the city as it really is,” as we put it back in July. Our judges got more than one thousand to choose from, and narrowed those down to just ten finalists, which we turned into fake tourism posters, leaving behind a few great also-rans. The eventual winning slogan, “Fall in XO with TO,” was so good that the City of Toronto had already thought of something a lot like it.
Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.
4 Banksy Comes to Toronto
When Banksy showed up in Toronto, Torontoist breathlessly reported on the seven pieces he left behind, then stayed with them as taggers did away with them, birds were plopped atop of them, and innocent local street artists got caught up in the frenzy. While Nick Mount thought about what it all meant, we showed you where to find the seven. Then, months later, we checked in on them all one last time and thought some more about what it all meant.
Created by Marc Lostracco/Torontoist.
5 Make Your Own Rob Ford Funny
Credit where credit’s due: Star photographer Rene Johnston got a great photo of Rob Ford, his umbrella thrown by the wind off to his left side, his right foot ever so lightly lifted off the ground. Torontoist and our readers took it from there, editing our would-be mayor into everything from West Side Story to the Pride Parade (above). So popular was our collection of stupid Rob Ford pictures that even Karen Philby, a tweeter who was actually a puppet for Ford’s campaign, tried to get us to pick on George Smitherman, the candidate she was pretending to support. (“Yikes, can’t wait to see what the folks at @torontoist do to this awkward photo of @g_smitherman.”) We were just teasing, Mr. Mayor.
Photo by Joel Charlebois/Torontoist.
6 Lights Out for the Green Room?, Inside the Closed-Down Green Room, and How the Green Room Got Closed For Good.
There are sixteen thousand restaurants, bars, cafés, food trucks—you name it—in Toronto, and the Green Room was the very worst of the lot, according to Toronto Public Health. Torontoist looked at the shady Annex dive, its mysterious owner, its rat- and cockroach-filled health record, and the hearing that’d force the restaurant to stay shut for good.
7 With Reservations, George Smitherman for Mayor
Torontoist made two endorsements on the weekend before the municipal election: one for voting reform, especially ranked ballots, and the other, reluctantly, for George Smitherman. We don’t remember what happened next.
8 Here Is a Video of a Pigeon Riding the Subway
9 Jack Layton Wants to Make Sure You See Him Celebrating That Goal!
You’re welcome, again.
Photo by D.A. Cooper/Torontoist.
10 How TOSAT Took Over Toronto’s Street Ad Space, and Artists and Activists Perform a Large-Scale Guerilla Street Advertising Hack
On one August day, a group calling themselves the Toronto Street Advertising Takeover replaced dozens of ads with art, and we got the scoop.
11 U of T Plans to School its Languages and Literatures; In Spite of Concerns, U of T Keeps Flirting With SLLUT; and U of T Ditches SLLUT, But Doesn’t Plan for Better Planning
The University of Toronto’s ill-advised School of Languages and Literatures—which would have amalgamated a number of departments into one, changed a few programs to the point where they were unrecognizable, and killed others altogether—was wildly unpopular, to put it mildly. It took all of four months for the U of T community to see to its death.
12 Will Munro, by Bruce LaBruce
“The loss of Will hits so many of us so hard because he was a warrior…someone who was offended by the very idea of being boring and conventional. In his own words, he always said he wanted to see ‘a lot of freak flags flying in Toronto.’ And his, I say with the utmost admiration, was one of the freakiest.” Bruce LaBruce remembers Will Munro, who died of cancer in May.
13 Bell Tolls For Politely Tackled G20 Looter, and Roger Reis Works for Bank of Montreal, and Also Tackles G20 Looters
At first, no one knew his name: there was just a video to go on, of a man wrestling a would-be cellphone thief to the ground at the height of G20 looting, throwing in a “Don’t steal!” for good measure. Then, we found the guy we’d later name a hero: Roger Reis. Even better? He worked for the Bank of Montreal.
Created by Alden Cudanin.
14 Putting Now and Then Back Together Again
Meticulously reshooting an old photo of Toronto, and juxtaposing the two shots alongside one-another to show the dramatic differences between the two? Old news. Alden Cudanin puts the new photo inside the old. We featured fourteen of his greatest creations in January; since, he’s started a regular column on Spacing, where you can see even more.
15 The Urbanaut
TTC collector George Robitaille, who was photographed sleeping at McCowan Station back in January, died in November. In February, Gleebax, our much-admired Urbanaut, lovingly tucked him in.
16 A Different Historical Perspective, and More Then and Now Photos from Erik Mauer
Like Alden Cudanin, Erik Mauer came up with an impressive way to push old and new together: he held the old photos up in front of what the settings they depicted look like today.
17 Brian Burke Honours Late Son With Pride
Brian Burke, the President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, marched this year in the Pride Parade—though not, as he’d planned, with his son Brendan, who came out of the closet in 2009, and died in February of this year.
18 The Party Don’t Start Till She Walks In
Avery Timm is a tweenager from Sarnia who happens to have been born with a rare form of dwarfism. That hasn’t stopped her from making earnest, charming YouTube videos—including what is without a doubt the best “TiK ToK” lip-sync of the last year.
Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.
20 Unseen City: The Shaw Street School
Unseen City spent the year exploring the 311 Toronto Call Centre and the G20 Temporary Detention Centre and Canada’s most powerful computer and the Reference Library. Its very first edition was a glimpse inside the Shaw Street School—built in 1914, shut down by the Toronto District School Board in 2000, and now being repurposed by ArtScape into an “art community centre.”
Photo by Ryan Walker/Torontoist.
21 Toronto Before, During, and After Men’s Hockey Gold
When Canada’s men’s hockey team took gold in Vancouver—in overtime against the United States, no less—Toronto all but exploded. At Yonge-Dundas Square, at the base of the CN Tower, along Yonge Street, inside a Dundas West bar, and on Front Street, Torontoist’s photographers were there, as Toronto waited longingly for gold and then, finally, celebrated their country’s triumph.
22 Let Us Prey
When a congregation from the Highfield Road Gospel Hall ventured out into Leslieville to preach the good word, Leslieville wasn’t having any of it.
22 Rosie DiManno Weighs In on the Ground Zero Mosque, for Some Reason
What with all her recent ass-kicking, you could almost forget that Rosie DiManno can still be totally nutty.
— Torontoist’s Politics Hub
Launched in time for the municipal election, Torontoist’s politics hub broke the city down into its forty-four wards, and explored and explained each one, a project unmatched in scope or ambition anywhere else. There were no articles—just pages, with no “Like” links to be found—but the project was one of the most well-received things we’ve ever done. The hub hasn’t worn out its usefulness now that the election’s over, either, so get exploring.