Year in Review: Biggest Vancouver news stories of 2016
Thank god that’s over with.
2016 was a big year for bad news with celebrity deaths, political shocks, and a certain American President-elect dominating the headlines.
It was also a big year in Vancouver where everything from pipeline protests to Prince William caught readers’ attention over the past 12 months.
So as we get ready to say adieu to another year, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest Vancouver news stories – a trip down memory lane before we head into 2017.
Right, let’s get this one out of the way with shall we? Yes it wouldn’t be a year in Vancouver without the prerequisite barrage of real estate stories. From soaring prices to shadow-flipping, via people living in their trucks and foreign buyers taxes, it’s been another big year for real estate news in BC.
- Renting is as out of reach as owning for many in Vancouver
- Foreign homebuyers tax comes into force
- This map shows the average price of a home in every major Canadian city
- BC government to introduce assistance program for first-time home buyers
Squamish Music Festival cancelled
Music fans were left disappointed this summer as the annual Squamish Festival was cancelled at the last moment. The event, which was one of Canada’s largest music festivals, attracted more than 120,000 revellers in 2015 and its absence left a gaping hole in the region’s live music scene.
The environment has been at the heart of some of 2016’s biggest headlines with the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline front and centre in many of the city’s biggest debates. After much wrangling, Justin Trudeau confirmed that he had green-lit the controversial project in early December, which led thousands of Vancouverites to take to the streets in protest.
- Kinder Morgan pipeline approved by Justin Trudeau
- Thousands protest Kinder Morgan pipeline in Vancouver
- Kinder Morgan pipeline approval ‘profoundly’ disappointing, says Vancouver mayor
- Opinion: Why pipelines are bad news for BC
Protestors weren’t the only ones taking to the streets in 2016 as thousands of Vancouverites flocked to get a glimpse of the Royals as they visited Canada for the first time since 2011. This was Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s first visit to Vancouver as a married couple, and this time they even brought their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, along for the ride.
- PHOTOS: William and Kate’s day in Vancouver
- VIDEO: William and Kate draw huge crowds in Vancouver
- Prince George and Princess Charlotte become Canucks fans
- VIDEO: Shy Prince George leaves Justin Trudeau hanging in high-five
The wintery weather made headlines across the city this December as Mother Nature dumped mounds of the white stuff on Vancouver. The snow was great news for the local mountains but less welcome in the city causing transit chaos, cancelled classes, and controversy over the appropriate use of an umbrella.
- PHOTOS: Vancouver wakes up blanketed in snow
- PHOTOS: Snow causes commuter chaos throughout Vancouver
- VIDEO: Snowboarder enjoys epic ride in Vancouver snow
- Opinion: Hey Vancouver, umbrellas aren’t for snow
One of the most persistently tragic stories of 2016 has centred on our city’s overdose crisis. Vancouver has been in the grip of an opioid epidemic with overdose deaths caused by fentanyl an almost daily occurrence. In fact fentanyl-related deaths are up more than 211% compared to 2015 and the situation has grown so dire that it’s been declared a public health emergency and a new tax has been implemented to help tackle the fallout.
- Fentanyl deaths up 211% since 2015
- Drug that’s 100 times more potent than fentanyl found in Vancouver
- 128 people died from drug overdoses in November
- City of Vancouver will raise property tax to fight fentanyl crisis
- Mothers of opioid overdose victims speak out
From 420 to legalization, via the continued battle on legislating Vancouver’s ever growing array of pot shops, Mary Jane has been a mainstay of the media in 2016.
- 2nd Vancouver pot shop gets business licence
- Legalization of marijuana backed by 62% of Canadians: study (POLL)
- Government unveils Canada’s pot plan
Prime Ministerial pride
There was a lot for Vancouver to feel proud about during this year’s Pride festival. It felt like the whole city was out in force at the annual event but most eyes were focussed on one man as Justin Trudeau became the first sitting Prime Minister to march in the Vancouver Pride Parade. “It’s a time where the whole city and families and communities come out. We celebrate the great diversity that is such a strength of our country. We celebrate community, we celebrate family, and all these things together means that we’re going to have a great Pride, and it’s a pleasure for me to be here,” Trudeau said before the parade started.
Snow flurries weren’t the only weather news to hit the headlines over the past 12 months. In October, Vancouver also battened down its hatches as a big wind storm approached the BC coast. The storm, which was fuelled by the remnants of Typhoon Songda, took a late turn saving the city from the worst of the windspeeds. However the storm still caused its fair share of chaos and tragically caused the death of a student on their way home from school in Surrey.
People took to the streets in protest in 2016, but they also took to the streets in search of Psyducks, Snorlaxes and Squirtles. Yes, we are of course talking about Pokemon GO, the fad which gripped Vancouver, and the world, by the pokeballs for much of this summer.
- Gotta catch em’ all: Pokémon GO takes over Vancouver
- Pokémon GO player sets off alarm after wandering onto SkyTrain tracks
- The ultimate Pokemon Go Metro Vancouver locations list
Racist parking video in Abbotsford
This video went viral after it showed a racist assault after a parking altercation in Abbotsford. The footage caused shock among readers who flooded the comments section to condemn the individual who was later arrested by the authorities.
- VIDEO: “Go back to f**king India”: Racist altercation in Abbotsford over parking spot
- ‘This just has no place”: Abbotsford reacts to racist attack
- Man caught on camera in Abbotsford racist altercation turns himself in to police
Tsawwassen Mills congestion
The much-anticipated opening of the new 1.2 million square foot Tsawwassen Mills outlet shopping mall was greeted with enthusiasm by shoppers, 284,000 of which passed through its doors during the opening week. However shoppers got more than they bargained for as traffic congestion led to huge delays in the region with some shoppers taking more than four hours just to get out of the parking lot.