Decade in review: Here's a look at the top stories of the last decade
Published Tuesday, December 31, 2019 5:06PM EST
An aerial shot shows the corduroy road in Uptown Waterloo. (@rideIONrt / Twitter)
KITCHENER -- How do you summarize an entire decade of news?
With 2019 now a thing of the past, CTV Kitchener compiled a list of the top stories, by year, of the decade.
Including a maximum of two stories from each year, this list is by no means comprehensive: dozens of other stories, from the rise and fall of RIM to a serial child predator's arrest to the ongoing opioid and addiction issues, have shaped the region over the past 10 years.
After much deliberation and consultation of top-10 lists from years past, here are the top stories in our coverage area from 2010 to 2019.
Top story of 2010: Terri-Lynne McClintic pleads guilty in the death of Tori Stafford
A publication ban was lifted in December 2010, revealing that Terri-Lynne McClintic had pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford.
Stafford disappeared outside her school in April the year before.
McClintic and Michael Rafferty, 30, had been charged a month after she went missing. The girl's remains were found more than 100 km north of her hometown, Woodstock.
A jury found Rafferty guilty in May of 2012 after he initially pleaded not guilty.
McClintic made headlines again in 2019 after it was found that she had been transferred to an Indigenous healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
That decision was ultimately reversed and the woman was sent back to prison in Kitchener.
Victoria 'Tori' Stafford, 8, is seen in this undated image. (Dave Chidley / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
2010 honourable mention: Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue take gold at Vancouver Olympics
With a score of 221.57, Canadian ice dancing duo Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue captured the country's heart at the Vancouver Olympics.
The pair, from Ilderton and London, respectively, took gold. Their chemistry won them audiences around Canada and the pair never forgot their hometown roots.
Over the course of the decade, they’ve gone on to enjoy more skating successes, being named the team of the year and winning another set of gold medals in the PyeongChang in 2018. They had been dancing together for more than two decades.
Virtue became somewhat of an icon, eventually having a Barbie made in her likeness.
The duo announced their retirement in April 2019.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada celebrate during the venue ceremony after winning the gold medal in the ice dance, free dance figure skating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are "stepping away" from the sport. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David J. Phillip
Top story of 2011: Goderich devastated by tornado that leaves 1 dead, 37 hurt
Significant weather is nothing new for towns on the shores of Lake Huron, but in 2011, Ontario's worst tornado in almost 15 years ripped through Goderich, damaging or destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.
Normand Laberge, 61, was working at the Sifto salt mine when the F3 twister touched down.
He had been operating a boat boom nearly 20 metres in the air when the storm hit. He told a coworker that he was getting down at 3:52 p.m.—30 seconds later, he was dead.
A jury issued a number of recommendations after an inquest into Laberge's death began, but the key recommendation called for Emergency Management Ontario to explore the feasibility of a standardized municipal emergency siren system.
The tornado caused nearly $130 million in damage to the town, with repairs still being carried out more than three years later.
In 2014, a Goderich native brought one of her hometown's most traumatic events to the stage with a play called "Cottage Radio."
The path of the tornado scars the landscape in Goderich, Ontario on Monday August 22, 2011. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)
2011 honourable mention: Volunteer firefighters killed on scene of dollar store fire
From the outside, a fire at a Listowel dollar store looked pretty tame, as far as fires go.
Witnesses told CTV at the time that they couldn't see any flames from the street and there was barely any smoke.
But shortly after volunteer firefighters Raymond Walter, 30, and Kenneth Rea, 56, entered the store, the roof gave out. It collapsed, pinning them both inside.
Officials at the time called their rescue "impossible."
Rea had been a volunteer firefighter for 37 years and was a founding member of the Atwood Fire Department.
Walter followed his father when he joined the North Perth Fire Department three years earlier. He was also the vice-president of the Listowel Kinsmen. The organization set up a fund in his name for community projects.
More than 10,000 firefighters were expected at the men’s funeral.
Kenneth Rea, 56, of Atwood, left, and Raymond Walter, 30, of Listowel, are seen in this undated composite image.
Top story of 2012: Ontario's deadliest crash leaves 11 people dead
Almost a dozen people lost their lives after a horrific crash near Stratford in February of 2012.
The driver of a van carrying 13 poultry farm workers, most of whom were from Peru, drove through a stop sign and into the path of an oncoming truck in the tiny hamlet of Hampstead, leaving only three of the workers alive.
The workers had just left a nearby poultry farm. For some of them, it was their first day on the job and one of their first in Canada.
It was later found that the driver, David Blancas, did not have the proper license to transport that many people in the 15-passenger van he was driving.
Juan Ariza, Edgar Sulla-Puma and Javier Abelardo Alba-Medina were the lone survivors of the crash.
The crash prompted calls for an inquiry into migrant working conditions, however it was ultimately decided that, because it was caused by driver error, the crash had no basis for one.
Ariza would ultimately return to Peru after an application to become a permanent resident had sat unanswered for more than half a year, friends of his told CTV back in 2013.
At the time, it was called the deadliest crash in Ontario history.
Ontario Provincial Police and emergency crews investigate a multiple fatal motor vehicle accident near Hampstead, Ontario, Monday, February 6, 2012. (Dave Chidley / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
2012 honourable mention: Lydia Herrle’s "miraculous" recovery after being hit by a garbage truck
The Herrle family name is almost a household one. Thousands of people visit Herrle’s Country Market each summer to stock up on fresh local produce.
So when one of their own was hit by a garbage truck, the community reacted accordingly.
Lydia Herrle was 13 when she stepped off a school bus on Erbs Road.
A garbage truck came down the road and hit the bus. The girl was hit in the process and was thrown 30 feet, suffering brain damage as a result.
She was airlifted to Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and put into a medically-induced coma.
Months of rehabilitation followed as the teen worked to be able to speak, walk and read again.
A year after the crash, the family gave back by volunteering in a fundraiser for brain injury awareness.
"We love being able to give back because receiving is sometimes hard, especially when you are doing it all the time," Herrle’s dad, James, told CTV at the time.
"We have had a year of receiving."
The driver, 38, pleaded guilty to careless driving in the crash.
He told the court he had been reaching for a cigarette and a lighter when he looked up and saw the bus, but was unable to stop in time.
The Herrle family didn’t harbour any ill will toward the man, though.
"The family reached out to him in a very heartfelt way, and he responded to express his remorse to them," his defence lawyer, Bernard Cummings, told CTV at the time.
"He told them how he’s haunted by how he’s robbed the family of their child and those memories."
The man had to pay a $2,000 fine and lost his driver’s license for six months.
Lydia Herrle and her friends enjoy the K-W Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, November 16, 2013. Herrle took part as the parade marshal. Photo taken by Dave Pettitt/CTV Kitchener.
Top story of 2013: St. Jacobs Farmers' Market burns to the ground
An overnight fire ripped through the historic St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in September of 2013.
The fire gutted the building, causing $2 million in damage and closing operations for almost two years.
Fire officials never determined a cause for the fire.
Tiia Planert had a cupcake booth at the market at the time. Hers was one of 60 that were destroyed.
"When the fire happened, it felt like losing a home – like you weren’t going to see your family anymore," she told CTV at the time.
"The support’s been outstanding."
Two years later, the market had a grand reopening, this time unveiling a facility that had sprinklers—there hadn’t been any when the first fire happened.
Those sprinklers came in handy a year later when, in 2016, they went off for another fire.
Fire officials credited them with keeping the fire under control until they could get there to help fight the flames.
While several vendors had their merchandise ruined, the damage was much less than the 2013 fire.
The new building was also designed with accessibility in mind, with wider walkways and elevators.
MyNews user Loren Martin sent in this photo of the aftermath of a fire at St. Jacobs Market near Waterloo, Ont. on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.
2013 honourable mention: The murder of Tim Bosma
Tim Bosma was 32 when he left his house in Ancaster with two men who had asked to test-drive a truck he was selling.
Police say that Bosma was murdered later that night on May 6, 2013. His cellphone would be found in Brantford, his burned remains in Waterloo Region.
His truck was later found in a storage trailer near Vaughan.
Dellen Millard was charged in connection to his death just over a week later. Mark Smich, an Oakville resident, was charged a little more than a week after that.
Both men would be found guilty of first-degree murder in June 2016, after four months of testimony and more than three years after Bosma was killed.
Both men were later convicted in the murder of Laura Babcock.
After the trial, Bosma's widow, Charlenek, started a charity called Tim's Tribute to help support families affected by homicide.
The charity has helped roughly 40 families since it started.
A photograph of Sharlene Bosma and her late husband Tim Bosma (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Top story of 2014: Const. Jennifer Kovach is killed in the line of duty
It was an icy day in March when Jennifer Kovach, 26, answered a call to help a fellow officer. They had pulled over a vehicle in connection to a break-and-enter investigation.
Kovach was driving quickly down Imperial Road in Guelph when she entered a skid, hit a patch of ice and crossed the street and went into the path of an oncoming city bus.
She became the third Guelph police officer to die in the line of duty.
A report found that speed and weather were the main causes of the crash. It found that her cruiser had been travelling at 121 km/h when it entered the curve on Imperial Road.
The vehicle entered a skid and, as she tried to recover from it, hit a patch of ice.
That sent it into another skid which ultimately sent the cruiser in front of the bus. The report showed that her cruiser was going more than 70 km/h when it collided with the bus.
Thousands packed the Sleeman Centre for the woman’s funeral, where she was remembered as a passionate, loving and caring person who was destined to be a police officer.
"As Jennifer would say, do not go where the path may lead – go instead where there is no path and just leave a trail," the woman’s mother, Gloria Kovach, said at her funeral.
Officers from the Waterloo Region Police Service volunteered their time to patrol Guelph so that all Guelph officers could attend the funeral.
Const. Jennifer Kovach is seen in this photo. (Courtesy Guelph Police Service)
2014 honourable mention: Cpl. Nathan Cirillo killed while standing guard at National War Memorial
Army reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa when he was shot by a man who would go on to fire on Parliament Hill.
The Hamilton man was described as was a proud soldier, an animal lover and fitness fanatic. The country was shaken by his death.
Video taken at the scene showed emergency services workers surrounding and performing CPR on the downed Cirillo before loading him onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
Police confirmed he had died later that morning.
Then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the country the same day.
"Cpl. Cirillo was killed today, murdered in cold blood, as he provided a ceremonial honour guard at Canada’s National War Memorial -- that sacred place that pays tribute to those who gave their lives so that we can live in a free, democratic and safe society," Harper said in his address.
Canada’s Sergeant-At-Arms, Kevin Michael Vickers, was hailed as a hero for taking down the accused shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
The man’s mother, Susan Bibeau, said she was devastated for the victims of the attack.
"If I'm crying it's for the people," she was quoted in an article from The Associated Press. "Not for my son."
Thousands of people lined the streets of Hamilton the day of Cirillo’s funeral to pay their respects.
Nathan Cirillo, soldier killed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, in a photo seen on Facebook from Aug. 1.
Top story of 2015: Town celebrates Christmas early for terminally ill boy
When Evan Leversage’s family found out he likely wouldn’t survive until his favourite holiday, his town rallied around him and his family.
The seven-year-old boy suffered from a rare and incurable brain tumour. He wanted to see one last Christmas before he died – and, with his prognosis uncertain, the entire St. George community came together to grant that wish.
The town began to organize a special parade, including artificial snow, Christmas lights and thousands of supporters, but it didn’t stop at the town’s borders.
Leversage became known as "The Boy Who Moved Christmas." He got support from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Ashton Kutcher.
Media coverage of the community support for the boy eventually reached India, where it popped up on the Facebook feed of director Srijit Mukherji.
"The moment I read it, I was so moved. I was actually moved to tears," Mukherji says.
The boy’s mother, Nicole Wellwood, went to India to see the premiere of the movie, called 'Uma.'
While the boy’s life was short, his legacy and his story live on. His family would go on to launch a cancer research fund in his memory.
Evan Leversage, seven, poses in this recent family handout photo. (Shelly Wellwood)
2015 honourable mention: Kitchener man dies after being shot in the chest with a crossbow
Michael Gibbon was 60 when he was shot in the chest with a crossbow bolt.
He was found semi-conscious on the front lawn of a home on Margaret Avenue in October of 2015. Paramedics feared that removing the bolt, which had punctured his heart and lung, could further injure him.
He was pronounced dead an hour after they found him.
Eric Amaral, 30, would later plead guilty to second-degree murder.
Court heard that Amaral had been "experimenting" with his crossbow in Breithaupt Prark when he saw Gibbon – who he did not know – aimed at him and fired a bolt. Knowing he had injured the stranger, Amaral then left the scene.
At the time, he was out on bail and under multiple court orders not to be in possession of a crossbow, a pellet gun, or several other weapons.
Amaral was sentenced to life in prison with the ability to apply for parole after 14 years.
Michael Gibbon seen in this undated file photo.
Top story of 2016: Serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer charged with killing eight patients
In the years leading up to 2016, Woodstock had dealt with its fair share of tragedy.
But nobody expected a registered nurse who worked at a long-term care facility to be charged with—and later convicted of—killing eight of her patients.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer was arrested after comments she made to careworkers at a psychiatric hospital in Toronto, a source familiar with the case told The Canadian Press at the time.
Her victims in Woodstock were James Silcox, 85, Maurice Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90, and Maureen Pickering, 79.
An eighth victim, 75-year-old Arpad Horvath, was killed while Wettlaufer worked at a long-term care facility in London.
Each of them had been injected with a fatal dose of insulin between 2007 and 2014.
Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the deaths in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison with no change of parole.
A public inquiry into her actions was launched in 2018. The findings of that inquiry were released the following year.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted into the courthouse in Woodstock, Ontario on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. (Dave Chidley / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Top story of 2017: Manhunt for the accused killer of Melinda Vasilije
When Melinda Vasilije was found stabbed to death in her Country Hill Drive apartment, her ex-boyfriend became a suspect.
But Ager Hasan, 24 at the time, had disappeared: police believed that he had crossed the border into the United States shortly after her death.
After months on the lam, he was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a traffic stop conducted by the United States Secret Service.
They stopped him as part of an “ongoing counterfeit currency investigation,” WRPS Insp. Mike Haffner told reporters at the time. The Secret Service alleged that Hasan had bought counterfeit money over the dark web.
There were just two sightings of Hasan before his arrest: one in Pennsylvania and another in Tennessee.
An Instagram account belonging to someone claiming to be Hasan had been slightly more active, occasionally posting messages related to the case.
“I’m coming home. It’s time to end the dark path I’ve been traveling and give people the closure they deserve,” the most recent post before his arrest read.
At the time of the arrest, Haffner said, Hasan was driving the same 2016 Honda HR-V he had left Canada with, bearing stolen license plates from the state of Arkansas.
Hasan was under court order not to be in contact with Vasilije and not to be in Waterloo Region.
The accused has been charged with second-degree murder. None of the allegations against him have been proven in court.
Melinda Vasilije seen in this undated file photo.
Top story of 2018: The Sprucedale house explosion
It was summer of 2018 when a quiet neighbourhood was rocked by a massive house explosion.
The house on Sprucedale Crescent belonged to Udo and Edra Haan, a husband and wife.
Edra Haan was found deceased. Her death has since been ruled a homicide. Her husband, who was critically hurt in the explosion, has been charged with her death. His case is still before the courts.
A family dog was also found dead after the explosion.
Sixteen homes were evacuated after the blast, which left the Haans’ house a pile of rubble.
Neighbours blocks away said they felt the explosion.
"I actually thought that an airplane had crashed in my backyard," neighbor Rick Berenz told CTV at the time.
The community spent weeks trying to come to terms with what had happened.
Brook Greenhalgh and his family launched an online campaign, saying, "We need to come together as a community: to cry, hug, laugh, talk, listen, and heal."
They had an idea they hoped the community would get behind.
"We would like to offer families a bench as a simple gesture of kindness, love and hope, so we may all start to move forward together," they wrote on their GoFundMe page.
"These benches will hopefully encourage people to walk, rest, and visit with each other. We believe this is one step towards rebuilding our community."
The City of Kitchener also donated 10 wooden benches and set aside $5,000 for future streetscaping projects.
The aftermath of the explosion at Sprucedale Crescent. The house was completely destroyed, and the adjacent homes also caught fire. (WRPS / Twitter)
2018 honourable mention: Toddler Kaden Young dies after van goes into Grand River
A van went into the Grand River near Belwood in February of 2016. Inside, a mother and her toddler.
Police say the mother was able to hold on to her son briefly, but he was pulled from her arms into the water. Kaden Young, three, was swept away with the current.
More than 150 volunteers turned out in an effort to find him. Two months later, after a search of 13 kilometres of river, his body was discovered by a fisherman in Belwood.
Hundreds attended the boy’s public funeral. The boy’s death inspired a citizen-led search and rescue team as well as the addition of guardrails near the site of the crash.
Months after the boy’s death, though, there was a startling development: the boy’s mother, Michelle Hanson, was charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
The dangerous driving causing death charge was since dropped because it was "duplicitous," her lawyer told CTV at the time.
According to documents from family court proceedings, the OPP toxicology screens showed that Hanson allegedly tested positive for Percocet, OxyContin, cocaine and alcohol.
Hanson’s case is still before the courts. None of the allegations against her have been proven in court.
Kaden Young seen in this undated file photo.
Top story of 2019: The Launch of the LRT
While much has happened over the last 10 years, nothing has been as constant a story as the LRT.
Controversial from its inception, the road to the Ion was not always a smooth one.
The light rail faced a number of delays leading up to its launch. From manufacturing issues at Bombardier to the discovery of the corduroy road in Uptown Waterloo, the 18 km stretch of phase one had its fair share of unforeseen problems.
But when all was said and done, the region said that the $868 million that went into building the LRT actually saved the region money.
The region says it would have cost $1.4 billion to build another 500 km of roads in the region to accommodate the growth. The Ion essentially eliminated that need.
The LRT has also attracted growth, bringing in a reported $3.28 billion in economic development along its 19-km track.
While some payment issues persist, the region says the Ion has seen promising ridership numbers since its launch earlier this year.
Now, Cambridge will await its own phase of construction, a promise that’s since come into question after the provincial government cancelled funding for the Hamilton LRT project.
2019 honourable mention: Former Kitchener neurologist accused of sexually assaulting more than 60 patients
A former Kitchener physician has been charged in what could be the biggest sexual assault cases of its kind in Canada.
Jeffrey Sloka was a neurologist who spent years practicing at Grand River Hospital. He had his license revoked in April after five patients complained about him to the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Then, in September, police charged him with 34 counts of sexual assault against separate alleged victims between 2010 and 2017.
The executive director of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region says this is the biggest sexual assault case in the centre’s history.
“This is definitely the biggest sexual assault investigation that we’ve seen in our community and possibly much more broadly,” Sara Casselman told CTV at the time of the newest batch of charges.
Sloka’s case is ongoing. None of the allegations against him have been proven in court.
Jeffrey Sloka seen here in this undated file photo.
With files and reporting from dozens of other people from the CTV News network, the Canadian Press and the Associated Press.