With the arrival of 2024, Global News is taking a moment to reflect on the year that was and the stories that garnered interest in Calgary and throughout southern Alberta.
The province’s globally revered mountain parks were the scene of several tragedies, stark reminders of the risks of wildlife encounters and the mountains themselves can pose. When looking at the most-viewed online stories published on the Global News Calgary website in 2023, it was clear those stories resonated with our readers.
Global News Calgary’s most-viewed online story of 2023 involved the late September deaths of two people — later identified as Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse, both 62 years old and from Lethbridge — and their border collie. The couple and their dog were killed in their tent by an aggressive grizzly bear in a remote section of Banff National Park, near the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch in the Red Deer River Valley.
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The grizzly was located and fatally shot after charging at members of Parks Canada’s wildlife human attack response team who responded to the couple’s distress message, “Bear attack bad,” sent from their Garmin inReach device.
Parks Canada confirmed the geriatric 25-year-old female bear was malnourished and had bad teeth, but what spurred the fatal attack will likely never be known.
Crowsnest Pass RCMP locate bodies of 2 missing hikers
Jonah Swen and Greg Gaudette were hiking the North York Creek Plane Crash Trail in the Crowsnest Pass on July 26. When they failed to return that night post-hike, a loved one notified RCMP and a search was initiated.
The search for the hikers involved multiple agencies including RCMP, Alberta Conservation, Alberta Forestry, Alberta Parks and Ascent Helicopters, as well as the B.C., Southern Alberta Regional and Lethbridge search and rescue organizations.
Search and rescue members located their bodies the next evening at the bottom of a ridge at Mount Coulthard and their remains were recovered by helicopter.
The RCMP have not confirmed the events that led to the deaths of Swen and Gaudette but the fatal incident has been deemed accidental. “There is nothing suspicious,” RCMP spokesperson Gina Slaney told Global News in late July.
Global News Calgary online journalist Adam Toy took a comprehensive look into the issue of affordable housing in the city in his feature piece published in August.
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Highlight’s of his coverage included:
- In the summer, City of Calgary data indicated rental rates had increased citywide by 25 per cent over the last year.
- A city taskforce found that one-in-10 Calgary households are at risk of homelessness and more than 80,000 households were spending more than a third of their income on housing.
- A major factor in the lack of affordable housing was increased demand caused by the migration of “hundreds of thousands” of people to Calgary, with many of the newcomers enticed by “comparatively low housing prices” relative to the prices in larger cities including Toronto and Vancouver.
As of Dec. 20, there had been 97 shootings reported to the Calgary Police Service in 2023. Chief Constable Mark Neufeld says the number is approximately 20 per cent less than the number of shootings in 2022.
While shootings are down, there were several high-profile incidents where shots were fired during the day with members of the public potentially in harm’s way. The concerning shootings included:
Nov. 13 – Rami Hajj Ali was fatally shot on the afternoon of Nov. 13 in the Trans Canada Centre parking lot. Two teen brothers were initially arrested and charged, but their charges were later stayed and they were released. The Calgary Police Service issued an apology and RCMP are investigating the actions of police. As of Dec. 29, no one else has been charged in connection with the investigation.
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Oct. 27 – A drive-by shooting in the northeast neighbourhood of Pineridge injured a teacher from a nearby school who was visiting a co-worker who lived in the area.
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Oct. 18 – Shots were exchanged between two suspects and police in the McKnight Village Shopping Centre parking lot during an attempted arrest of a wanted man. One of the suspects was shot dead while the other was arrested and charged in connection with two shootings in September. A bullet punctured the door of a barber shop in the complex.
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Edmonton restaurant chain PrimeTime Donair wins auction over unique costume
Danielle Smith and donair costume stroll around Taste of Edmonton
For a bit of levity, Albertans couldn’t seem to wrap their heads around the multi-week bidding war that ensued over the surplus auction for a full-body sized donair costume.
The opening bid of $50 was outmatched in short time as dozens of Albertans, with undisclosed plans for the pita, meat and toppings suit, submitted offers. It soon became apparent that several donair restaurants from across Canada coveted the costume and the bids began to skyrocket.
When the auction closed, Adil Asim, the Edmonton-based owner of PrimeTime Donair, proved victorious and handed over $16,025 for the wearable ode to the wrap, complete with replica meat, onions, tomatoes, donair sauce and lettuce.
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