A look back at the GTA in 2007

<p>A snapshot of some of the stories that made headlines around the GTA in 2007:</p>




Lucas Oleniuk/Torstar News Service


With tears in his eyes, Capt. Gary Kassbaum salutes a memorial poster set up for Ed Mirvish in the storefront window of Honest Ed’s at Bloor and Bathurst streets in July.

A snapshot of some of the stories that made headlines around the GTA in 2007:


>> Following the warmest December on record, Toronto reaches a high of 9.2 C on Jan. 1, breaking the mark for the warmest New Year’s Day by 0.1 C.

>> Health-care workers were not adequately protected during the SARS crisis that killed 44 and infected 375 in the Toronto area in the spring of 2003, says Justice Archie Campbell’s final report of a provincial commission of inquiry.


>>Julie Crocker, 33, and Paula Menendez, 34, are found slain in a Markham home. Crocker’s recently estranged husband, Christopher Little, 35, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

>> Approximately 200 gas stations in the GTA run dry after a fire at an Imperial Oil refinery in Nanticoke, Ont. It’s going to be at least two weeks before filling up is back to normal.

Tony Bock/Torstar News Service

David Beckham walks onto field for the first-pitch ceremonies at Toronto Blue Jays game in August.


>> Toronto is the second-best city in Canada to live in, according to a global survey. For the second straight year, Toronto ranks 15th among cities around the world in overall quality of life, according to the annual review by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

>> For the second time in six months police make a large biker gang bust thanks to a Hells Angel turned informant. The Angels’ downtown headquarters at 498 Eastern Ave., the largest chapter in the country, was at the centre of the major sweep.

>> Toronto faces a financial crisis after Queen’s Park refuses the city’s request for a $71-million budget payment.

>> It was a day of commuter mayhem on Yonge Street after an accident that killed a TTC worker left the busiest line on the system closed between Eglinton and York Mills, stranding thousands of subway riders. Antonio Almeida, 38, the driver for an 11-member maintenance crew, was crushed and two other workers injured.

>> The province quietly bans bureaucrats, political staffers and most MPPs from accessing the popular Facebook website from government computers.

Yvonee Berg/Torstar News Service

Sam The Record Man, the Toronto landmark music store, closed its doors permanently in June.


>> Lorne Park Secondary School rugby player Manny Castillo dies from a brain injury after a reportedly benign encounter in the final seconds of a match two days earlier between his Lorne Park Spartans and Erindale Secondary School. Before Castillo died, Peel police charge a 16-year-old Erindale student with aggravated assault.

>> Hundreds of frightened C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute students take refuge in their classrooms for hours after 15-year-old student Jordan Manners was killed by a single bullet, setting off calls to rid city streets of handguns. Two 17-year-old males are charged with the first-degree murder.

>> A jury of eight women and four men needs less than four hours to find Daniel Sylvester, 33, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Alicia Ross.

>> California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touches down at Pearson International Airport under tight security to begin a three-day trade mission in Canada promoting stem cell research, the environment and California grapes.

>> Like visitors to a shrine, the faithful walk slowly through what remains of Sam the Record Man, a Toronto landmark preparing to close, jotting down notes on the memorabilia that goes up for auction the gold records, signed posters, candy machines and cash registers.

>> David Onley, Ontario’s next lieutenant-governor, plans to use his five-year term to improve accessibility for the disabled.


>> Toronto mourns the death of "Honest Ed" Mirvish, who passed away at the age of 92. Mirvish operated Honest Ed’s at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets for almost 60 years.

>> Ephraim Brown, 11, celebrating a birthday pary in a north Toronto townhouse complex is shot and killed in a crossfire between rival street gangs. Two suspects are charged with first-degree murder of Brown, believed to be Toronto’s youngest fatal shooting victim.

>> In the battle to slash city spending, literature loses out to law and order as the library board votes to close 16 branches on Sundays and cancel the purchase of 14,000 items to help save $1.2 million this year.

>> Two years after the TTC was ordered to announce all stops on its subways, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has given the transit system a month to do the same on buses and streetcars.

>> Property taxes will soar and programs for the city’s needy may be slashed as a result of Toronto council’s decision to defer levying two new taxes, says Mayor David Miller. By a 23-22 vote, councillors put off a decision on levying new land transfer and vehicle registration taxes until Oct. 22.


>> A routine police surveillance operation on the trail of thieves stealing cars and airbags ends in tragedy when Const. Rob Plunkett, 43, is dragged to his death while trying to arrest a suspect on a quiet residential street in Markham.

>> Ross Hammond, 32, of St. Catharines is stabbed on Queen Street West following an argument with panhandlers. Ross later died from his injuries. One of the four panhandlers is charged with second-degree murder.

>> Toronto residents are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than those who live in smaller cities or in rural areas, according to research published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

>> The only youth charged with murdering Jane Creba will be tried on one count of second-degree murder, six of attempted murder and nine firearms offences related to the Yonge Street gunfight on Boxing Day 2005.


>> More than 5,500 people finish a 60-kilometre marathon to raise money for breast cancer research. In total, The Weekend to End Breast Cancer raises $17.3 million for Princess Margaret Hospital.

>> A man is arrested in connection with two dorm-room rapes at York University. The suspect faces five counts of break and enter and two counts each of sexual assault, gang sexual assault and forcible confinement.

>> Premier Dalton McGuinty becomes the province’s first Liberal leader in 70 years to claim a second straight major ity government. McGuinty became the first Liberal leader since Mitch Hepburn in 1937 to win back-to-back Liberal majorities.

David Cooper/Torstar News Service

Toronto Mayor David Miller was at the centre of many battles as city council had to contend with a budget crisis.


>> Toronto city council OK’s new taxes on land transfers and personal vehicles. Council voted by a 26-19 margin to approve the land transfer tax and approved a vehicle registry tax by a 25-20 tally.

>> Toronto earns a C+ on the annual Smog Report Card, a grade that would have been higher had the city’s fiscal crisis not stalled clean-air initiatives, says the Toronto Environmental Alliance.


>> Canadians are flocking to public transit in record numbers, and GTA commuters are helping to drive up the average. Stats by the Canadian Urban Transportation Association show Canadian ridership grew by 3.2 per cent — or 27 million trips.

>> The TTC wants to become the greener way. The commission’s proposed environmental plan would make the TTC the greenest transit system in North America by 2020.


Toronto are now foreign-born, according to 2006 Canadian census figures released, making it more diverse than Miami, Los Angeles or New York City. And immigrants are pouring into the suburbs — Markham shot to 56.5 per cent foreign-born in 2006. Both Mississauga and Richmond Hill climbed past 51 per cent.

>> The Don River is Ontario’s dirtiest river, and one of the worst in Canada. The river scored a lowly 34.8, on a scale of zero to 100, in an Environment Canada calculation of water quality.

>> Mohammad Parvez appears in a Brampton court, accused of killing his daughter, Aqsa Parvez, 16. The victim’s brother, Waqas Parvez, 26, was arrested on a charge of obstructing police. Friends of Aqsa Parvez say the teen had been arguing with her devout Muslim family for months over her desire to shun the hijab, a traditional shoulder-length head scarf.

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