Toronto Life’s 20 most popular stories of the decade

Toronto Life’s 20 most popular stories of the decade

It’s Boxing Day, and you’re probably deep in a post-turkey stupor. Maybe you’re half-buried under a pile of discarded wrapping paper, drinking the dregs from the last carton of supermarket-brand premixed eggnog and wondering if your body and mind will ever recover from the week’s revels.

We can’t help with your body (that’s what the gym is for), but we’ve got your mind covered. Below are the most popular Toronto Life stories of the decade, all of which are free to read online, in their entirety. Take some time to delve into the shocking true-crime tales, stimulating power profiles and poignant personal memoirs. And remember to come back in 2020 for more of the same.


a-daughters-revenge

No. 1: Jennifer Pan’s Revenge

The inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead | By Karen K. Ho | 2015

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Emily Wright
Emily Wright
No. 2: Gone Girl

I was a private school kid from Rosedale—until I ended up on the street | By Emily Wright | 2014

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My Cheating Heart
My Cheating Heart

No. 3: My Cheating Heart

I was bored with my husband, resented my kids and yearned to feel sexy again. I was ready to have an affair. Lessons from my year on Ashley Madison | By Anonymous | 2013

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No. 4: My Beautiful Death

I spent 15 years sanding and grinding mussel shells to create my sculptures. Then I was diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning | By Gillian Genser | 2018

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No. 5: Between Two Worlds

I grew up in ​subsidized housing​ with my mom, ​and spent weekends with my wealthy grandparents at their Bridle Path mansion. If I wanted to be loved, I’d have to learn to live two lives | By Anais Granofsky | 2018

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No. 6: A Doctor’s Deception

For 30 years, Paul Shuen was one of the city’s most respected obstetricians. Then his nurses noticed something unusual about the way he delivered babies. A story of greed, betrayal and medical misconduct | By Michael Lista | 2019

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No. 7: The Skin I’m In

I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black | By Desmond Cole | 2015

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No. 8: A Restaurant Ruined My Life

I was a foodie with a boring day job who figured he could run a restaurant. Then I encountered rats, endless red tape, crippling costs and debt-induced meltdowns, started popping sleeping pills, lost my house, and nearly sabotaged my marriage | By Robert Maxwell | 2017

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Photo by Luis Mora

No. 9: The Good Wife

I was 16 when I was forced to marry a stranger and move from the United Arab Emirates to Canada. Over the next decade, I was isolated, humiliated and assaulted. The whole time, I was planning my escape​ | By Samra Zafar | 2018

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No. 10: The Cult of Jian

I knew him to be a charming, if temperamental, narcissist who desperately wanted to be adored—and he was, until it all came crashing down. Now he’s surrounded by a small circle of admirers who either believe he’s innocent or have forgiven his sins | By Leah McLaren | 2015

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John Hofsess
John Hofsess

No. 11: By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead

Between 1999 and 2001, I helped eight people die, including the poet Al Purdy. Now, as I prepare to take my own life, I’m ready to tell my story | By John Hofsess | 2016

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Marie Henein
Marie Henein

No. 12: The Fixer

Marie Henein is the smartest, toughest, most sought-after defence lawyer in the city. Her tactics kept Michael Bryant out of jail. Now she intends to do the same for Jian Ghomeshi, even if it means ripping apart the testimony of his accusers | By Marci McDonald | 2015

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No. 13: Love and Death

He was a brilliant neurosurgeon. She was a beloved family doctor. Their life seemed like a fairy tale—until her body was discovered in a suitcase by the Humber River. The untold story of Mohammed Shamji and Elana Fric Shamji | By Michael Lista | 2017

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Murder in Muskoka
Murder in Muskoka

No. 14: Murder in Muskoka

For three years, Ian Borbely told everyone that his girlfriend, Samantha Collins, had abandoned him and their young son. Then a cottager found a mysterious crate hidden beneath his floorboards | By Zander Sherman | 2014

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No. 15: The Ravages of Matty Matheson

A night out with the Vice Network star and Parts and Labour chef used to mean coke, whiskey by the pint and public nudity. Then, at age 29, he suffered a catastrophic heart attack | By Courtney Shea | 2016

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Brian Shin
Brian Shin
No. 16: Breaking Brian Shin

Brian Shin was a Bay Street financial whiz with a secret life as a high-volume drug dealer. When he slipped up, he lifted the veil on a powerful criminal underground run by second-generation Asian kids | By Malcolm Johnston | 2014

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The Parlour Game
The Parlour Game

No. 17: The Parlour Game

A behind-the-scenes tour of Toronto’s thriving rub ’n’ tug industry | By Alexandra Kimball | 2013

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Rohinie Bisesar
Rohinie Bisesar
No. 18: What happened to Rohinie Bisesar?

Rohinie Bisesar had an MBA, a network of Bay Street mentors and experience at one of the city’s most prestigious investment firms. Now she’s accused of a grisly stabbing | By Raizel Robin | 2016

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No. 19: The $500-Million Family Feud

Frank Stronach spent decades grooming his daughter, Belinda, to take over his billion-dollar business. Now he wants it back | By Leah McLaren | 2019

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No. 20: Disgraced

I was a young ER doctor with a perfect life: gorgeous wife, three kids and a beautiful waterfront house. Then I got hooked on fentanyl and lost it all | By Darryl Gebien | 2017

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