Toronto Life’s top long-reads of 2022

The highs, the lows, the heroes and the villains: a ranking of our most popular stories of the year

After two years of pandemic-related upheavals, 2022 brought a much-welcome return to relative normalcy. Even so, our most popular long-form features told stories of exceptional people in extraordinary circumstances, from romance scammers and crypto kings to disgraced doctors and feuding billionaire brothers. Plus, Toronto’s first family of cheese, the bizarre world of biohackers, one woman’s heroic escape from an abusive arranged marriage, and more.

Here, our readers’ 10 favourite feature stories of the year.

No. 10: The case of the missing $46 million

One minute, Josh Jones had a fortune. The next, it was gone. Three months later, the FBI had a suspect: a ­reclusive Fortnite-playing hacker kid from the GTA. The untold story of a historic crypto heist

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No. 9: The Ministers of Cheese

The Pristine family—owners of the iconic Cheese Boutique—survived war, starting over in a new country, and now a pandemic. Each time, they emerged with plans for bigger, better, more

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No. 8: Behind the scenes of an $11-billion dollar subway war

The Ontario Line will zip across the core and up to Eglinton, easing gridlock and alleviating TTC misery. It will also plow through peaceful Toronto neighbourhoods, displacing homes, businesses and everything else in its path. That is, unless the residents have anything to say about it

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No. 7: Inside the weird world of cryotherapy, biocharging and fecal transplants

The members of Longevity House are united by two things: a willingness to hand over $100,000 and a burning desire to live forever. Inside the weird world of cryotherapy, biocharging and fecal transplants

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No. 6: The inside story of a real estate nightmare

In 2018, a family-run developer started selling pre-construction townhouses for $400,000. Three years later, they gave buyers a shocking ultimatum: pay $100,000 more or lose your home. 

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No. 5: The twisted mind of a serial romance scammer

Jason Porter was charming, successful and looking for love. What could go wrong? 

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No. 4: How I learned the horrifying truth about my biological father

In 1989, Norman Barwin, a respected fertility doctor, helped my mother get pregnant with donated sperm. Decades later, we discovered that Barwin was secretly inseminating patients with sperm that he had no right to use, including his own

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No. 3: These three brothers scammed their investors out of $223 million. Then they lived like kings

Josh Cartu and his brothers collected race cars, hung out with celebrities and bounced between luxury villas in private jets. But behind their playboy façades was a dark secret: they had thousands of jilted investors and an army of investigators on their tail

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No. 2: Inside a $4 billion family feud

Teodor Libfeld arrived in Toronto with nothing and built a multi-billion-dollar real estate company. When he died, his four sons took over and destroyed the empire he created

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No. 1: I was forced into an arranged marriage at 17

All I ever wanted was to be a normal Toronto teenager. But when I was 17, my parents brought me to Pakistan and married me off to my cousin. How I escaped an abusive relationship and found my way back home

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