Year in Review: seven of Toronto’s biggest losers of 2013
During 2013, some of this city’s leaders, sports stars and entertainers suffered setbacks on such an epic scale that their shortcomings can almost be said to have defined the year. Here’s our list of seven Torontonians who—whether because of some sort of wrongdoing, or as a result of sheer bad luck—managed to captivate us (and, in some cases, the entire world) with their misadventures. (Be sure to check out our Winners of 2013, too.)
We thought it couldn’t get any worse for the mayor when he was booted from office last year. Then 2013 happened. He’s become so infamous that it’s almost unnecessary to include him on a list like this, Mr. Mayor, stop saying things. Stop doing things. You’re in hibernation. You’re Buddha under the Bodhi tree for the next 10 months, until you’re quite possibly re-elected. We just want to say that while everyone keeps bringing up the Chris Farley resemblance, our money is on Rosie O’Donnell to play the lead role in the inevitable biopic.
Child celebrities usually aren’t very good at the whole “growing up” thing, so we’re not surprised that Justin Bieber has morphed from an adorable teeny-bopper into a spitting, brawling, perpetually shirtless bro who drops gang signs and hangs out at places like Cabana Pool Bar. Plus, prostitutes. Sure, it was a year of bad press for the Biebs, but at least he didn’t end up twerking for Robin Thicke.
Toronto sports fans will take just about any excuse to get their hopes sky high, but R.A. Dickey seemed to be a legitimate cause for optimism this year. The Cy Young Award-winning pitcher not only has a beautifully wonky knuckleball, he’s also an all-around cool guy (apparently, he listens to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars when warming up). What we ended up with was a 4.21 ERA and an ugly, ugly season for the Jays. Still, that’s not going to stop us from counting on a turnaround in 2014.
Brian Burke’s string of personal woes only got worse this year when he was suddenly and unceremoniously fired as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then the post-Burke Leafs ended up making the playoffs for the first time in nine years, which must have added some salt to the wound, even if Burke was given partial credit for the feat. The silver lining for Burke, of course, is that he was later recruited by the Calgary Flames—although they’re currently in second-last place in the Pacific Division.
The puffy dinosaur known as The Raptor is without question one of the funniest, hardest-working mascots in the NBA. So it was a serious blow to Toronto’s morale when news broke that giant dino would be out for the season due to an Achilles tendon injury. Seriously, who’s going to gobble up wayward cheerleaders now? Who’s going to give us more Internet gold like this? Stripes, the new understudy, has some big shoes to fill.
While he was head of the TDSB, the former CFL running back was a role model. Then, he got busted for plagiarizing passages in an article he wrote for the Toronto Star in January. He promptly admitted his wrongdoing, but in the ensuing uproar it was revealed that the one instance was just a sample of Spence’s much bigger problems with academic honesty. He ended up resigning from his post as a result of the scandal, and later admitted that his life pretty much sucks now, which is a very sad thing, both for Spence and for those who admired him.
Toronto hates change more than anything else. Take away a dilapidated record store sign, and the entire city loses its mind. This preservation mentality puts people who want to change the city, like David Mirvish and Frank Gehry, in an awkward position. They’re getting a lot of flack, both from residents and from city officials, for their proposal to revamp a block of King Street West, because it would raze four heritage buildings. We hold out hope that the innovative buildings may fare better, along with both of these urban dreamers, in 2014.