Year in Review: Toronto’s 10 big winners of 2013
Plenty of Toronto’s celebrities, politicians, business leaders and sports stars are doing very well for themselves, but each year there are a few who rise above the rest by capturing imaginations both at home and around the world. Who managed to do that in 2013? Here’s our list of 10 Torontonians—seven humans and three animals—who seized everything the year had to offer.
If there’s one thing Canadians are good at, it’s being smug when one of our actors gets international acclaim. So let’s be smug right now. Saskatchewan’s Tatiana Maslany blew people’s minds with her acting chops on BBC America’s Orphan Black, a sci-fi television series that’s filmed in Toronto. In the show, she plays seven different clones with wildly different personalities. Maslany received some well-deserved recognition this year, with a Critics’ Choice Television Award, a People’s Choice nomination and a Golden Globe nomination, among other distinctions.
It’s 2013, and one of the world’s most successful rappers is, incredibly, a Jewish guy from Forest Hill whose name is Aubrey. Drake’s year was a great one by almost any measure: he released a new album, inked a “global ambassador” deal with the Toronto Raptors and hosted one of Toronto’s best hip-hop concerts ever. His music may not be for everyone, but his influence is undeniable, and he’s possibly Toronto’s single biggest fan. We’re not even joking: the guy has a “416” tattoo on his torso.
- Remember when space used to be boring? Neither do we, but when Chris Hadfield is involved, it’s bound to be more exciting than ever. Over the course of a year, this übermensch proved that he’s not just the world’s best astronaut, he’s also a rock god, a social-media guru, an author and an all-around good dude. Everyone wants a piece of this guy, but we’re going to point out that he was raised in Milton, Ont., so technically we can call him a Torontonian.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, purveyor of inadvisable ideas, has been pushing for China to send giant pandas to Toronto since the beginning of time. It turns out he was actually on point about something. The Toronto Zoo saw a sizeable increase in attendance and revenue this summer, thanks in no small part to these cute (but totally uncuddly) puffballs. Let’s face it: pretty soon we’re all going to get bored of watching them do nothing but eat bamboo all day. Let’s allow them their moment of glory.
The unbelievable antics of a certain Toronto mayor fed citywide fantasies about what life would be like if somebody else was in charge. This year, Olivia Chow emerged as a beacon of hope, and big names are already endorsing her for mayor, even though she hasn’t yet announced whether or not she’ll run. Recent polls suggest that she could win a mayoral election, but there’s still plenty of time for the race to get hella weird (and there’s no doubt that it will).
It was a landmark year for Robert Deluce, CEO of Porter Airlines. In the spring, Porter announced a controversial and game-changing plan to become a national airline (provided that it can navigate the bureaucracy involved in trying to bring jets to the island airport). Porter was also named the best small airline in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, proving irrefutably that complimentary beer is a guaranteed model for success in business. That said, with a contentious vote on Porter’s expansion proposal expected in the new year, 2014 may turn out not to be as great for Deluce as 2013 was.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but 2013 was the year that Milos Raonic officially became the greatest Canadian tennis player of all time. He was the first Canadian ever to crack the ATP top 10, and he was also the first Canadian in 55 years to make it to the finals of the Rogers Cup (he was beaten handily by Rafael Nadal, but we still love him). He’s only 22 years old, but he has one of the biggest serves in tennis, so we’re expecting an even brighter future for this one.
You know you’re in need of a better home when your family suits you up in a parka designed for a completely different species and then somehow loses you in an Ikea parking lot. Thankfully, after his bizarre incident in North York last year, Darwin the macaque (otherwise known as the Ikea Monkey) was placed in a sanctuary where he could learn “how to be a monkey again.” His former owner tried to get him back, but a judge ruled earlier this year that Darwin should remain at the sanctuary, which is probably best for everyone involved.
Toronto is producing some of the best basketball players on the planet right now, and never was this more apparent than when Anthony Bennett was chosen as the number-one overall draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. And we have more to look forward to: Thornhill phenom Andrew Wiggins—the most hyped young basketball player in years—has a good chance of becoming the NBA’s number-one draft pick next year.
RELATED: Check out our list of 2013’s losers »