The (unseasonably hot) last day of summer has arrived in Toronto — bringing with it a chance to look back on the biggest stories of the season.
Let’s start at the beginning. Remember June 21?
The city was still riding high on the Raptors’ NBA Finals win just a week earlier, and the world was gawking at drone footage of the city’s jam-packed victory parade.
On our site, that footage sparked a larger conversation about the fairness of rules for drone operators — and whether they were being enforced vigorously enough.
Other city celebrations also caught your attention this summer.
And don’t forget the celebrity cameos: Taylor Swift helped a Mississauga student pay her tuition, Tom Hanks stopped into a Leslieville coffee shop during TIFF, and Mick Jagger, recovered from recent heart surgery, wowed the crowd at a Rolling Stones show in Oro-Medonte, Ont.
Sex-ed and patronage scandals
Despite an extra long summer break for the Ontario legislature, there were still big stories from the provincial government as well.
Amid an expanding patronage controversy, Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, stepped down in late June.
Then, in August, there was the arrival of revised sexual education curriculum for Ontario students and later, a major wave of criticism for the province for its decision to move forward with municipal funding cuts.
And, most recently, there was a harder look Ontario’s legal cannabis store rollout amid the news that the province lost $42 million selling weed since legalization — a story which stood in stark contrast to the city’s never ending tussles with resilient illegal dispensary chains like Cafe.
Another dominant story this summer: a spike in gun crime in the GTA.
The city watched in horror as 17 people suffered gunshot wounds over the August long weekend, including at a North York nightclub and at a mansion rented on Airbnb on the Bridle Path.
More recently, there was the death of teenager Jonathan Davis, who police describe as an innocent bystander to a “ambush-type” attack that saw a Malton parkette sprayed with bullets.
Other major crime stories this summer included the disturbing deaths of four people in a Markham home in late July.
Sources told CBC that the 23-year-old man charged with murder in that incident sent online messages immediately after, writing that he had “just slaughtered” his entire family.
Though their bodies were eventually discovered in Manitoba, the search for murder suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky also made it to Ontario in early August, when a spike in tips led the provincial police to set up a special team to investigate.
Many of you also searched for more details on the fatal Muskoka boat crash that involved TV personality Kevin O’Leary — though provincial police remain tight-lipped about what happened.
Odds and ends
Finally, there were the oddball stories, which made up some of the most-read articles over the last three months.
There were concerns about fake honey being snuck into Canada, a report on a passenger who was left, asleep, on an Air Canada plane, and a Toronto garage that made its debut on the real estate market for $600,000.
The undisputed winner, however, is the Scarborough homeowner who was told to rip up the artificial turf she’d installed in front of her home because it violated a bylaw.
The fight over turf struck a chord with readers, who left 1,400 comments arguing for and against the fake grass.