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What Ottawa was obsessed with in 2018 (a year-end list)

Still shot from Hydro Ottawa aerial footage showing tornado damage on Greenbank Road in September 2018.

Here’s our annual list of things that Ottawa was obsessed with in 2018. These themes chronicle life in this city for the past year, for better or for worse. You can read previous year-end lists here.


This has been featured perennially in our year-end articles, not just because Ottawans love talking about it but also because crazy things keep happening. In 2016, it was a 51-centimetre snowfall. In 2017, it was devastating floods. This year, it was the outbreak of two tornadoes in the Ottawa region. One touched down in Dunrobin and caused widespread damage there and in Gatineau for about 40 minutes – another touched down in Nepean and ended up hitting the Merivale Hydro One substation, knocking out power to about 430,000 people. Power was out to most of the city for days.

Light rail

Ottawa’s LRT was supposed to open in 2018. It did not.

The current guesstimate is that the $2-billion-Confederation Line will open in Q1 2019.

LeBreton Flats and Eugene Melnyk (again)

The plan to redevelop LeBreton Flats fell apart late this year and currently the now-former business partners involved, Eugene Melnyk and John Ruddy, are firing gigantic lawsuits in the other’s direction. The RendezVous LeBreton vision is now in tatters, with no clarity on what will happen next.

(Also Karlsson got traded.)

Elections, elections

Ottawa residents participated in two elections this year that saw some turnover in Ottawa’s political scene. The June provincial election saw multi-term Liberal MPPs (and cabinet ministers) Yasir Naqvi and Bob Chiarelli turfed.

The October municipal election saw nearly a third of council changed, with seven new councillors elected.

Pot shops

While rankled due to lack of control over placement, city council decided to allow cannabis stores to open in Ottawa. After the council decision, the province released a surprise announcement that it would phase-in cannabis stores and only allow 25 to open as of April 1, to be decided by a license lottery. It is unclear how many will open in Ottawa during the phase-in period.

Animal antics

Whether it was a turkey on the loose downtown, a moose on the highway or a killdeer holding up Bluesfest, animals held a special place in Ottawa’s heart and mind this year.


At the end of each year, we like to make a tongue-in-cheek prediction for the one to follow: Farm Boy will start selling farm-fresh cannabis. (So you can get high the Farm Boy way!)

Any other Ottawa 2018 obsessions you’d like to highlight? Tell us in the comments below.