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2014 in Review: Alberta’s Top 10 Headlines

Political mayhem, wild weather, ambitious engineers, and – for better or worse – hockey. There’s always a little something for everyone in the news in Alberta, and this year was no exception. Take a look back at the year that was (and is still unfolding) with our review of the best Alberta headlines of 2014

Reporting on the news in Alberta might not be the most riveting job in the world, but hey, it’s probably better than doing it in Saskatchewan.

So no, we don’t have any riots to report on, but we still think there were some pretty exciting news stories this year.

From party politics gone wild to a freak storm in September, we count it all down headline by headline to give you a complete run-down of the year that was in our fine province.

Alberta Bars Open at 5 a.m. for Gold Medal Hockey Game
In a move that would have been controversial on any other day, the Alberta Government announced that on Sunday, February 22, bars across the province were allowed to open and serve alcohol to hockey fans before breakfast. Doors had to be closed at 2:00 a.m. as usual, but that didn’t stop partiers from performing all-nighter pre-game sessions, and coming right back three hours later. This may well have been Redford’s best gift to the province, as the support of the fans helped Team Canada to a gold medal, which we’re sure prompted the sale of a few more suds as the day progressed. Cheers to that.

Alison Redford Spends Too Much and Steps Down
It all happened so quickly: an educated, engaging leader with an impressive resume in all things democratic falls on her own sword in a spending scandal. We had high hopes for Redford as Alberta’s first female premier, but less than two years after her election she made history again by serving the shortest term that office has ever seen. Lessons learned: it’s fine, and some would say admirable, to go on trips and occasionally bring your children, but just pay for it yourself next time. The rest of us do.

Calgary Man Shortlisted for Mars Trip
Leave it to Calgary, a city teeming with engineers, to breed a future (possible) inhabitant of Mars. 31-year-old Zac Trolley is one of 1000 people from around the world who still have hopes of colonizing the red planet in 2025, providing the Mars One projects receives the funding it needs for the revolutionary project. So Calgary ladies, if you see Zac Trolley on e-Harmony and he’s talking long-term, it might be worth a chat about space travel.

Flames and Oilers Lose Again
This wasn’t so much one headline as a bunch of headlines, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a news story. It’s been a few years since either team has seen any real success, despite promising young talent and changes in management.

Maybe this season’s coaching decisions will mean a playoff berth for at least one of Alberta’s teams, but we’re not holding our breath.

Cheap Gas for Everyone!
When Shell stations played a brilliant marketing game with us to mark their thirtieth anniversary in Alberta, we all loved it. 40 cents/litre gas for one day was fun, but the unrelated falling price of fuel that has followed the stunt may not be for many in Alberta. Some argue that the oil and gas industry that keeps the province moving is resilient and will be able to withstand the global drop in demand, but the government is taking a more cautious stance and preparing for tougher times.

Jim Prentice Shakes Things Up
This is another one that is still playing out as we speak, but we’re predicting this season will bring an even bigger party to The (PC) Party. Since Premier Jim Prentice took office in September, he’s made significant shifts to the provincial cabinet and, at present, is in the process of wooing Wild Rose MLAs and their leader over to the PC side of the floor.  Calling it a “unification of conservatives,” Prentice stands to make history if this all goes his way. We’re not sure everyone sees it that way, but we’re curious to see how this pans out.

September Snow Storm Steals Summer
Remember last year when you were still floating on the Elbow in September? Cue September 2014 to remind you never, ever to put away your winter clothes if you live in Alberta. The mad scramble for boots and parkas combined with falling trees and disastrous road conditions made for a pretty stressful week when we could have still been working on our tan. Mother Nature, you owe us some extra Chinooks this winter.

Nenshi Does Everything Right…Again
Ever since he used sidewalk chalk as a legitimate campaigning tool, Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been close to our hearts. As it turns out, the clever marketing translated into more than clever governing, as he’s led the city of Calgary and made crowd-pleasing legislation a regular occurrence. Even when he’s not making policies, he’s making us laugh and smile at every event possible. The man doesn’t sleep and we love him for it.

People of All Ages Get Belligerent at The Calgary Stampede
Not that anything particularly rotten or unruly happened this year, but if the usual Stampede antics were to happen in any other city, they’d make headlines. Debauchery of all manners left stains on downtown streets for ten straight days, and somehow we always keep coming back for more. What’s even more astonishing to the out of town visitors is the broad range of participants in the epic party; both your grandma and 18-year-old cousin could be at the same party and it wouldn’t be weird. So even if this isn’t news to you, it is news for the rest of the country.

Melrose Closes; Women Instantly Feel Comfortable Walking on 17th Ave
Made famous as the epicenter of “The Red Mile” way back when The Flames actually had a good season, Melrose spent a few years in the sun as a desirable destination for the young professional (YP) set. For reasons unknown to us, with time came the demise of the crowd frequenting the central 17th Avenue bar.  So when the establishment abruptly shut its doors in January, the news was met with applause from most of the city’s female population as they realized they were suddenly free to walk passed the patio without having to fend off leering middle-aged men.  


Cover image from: Calgary Flames

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Lydia Nutbrown