Edmonton’s top 10 stories of 2015

The Edmonton skyline.
The Edmonton skyline. Kendra Slugoski, Global News

EDMONTON — As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at which stories readers in the Edmonton area found the most interesting this year.

From the tragic deaths of two law enforcement members, to a stunning victory by the NDP in Alberta’s spring election, these are the stories that drew the most attention from Global Edmonton’s online audience.

You can also vote on your most memorable story of the year in our poll at the bottom of the page.

10) Terrorist threat levels highest in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto

This exclusive story published on June 23 took a closer look at the terror threat assessment in Canada.

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According to an internal report from the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre obtained by Global News, the terror threat level in Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal and Greater Toronto Area was listed at “medium.”

Medium means an individual or group has the capability and intent to carry out an attack – an act of terrorism “could occur.”

9) Global Edmonton Morning News anchors crack up over royal encounter

While much of their job is serious and requires composure, sometimes the lighter – perhaps more human – side of news anchors shows up when you least suspect it.

Global Edmonton’s Morning News anchors, Erin Chalmers and Shaye Ganam, had a heck of a time trying to contain their laughter after airing a story about a little girl’s encounter with one of the Queen’s guards.

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Maisie Gregory, 6, was accidentally smacked in the head by a saluting soldier just moments after the child gave Queen Elizabeth II a bouquet of flowers. The royal smack left Ganam and Chalmers in stitches on the anchor desk.

8) Man ticketed for texting in Beaumont Tim Hortons drive-thru 

A trip to Tim Hortons cost an Alberta man more than he bargained for this fall after he was given a $287 ticket for using his cell phone while behind the wheel at the drive-thru.

Alberta RCMP said an officer saw the man texting and driving before he pulled into the Beaumont Tim Hortons, and when the bad behaviour continued as he pulled through the drive-thru, there was no choice but to issue the ticket.

The driver shared his side of the story on Reddit, admitting he lost his temper.

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7) Two people killed in knife attack at Alberta work camp

Two people were killed at a work camp southwest of Fox Creek, Alta. in late June after a man attacked people with a knife. It happened early on a Tuesday morning at the Berland Open Camp.

The victims were identified as 50-year-old Hally Dubois and 37-year-old David Derksen.

Daniel Goodridge, a 28-year-old from Edmonton, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in the deaths.

6) Massive crash kills 4, injures 15 near Jasper

Four young people were killed in a five-vehicle pileup on Highway 16 near the Alberta-British Columbia border in August.

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The crash, which injured 15 other people, happened on a Friday night and forced the closure of the highway for several hours.

5) 3 young sisters killed in farming incident in central Alberta

It’s a story that touched the hearts of families, particularly farm families, across the province. In early October, three young Alberta sisters were playing on a truck loaded with canola at a rural property 15 kilometres east of Rocky Mountain House when they were buried by the seed.

Two of the girls were pronounced dead at the scene. The third sister died early the following morning.

Sisters Catie, 13, Dara, 11, and Jana, 11, were mourned by family, friends and even complete strangers.

4) Orange crush: NDP sweeps to victory in Alberta

Alberta saw a political shift earlier this year when Rachel Notley’s NDP won a majority government during the spring election. The orange crush put an end to the 44-year reign of the Progressive Conservatives.

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The real-time results of the election garnered much attention online, with many glued to their screens to see the results as they unfolded.

3) Edmonton Police Const. Daniel Woodall killed in the line of duty

Our third-most read story of the year hit close to home for many in Edmonton. On Monday, June 8, 2015, Edmonton Police Service Const. Daniel Woodall was shot and killed while executing an arrest warrant at a home in west Edmonton.

The 35-year-old husband and father of two young boys was one of several officers who attended the scene in Ormsby Place.

Woodall’s death was mourned by police agencies around the world, particularly in the United Kingdom where he was from and where he began his career as a police officer.

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Woodall’s death spurred a movement throughout the city that saw blue ribbons tied to trees and street lights; many Edmontonians also left their porch lights on at night as a show of solidarity.

Woodall was with the EPS for eight years before he was killed. He was the first EPS officer to be killed in the line of duty since June 25, 1990, when Const. Ezio Faraone was shot by a suspect during a robbery investigation.

2) Live results of the 2015 federal election

Canada also saw a political shift earlier this year when Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won a majority government in the federal election. Most of the country’s 338 ridings were painted red on Monday, Oct. 19.

While the majority of Alberta remained a Conservative stronghold, the Liberals won four seats in Alberta – two in Calgary and two in Edmonton. The last Liberal to win in Calgary was in 1968, when Patrick Mahoney won a seat in Calgary-South.

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1) Two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, father Terry Blanchette killed in southern Alberta

Our most-read story of the year came out of southern Alberta, where a two-year-old girl and her father were killed in September.

RCMP were called to a home in Blairmore. Alta. on Monday, Sept. 14 where 27-year-old Terry Blanchette was found dead. A few hours later an Amber Alert was issued for his daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.

The Amber Alert, which was extended into B.C., Saskatchewan and Montana, was dropped on Tuesday evening when the little girl’s remains were found in a rural area near Blairmore.

Hailey’s tragic death spurred reaction from coast to coast. This was also one of the most-read stories of the year across all Global News markets.

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Derek Saretzky was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. After a psychiatric evaluation, the 22-year-old has been found fit to stand trial. His next court date is set for Feb. 26.

Which story resonated most with you? Vote in our poll below. And if your most-memorable story of the year isn’t on the list, tell us about it in the comments section below.