December 27, 2016 11:17 am

Calgary’s top 10 online stories of 2016

Calgary skyline behind the Bow River. Jan. 2016.

Loren Andreae / Global News

Global Calgary is taking a look back at which local stories resonated with online readers in 2016.

From a deadly crash involving teenagers at Canada Olympic Park, to an Amber Alert that ended in tragedy, many of the stories were powerful and emotional. Our readers were also drawn to a high-speed crash and severe weather that swept through the city and parts of the province throughout the last year.

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

10) Clients of Calgary tattoo shop urged to get tested for HIV

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Health officials had to ask anyone who got a tattoo from a home-based operation called Discount Tattoo to get tested for viruses like Hepatitis and HIV after Alberta Health Services said the business was not meeting health and safety standards, and the owner had been warned before.

READ MORE: ‘I’m going to continue to tattoo’ – Calgary man disputes AHS shutdown linked to HIV risk

“This particular home-based tattoo operation did not have proper sterilization or sanitation processes in place, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV,” said medical officer of health Dr. Judy MacDonald.

9) Man shot and killed by Calgary police had violent criminal past: sources

Sanjai Prasad, 41, was killed by police in Inglewood after officers were called for a report of people prowling vehicles in a secured underground parkade. Officers blocked the parkade exits with their cars, went in on foot and “challenged” the suspects, Calgary police said. They noticed an SUV circling the parkade and tried to stop the driver, who then struck a parked car. The SUV kept driving through the parkade, where a “confrontation” between the rest of the occupants and police resulted in shots fired. The SUV crashed into a parked car and came to a stop. Prasad, the driver, was killed at the scene.

The incident was the third of 10 police-involved shootings in the city 2016.

8) Central and northern Alberta rocked by extreme weather

An emergency flooding alert issued for Westlock, Alta. on Aug. 22 as parts of central Alberta were slammed with severe weather. Area residents were asked to avoid all flooded areas and not to drive past any roadblocks. One image in particular stuck out: staff canoeing in what was supposed to be a Sobeys parking lot:

7) Alberta hit with 4 tornadoes in 4 days

Weather played a significant role over the July long weekend in Alberta, with four confirmed tornadoes or probable tornadoes touching down in the province over four consecutive days.

Social media was flooded with ominous pictures and video of a massive cloud approaching the town of Ponoka.

The Ponoka Stampede was on at the time, increasing the population of the town of 7,000 significantly. No injuries were reported.

READ MORE: Tornado touches down near Killam

Throughout the weekend, amazing weather images came from the town of Didsbury, followed by activity in the Longview area and then the Hardisty area south of Edmonton.

6) Edmonton, Calgary pounded with hail, rain during thunderstorm watches and warnings

Roads were flooded, fires were triggered and hail blanketed the ground like snow in some spots when wild weather struck central and southern Alberta on June 28.

Basements were drenched and motorists were trapped in their vehicles in southwest Calgary when afternoon thunderstorm activity unleashed heavy rain. Heavy rain and hail also hit the Edmonton region, creating traffic snarls in a few areas.

“Nickel-sized hail and very heavy rain have been observed in east Edmonton,” said an Environment Canada warning. “Doppler RADAR indicates the eastern part of the city may have received up to 70 mm of rain.”

5) Prime Minister Trudeau responds to racist, hateful graffiti sprayed on Calgary school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to racist, hateful graffiti sprayed on a junior high school in Calgary that read: “Syrians go home and die” and “Kill the traitor Trudeau.” Police investigated the incident as a hate crime—citing specific references to burning mosques.

“Canadians have shown the best of our country in welcoming refugees,” Trudeau wrote in a tweet. “That spirit won’t be diminished by fear & hate.”

4) Viral video shows dramatic high-speed crash on Deerfoot Trail

A YouTube video showing a high-speed crash on Deerfoot Trail went viral in January. The footage, posted by user Nan Xu, shows several vehicles travelling southbound on Deerfoot Trail. As the vehicles approach Memorial Drive, one travelling in the left-hand lane appears to lose control and spin out. Two people were taken to hospital in stable condition with minor injuries.

3) Body of Taliyah Marsman found, Calgary police say murder charges pending

The search for missing five-year-old Taliyah Leigh Marsman came to a heart-breaking conclusion July 14 after police found her body in a rural area just east of Calgary city limits. It was a story that gripped Albertans and Canadians.

READ MORE: Calgary police release security footage in search for Taliyah Marsman, rule mother’s death a homicide

Calgary police charged 46-year-old Edward Downey with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Taliyah and her mother, Sara Baillie.

2) Twins identified in after-hours toboggan incident at Calgary bobsled park

Two 17-year-old boys killed in an incident at Canada Olympic Park in February were identified as twins Jordan and Evan Caldwell. Six others were rushed to hospital in the early hours of Feb. 6 after trying to toboggan down the bobsled track.

READ MORE: Canada Olympic Park incident – what we know about the injured teens

“We were reminded today that life is but a vapor.  Life is precious, life is fragile, and we must redeem the time we’re given,” a statement on behalf of Jason, Shauna and Katie Caldwell said.

“Our boys Jordan and Evan were bright lights to all who knew them. We are grieving their loss but confident in their new home of heaven.  Our brief 17 years with them were a gift: filled with much love, laughter, and fond memories.”

READ MORE: ‘God never leaves you alone’: Calgary bobsled crash survivor credits faith for recovery

1) Syrian refugee family in Calgary ‘very afraid of their neighbour’ after alleged verbal attack

A Syrian refugee family who came to Canada for a better life reached out to a support group to say they were living in fear in July.

They said a neighbour was causing a nightmarish situation for the family of five.

Despite his denial, three people identified him as a man caught on camera yelling for the newcomers to move away.

“This family is very afraid of their neighbour,” co-founder of Calgary’s Syrian Refugees Support Group Saima Jamal said at the time. “The dad says that his kids can’t even play now outside.”

Speaking to Global’s Kim Smith on Dec. 22, Jamal said the neighbour had “completely changed” after a warning from police.

“He didn’t say anything else nasty to the family; there haven’t been any major incidents since,” she said. "It's basically a happy ending."

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.

With files from Global’s Kim Smith, Heather Yourex-West, Tracy Nagai, Phil Heidenreich, Jodi Hughes, Melissa Gilligan, Caley Ramsay, Jennifer Ivanov, Nancy Hixt

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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