With 2018 coming to a close and 2019 fast approaching, it’s time to look back on the London-area stories that generated the most buzz from 980 CFPL listeners.
In January, the London Health Sciences Centre announced its plans to wind down the Cardiac Fitness Institute, a long-running program for cardiac patients, saying it could no longer afford to subsidize the program’s costs.
On Feb. 23, its patients, along with family members and a few politicians, gathered at the Victoria Hospital’s Commissioners Road entrance in a campaign to save the long-running cardiac program that was on the chopping block.
Cardiac patients were eventually forced to find a new place to work out in London after the long-standing fitness program was shuttered earlier this year, with 65 CFI patients moving to the Advanced Medical Group, a private medical centre on Victoria Street, in May.
Ed Holder was elected as mayor of London in a historic municipal election in October.
Holder emerged victorious from a field of 14 candidates, with Paul Paolatto coming in second place followed by Tanya Park and Paul Cheng.
The final results of Canada’s first ranked ballot election came out just before 2 p.m. on Oct. 23, almost 18 hours after the polls closed Monday night.
Though pleased with the outcome, Holder wouldn’t say whether he’d support the ranked ballot system moving forward and noted that he’d like to speak with Londoners, administration and new council about its pros and cons as well as what needs to be changed to make the system work better.
In March, city councillors spent nearly two and a half hours behind closed doors addressing allegations of harassment within London City Hall and other city departments.
Following the meeting, city manager Martin Hayward issued a statement noting that the city has a number of policies and procedures in place to ensure “a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination.”
London Abused Women’s Centre executive director Megan Walker was outraged, speaking out against the statement issued by Hayward. In the weeks that followed, harassment allegations swirled around city hall, with Londoners coming forward about their own experiences.
Change was the operative word on election night in Ontario, but Londoners had a different idea than the rest of the province about what that change looked like.
The New Democrats swept the city, winning in London West, London North Centre and London-Fanshawe.
Peggy Sattler in London West and Teresa Armstrong in London-Fanshawe won their third terms as MPPs. Terence Kernaghan handed the NDP its first win in London North Centre since Marion Boyd held the riding from 1990 to 1999 when it was called London Centre.
Elgin-Middlesex-London went to Jeff Yurek for a third time. Yurek has represented the riding since 2011.
The biggest stage in Canadian music is coming to Forest City: London has been chosen to host the 48th annual Juno Awards in March 2019.
The show itself will be held at Budweiser Gardens on March 17, while Juno Week festivities throughout the city begin March 11.
It’s the first time the award show, the biggest entertainment event in Canada, is coming to London since it began touring across the country in 2002.
In a major boon to London’s agri-food sector, Maple Leaf Foods announced its plans to construct a state-of-the-art, 640,000-square-foot fresh poultry facility in the city’s southeast at a cost of $660 million.
Construction on the poultry-processing plant is set to begin in the spring on Wilton Grove Road at Highbury Avenue, with an opening date set for early- to mid-2021, the company said in a statement.
When it opens, the facility will directly support more than 1,450 full- and part-time jobs — a number the company says it expects to grow as production volumes rise — and indirectly support a further 1,400 jobs.
Construction on the plant itself is set to generate 300 jobs, the company said.
In 2018, London was the first city in Ontario to open a temporary overdose prevention site (TOPS).
The site, located at the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection at 186 King St., was already home to the Counterpoint Needle and Syringe Program, which sees about 100 clients a day.
The Middlesex London Health Unit cited the ongoing opioid crisis sweeping across North America as a crucial reason why the site was needed until a permanent solution could be in place.
Days before the location of the site was announced, London police announced three deaths and two hospitalizations in the span of a weekend from suspected drug overdoses.
WATCH: How has legalization changed marijuana consumption in Canada?
On Oct. 17, marijuana became legal in Canada when the clock struck midnight in Newfoundland, the time zone furthest to the east.
From there, legal weed cascaded to each province and territory every hour, with the exception of Atlantic Canada, where marijuana was legalized a half hour after it was on The Rock.
Back in September, reports surfaced that the woman convicted of killing eight-year-old Tori Stafford was transferred from a federal prison to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
Terri-Lynne McClintic, who was 18 years old at the time, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2009 killing of the Ontario girl and given life without parole for 25 years in 2010.
McClintic was reportedly transferred from a medium-security prison in Ontario to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge run by Correctional Service Canada in December 2017.
Due to the public outcry that ensued weeks after the news broke out, McClintic was moved back to prison in early November.
WATCH: Tori Stafford’s killer returns to a federal prison
WATCH: Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir hit the road across Canada
Performing to Moulin Rouge, the pair captured the gold medal in front of a roaring crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena with a total score of 206.07.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took silver with a combined score of 205.28, while American siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani claimed bronze with a combined score of 192.59.