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The 10 most-read North Shore News stories of 2022

A brazen daytime murder, a new house knocked down, and an outrageous rental car bill – these are the stories that earned the most page views this year
George Tidball was the "visionary and cowboy" who opened the Keg 'n Cleaver, the first location in The Keg restaurant chain, in 1971 in North Vancouver. | Tidball family collection

The clicks don’t lie!

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when all your secrets are laid bare and we find out what you are really into.

This is the list of the most-viewed stories of the year on the website, a fascinating look at what articles grabbed the most attention. Rarely will you find election results or climate change updates here, but you certainly could find something about a woman who got an absolutely bonkers bill from a rental car company (No. 3 this year), or a profile of a North Van “cowboy” who made it big by serving steak and lobster for the masses (No. 9).

Most viewed doesn’t necessarily mean most important, but it does mean that the story captured a lot of eyeballs and got people talking and sharing. And so, let’s discuss these high-flying posts once more, as we run down the top-10 most-viewed stories of 2022.

10. Horseshoe Bay EV charging station inflicts $6K worth of car damages

Stories about electric vehicles always seem to generate a lot of interest, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. When things go wrong, however, the clicks really come in. And so it’s no surprise that there were a lot of page views on this story by Mina Kerr-Lazenby about a BC Hydro electric vehicle charging station in Horseshoe Bay that somehow damaged a couple of cars so much that they had to be towed away. You could say the performance of that particular charging station was … shocking!

9. ‘A visionary and cowboy’: This man founded The Keg restaurant chain in North Vancouver

Another story category that always does well is the restaurant business. This particular story by Andy Prest scored a lot of clicks with an interesting tale about George Tidball, the “visionary and cowboy” who opened the Keg ‘n Cleaver restaurant in 1971 at 132 Esplanade West in North Vancouver. Or maybe it was the photo of Tidball holding a rather large handgun that caught the public’s attention. Whatever the case, The Keg is now an international powerhouse brand, a restaurant synonymous with big steak dinners and milestone celebrations at more than 100 locations across Canada and the United States. As the story shows, steak king Tidball certainly was a rare breed.

8. North Van developer fined $200K for demolishing West Coast Modern heritage house without permit

Heritage housing is also a popular topic on the North Shore, and that interest usually increases when someone knocks one down. This incident also came with a pretty hefty fine for the offender, as reported by Jane Seyd. A North Vancouver development company was dinged $200,000 by a judge for demolishing a heritage home by West Coast Modern architect Fred Hollingsworth, in contravention of a heritage revitalization agreement. This story, sadly, will not be featured in a Canadian Heritage Minute.

7. A new indoor mountain bike park is coming to the old Capilano Mall Sears location

This Andy Prest story had two things going for it. First of all, people love to read about the comings and goings of stores, and this was a big, prominent space in a big, prominent mall. And secondly, the North Shore is nuts about mountain biking. The founder of the indoor bike park says he is hoping to have the facility ready to roll in early 2023. We’ll keep you updated on all the ups and downs.

6. Judge warns jail likely for North Vancouver hostel hostess Emily Yu

Emily Yu has been in the headlines for years as the illegal backpacker hostel she operated out of her former condo unit angered neighbours and became the subject of years of court battles. People read with interest as Yu faced sentencing for disobeying a court order, as reported by Brent Richter. This wasn’t even the latest story in the saga: a month later a North Vancouver provincial court judge handed down a 30-day jail sentence for Yu. This is how that story ended: “After the judge left the courtroom, two court sheriffs placed Yu in handcuffs and led her to cells. Multiple times on the way, she had to be told to stop resisting.”

5. Cypress Mountain’s new chairlift plummets to the ground following emergency helicopter drop

File this one under things you don’t see everyday. A helicopter lifting components of Cypress Mountain’s new chairlift into place was forced to make an emergency drop of its load in late October, causing a large tower head to unexpectedly plunge to the ground below, as reported by Mina Kerr-Lazenby. A statement released by Cypress Mountain Resort said the emergency release occurred when a fog bank moved “quickly and unexpectedly” into the work zone, causing a helicopter pilot to exit the fog and jettison the load so it was able to safely reposition to an area with greater visibility. Luckily no one was injured in the incident. A chairlift is a common thing, but a chair drop, it seems, is something that will really get those clicks.

4. ‘Barely any support’: Ukrainian family fleeing war zone says B.C. not feasible

This story from Glacier Media digital reporter Alanna Kelly describes why three Ukrainians fleeing the war will be staying in Poland after trying to find a place in B.C. It wasn’t for lack of help from B.C. residents – the family received an outpouring of support once their story went public over here – but the numbers didn’t add up, and so they stayed in Poland. They are away from home, but safe.

3. Avis billed North Vancouver woman for driving 36,000 km in 3 days

This story was certainly an odd one, and it’s no surprise that it generated a lot of clicks. A North Vancouver woman nearly got taken for an expensive ride by her car rental company, which claimed she drove more than 36,000 kilometres in three days. Reporter Richter crunched the numbers and found that if the driver were to skip all washroom and fuel stops, she’d have to maintain a speed of 536.5 kilometres per hour to go the distance Avis’s bill claims she did. That would be roughly the top speed of the fastest drag racer, and significantly more than 176 km/h the SUV is capable of. Avis initially denied her requests for a refund, but after receiving a request for comment on the story from the North Shore News, Avis contacted her with an apology and a promise that she would have the extra charges refunded in three to five business days.

2. IHIT identifies North Vancouver gang shooting victim

This incident certainly garnered a lot of attention, as violent crimes often do. Richter followed this story through several updates after we received reports of a brazen daylight shooting in the parking lot of the Real Canadian Superstore in North Vancouver. The victim later died. He was a well-known figure in the organized crime world with both local and international connections, according to police, who believe it was a targeted shooting. No arrests have been made.

1. West Van home allegedly built without permits demolished

Chalk this one up under the category of not the most important story, but certainly one of the most interesting. This is another one that Richter has been following for years, and it was a runaway winner as our most-viewed story of the year, nearly doubling the second-place finisher.

It’s a tale full of twists and turns, and it ends with a house that was less than five years old getting knocked to the ground. Building a new house won’t get you in the headlines, but knocking one down, it seems, is a whole different story.

There you have it, the most-viewed stories of 2022. Not every story was earth-shattering, but you've got to admit, they all clicked.

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