CBC Calgary's most-viewed stories of 2015: from cucumbers scaring cats to NDP's orange crush

From political upheaval, to the dwindling energy sector, to a dare-devil balloon flight over the Stampede grounds, here's what made headlines in Calgary in 2015.

These are the most-viewed headlines of 2015 on CBC Calgary's website

A cat captured seconds before it gets frightened by a cucumber. (YouTube/MrFunnyMals)

There were massive changes in Calgary this year, and the biggest news stories of 2015 reflected the switch in the political landscape and the economic downturn driven by falling oil prices.

There was also no shortage of oddities, with the discovery that cats are apparently terrified of certain vegetables and what that means for their psychology, and a Calgary man's balloon flight over the city attracting the wrong kind of attention. 

Here's a list of the must-read stories from CBC News Calgary this year:

1. Alberta election 2015 results: NDP wave sweeps across province in historic win

Alberta's next premier, Rachel Notley, speaks to supporters after the NDP's win. 4:15

It's was a massive shock that turned Canadian politics on its head: the NDP won a majority government in Alberta ending 44 consecutive years of Progressive Conservative government.

2. Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, missing Alberta toddler, found dead

The amber alert for the two-year-old girl and her father that gripped the nation ended in the worst imaginable scenario. HaileyDunbar-Blanchette's body was found just one day after police determined 27-year-old Terry Blanchette had also been killed. 

Derek Saretzky faces two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths.

3. Suicide rate in Alberta climbs 30% in wake of mass oilpatch layoffs

The suicide rate in Alberta has increased dramatically in the wake of mounting job losses across the province.

The most recent data only goes to June, but according to the chief medical examiner's office, 30 per cent more Albertans took their lives in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

4. Violent turbulence injures 21 Air Canada passengers

Passenger from Air Canada flight AC88, Wednesday afternoon (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Twenty-one passengers — including three children — on an Air Canada flight from China were taken to hospital in Calgary after turbulence caused multiple injuries on Dec. 30.

Flight 88 was en route to Toronto from Shanghai when the airplane encountered violent turbulence and was forced to stop in Calgary to treat the injured.

5. Airbnb nightmare renters leave Calgary home trashed

Mark and Star King rented their northwest Calgary home to a group through popular accommodation website Airbnb, only to find it had been trashed in what police described as a "drug-induced orgy."

6. Rachel Notley assassination chatter 'needs to stop,' Wildrose leader says as Bill 6 anger mounts

Ugly online outrage spurred by the NDP government's passage of controversial farm-safety legislation Bill 6 included extreme comments calling for the assassination of Premier Rachel Notley.

It prompted Wildrose leader Brian Jean to call for an end to the vitriol, saying "these kinds of comments cross all bounds of respect and decency and have absolutely no place in our political discourse."

7. Calgary shooting: 1 dead, 6 others injured at New Year's party

A shooting at a house party in a Calgary neighbourhood has left 1 person dead and 6 others wounded 2:21

It would set the tone for the year, with a record number of shootings in our city. One person was killed and six others were injured in a mass shooting at a New Year's Eve house party in Killarney.

Twelve months later, Calgary police admit the city is now dealing with an all-out gang war defined by impulsive gun violence.

8. Spooking cats with cucumbers could cause 'psychological problems,' says Calgary vet technician

A video of cat owners sneaking cucumbers behind their unsuspecting kitties, who then promptly freak out, went viral.

A Calgary animal health technician said the prank is much more than a cruel joke.

9. Calgary's balloon man describes soaring over city in lawn chair

A Calgary man attached 110 helium balloons to a lawn chair in order to fly over the Stampede grounds. The stunt was meant to draw attention to his cleaning products company, but it ended up landing him in trouble with the law.

10. Remembrance Day poppy pin that won't fall off too commercial: legion HQ

The head office of the Royal Canadian Legion said the sale of a little black pin designed to keep you from losing yet another poppy was commercialising Remembrance Day.

The pins were manufactured and sold privately for $3 to $5 apiece both online and at some Calgary Legion branches.

11*. Medicine Hat basketball player allowed to use f-word last name

For one college basketball player in Medicine Hat, Alta., the f-word is not a profanity — it's his last name.

Guy Carbagiale Fuck was asked by coaches to go by just his first and middle names, but eventually won the right to use his full name.

(*This story was originally No. 10 on the list but was bumped down one position by the Dec. 30 Air Canada turbulence story. Still, we thought it was a memorable one that should stay on the list of top stories from 2015, even if it's no longer in the top 10.)

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