What makes a video popular online? At the heart of each of the tales that struck a chord with CBC Ottawa viewers was a simple story: a quest for valour, the love of a special pet or, as in the aptly named 'How to climb out of a sinkhole', basic survival. Beyond the news of the day, these are the stories that made a lasting impression.

No. 5: A quest for valour


Vincent Gabriel Kirouac rode into Ottawa in May on what he called a quest for valour. (CBC)

When Quebec City resident Vincent Gabriel Kirouac rode into Ottawa, he stood out, and not only because he rode on a horse and was dressed as a medieval knight.

His journey and his simple message were also compelling, as Ashley Burke discovered.

WATCH: A quest for valour

See also: RAW Knight rides across Canada for valour 

No. 4: How to climb out of a sinkhole


This sinkhole swallowed Juan Pedro's four-door sedan as he drove home during rush hour. (Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services)

It could have been a tragedy. In September Juan Pedro Unger drove his car into a sinkhole that had just formed on Highway 417. But Unger climbed out, and with the help of witnesses, pulled himself free.

The sinkhole, how it formed and how to fix it dominated the news in the next few months, but what endures is Unger's story and his decision to climb out of the hole.

WATCH: How to climb out of a sinkhole

See also: RAW Sinkhole survivor 

No. 3: Walter the Crow finds a home


Walter the crow is free to come and go, but he doesn't stray far from the Renaud home. (CBC)

The Renaud family found a wounded bird, nursed it back to health, and gained a new member of the family.

But what made Walter the Crow so compelling was not how the family loved him, but how he loved them back: perching on the handle-bars of Livia Renaud's bike, tagging along on walks and, most astonishing of all, flying to meet the children after the school bell rang. We couldn't get enough of Walter.

WATCH: Walter the Crow finds a home

See also: RAW Meet Walter the Crow 

No. 2: Owner sprays would-be robbers


Raw footage of Zhen Yang and his wife fighting off two would-be robbers became one of he most-watched videos of the year. (CBC)

Gatineau, Que., convenience store owner Zhen Yang store had been robbed four times in four years when two masked men came in and demanded money one June morning. He was frustrated, he fought back and the surveillance footage of him pepper-spraying the two — and then spanking one of them — became one of CBC Ottawa's most watched videos.

He later said he hoped the fight was the last for him and his wife.

"We don't want the fights to happen again, I hope no more happen again," said Yang.

WATCH: RAW Owner sprays would-be robbers

See also: Store clerk bear-sprays would-be robbers 

No. 1: Blackbirds dive-bomb Ottawa joggers


Joggers along the Rideau Canal had to keep one eye on an aggressive blackbird. (CBC)

Animal videos are always a big hit online. But shooting a story about red-winged blackbirds attacking joggers along the Rideau Canal posed a problem: what if we got there, and nothing happened? And where to set up the camera to catch the action?

As CBC reporter Cory O'Kelly tells us, the stake out location was the key. Camera operator Michel Aspirot set up far enough away to watch both the bird's nest and the path of the joggers, and the flight path in between.

The resulting story made for, to paraphrase a canal-path observer, "top-notch entertainment", and was the most watched video of the year.

WATCH: Blackbirds dive-bomb Ottawa joggers