Choice words: CBC Ottawa's year in quotes

From tornadoes, to life-changing diagnoses, to collapses both literal and figurative — CBC Ottawa reporters wrote about it all this year.

The people who shaped our biggest stories of 2018, in their own words

A look as some of the people whose words shaped our stories this year. (CBC)

From tornadoes to life-changing diagnoses to collapses both literal and figurative — CBC Ottawa reporters wrote about it all this year. 

Some of these stories simply struck a chord with our audience, while others represent some of the biggest events that shaped our collective 2018 experience. Another marks investigative reporting that spanned most of the year. 

Here are some of the people whose words shaped those stories.  

Eugene Melnyk levels with fans

(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The embattled owner of the Ottawa Senators was a prominent newsmaker this year, whether it was rumours of an Erik Karlsson trade or the team's contradictory attempt at a "rebuild."

Fans crowded into two town halls in April, seeking reassurance after the team's worst non-lockout season since 1995-1996.

It was during one of those town halls that Melnyk made this admission — that the Ottawa Senators may not have been in the best position to offer Karlsson the contract he wanted.

Karlsson was finally traded to the San Jose Sharks in September, just one day before the Senators hit the ice for training.

Sens fans fire back

(Kristy Nease/CBC)

One especially frustrated fan, Spencer Callaghan, raised $10,000 from hundreds of Sens faithful to put up billboards with a pointed message.

Instead of taking aim at the team's performance, Callaghan criticized management, taking particular issue with perceived penny-pinching.

"If you're not going to spend at the cap, then you have to do the little things around the edges that you can do to be successful," he said. "You can't do that with the smallest front office in the league."

Karlsson family tragedy

(Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)

As trade rumours swirled, star forward Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda were dealing with a devastating event in their personal lives.

In March, the couple revealed that their son Axel had been stillborn, sparking an outpouring of condolence on social media.

The pair released a statement on Twitter, saying, "We feel very lucky to be Axel's parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever."

Wall falls

(Laura Osman/CBC)

In July, one wall of Magee House in Hintonburg crumbled, leaving a gaping hole in the heritage building that remains to this day.

The building's owner, Ovidio Sbrissa, has applied for a permit to demolish the building, though he said he doesn't want it to come to that. An engineer contracted by the city has recommended demolition, saying the building's masonry is in such poor condition that "no two stones were held together by mortar."

At the time of writing, the building still stands, minus its west exterior wall. The sidewalk remains blocked off to pedestrians.

A child is born

(Sandra Abma/CBC)

In July, an astonishing story popped onto our radar — a mother in Gatineau had given birth to a baby boy on her front lawn. 

At first, Ann-Kathryne Lassègue wasn't worried. Her son wasn't due for another few weeks and she'd experienced false labour before. But as the contractions got more intense, she called her husband and headed out the door for the hospital.

She didn't make it far, but in a scene worthy of Hollywood movie, neighbours who had previously been strangers banded together to help deliver the child.

Paul Dewar reveals cancer diagnosis

(Giacomo Panico/CBC)

This summer, former MP Paul Dewar said he had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer that also affected Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. 

Despite the sobering news, Dewar said he would focus on the future. He launched a new initiative called Youth Action Now, aimed at mentoring young activists working on grassroots projects. 

Tornadoes hit Ottawa-Gatineau

(Nuck Purdon/CBC)

On Sept. 21, six tornadoes touched down in and around the National Capital Region, causing widespread damage but miraculously, killing no one. 

One of the neighbourhoods worst hit was Arlington Woods, home to resident Luzia Veiga.

In the face of 265 km/h winds, the area's towering old trees snapped like toothpicks, falling on houses, crushing cars and blocking roads. 

Clinging for life in Mont-Bleu


The storm struck areas of Gatineau as well, causing particular damage in the Mont-Bleu neighbourhood. 

James Widder was trying to take shelter with his family when the tornado ripped their's apartment's roof from the building. He clung desperately to his four-year-old daughter's hand, trying to keep her from being taken by the storm. 

LRT let-down


The end of 2018 was supposed to herald the arrival of the much-anticipated Confederation Line of the city's light rail system. 

But in September, the consortium building the $2.1-billion LRT system announced it would miss its deadline a second time this year, meaning Ottawa will have to wait until the first few months of 2019 to take the train. 

Some people, including Coun. Stephen Blais, weren't pleased at all. 

Pot problems

(Jennifer Chevalier/CBC)

Oct. 17 marked cannabis legalization across the country, but some users in Ontario were less than satisfied. 

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), still the only way for people to purchase the drug legally, was dogged by slow delivery times and rampant complaints of poor customer service. 

For its part, the OCS said high demand and rotating Canada Post strikes were to blame for the long delays.  

Decades-old secrets

(Michel Aspirot/CBC)

In mid-March, reporter Julie Ireton got a tip about a court case that was, at the time, coming to a close. 

That tip led to a sweeping investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at Ottawa's Bell High School. It was published at the end of November. 

For the first time, students spoke about what they had endured, alleging crimes that spanned decades.