B.C.'s top 10 offbeat stories of 2011
Published Saturday, December 31, 2011 3:39PM PST
There's just something about B.C. that makes this province a breeding ground for bizarre stories. Maybe it's because we live at the fringes of a wild frontier that we have so many encounters with strange animals and even stranger people.
Whatever the reason, ctvbc.ca has compiled our favourite offbeat stories of 2011, from superhero teen vigilantes to hitchhiking rock stars to Randy Quaid's ongoing flight from "Hollywood star whackers."
Half-baked bureaucrats get stoned on co-worker's brownies
A clueless Victoria mom found a batch of forgotten brownies in the back of her freezer at home, and decided to bring them in to share with her colleagues at Tax Services. What she didn't realize was that her son had spiked the treats with marijuana when he baked them a year earlier and then simply spaced on where he had stashed them. Three unsuspecting tax workers were treated for suspected poisoning before police finally figured out what was going on.
Bureaucrats get half baked on co-worker's pot brownies
Bono hitchhikes through West Vancouver
Leave it to one of the world's most recognizable rock stars to opt for a breezy hitchhike through West Vancouver. But the only thing stranger than seeing U2 frontman Bono by the side of the road is learning who picked him up: Edmonton Oiler Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend, who were treated to passes to the Irish rocker's sold-out show in the NHL star's hometown. Bono recounted the chance encounter to the crowd that night, pledging a newfound, crowd-pleasing affection for Canadian hockey.
Hitchhiking U2 frontman catches ride with NHL star
Ryan Kesler bares all for ESPN photoshoot
(Image courtesy ESPN)
Despite drawing a few vocal critics, the surprising nude photo shoot Ryan Kesler did for ESPN Magazine's annual Body Issue in October took mere minutes to become the top story on several websites – including ctvbc.ca. And the strategically-covered Canucks forward, who had been largely missing in action since his hip surgery in July, drew far more cheers than jeers. For one delighted internet commenter, the unabashed spread was no less than "a heartwarming sight on a miserable day."
Ryan Kesler doffs jersey, jockstrap for magazine shoot
Teen vigilantes target alleged predators
The story of a reckless group of young Chilliwack, B.C. men who dressed up as superheroes to confront alleged internet predators in public may have been condemned by police and child exploitation experts, but to their thousands of internet fans it was the stuff of legend. The creators of "To Troll a Predator" were heralded as YouTube heroes and vigilantes, despite the fact that their hobby videos appeared as much edited for laughs as for justice. It's unclear whether police will be able to use their videos as evidence, though Mounties confirm their latest sting did lead to an arrest.
B.C.'s superhero vigilantes target new alleged predator
Councillor hands out lollipops to pacify drunks
Canada Day fireworks tend to attract mobs of drunken rowdies, keeping police officers' hands full into the wee hours. But what if there were a cheaper, simpler solution? Victoria City Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe went out on a limb last July, handing out 10,000 lollipops in the hope they would melt potential troublemakers into mild-mannered sweethearts. The politician said the candy had the effect of giving a fussy child a pacifier, and the Victoria Police Department pledged to review the strategy for future events.
Using sweet treats to pacify mean drunks
Black bear takes accidental journey into the big city
It's not every day you see a black bear on one of the busiest streets of one of the biggest cities in Canada. But that's what awestruck pedestrians were treated to on Dec. 13 when a lumbering bruin popped his confused head out of the back of a garbage truck at the corner of Georgia and Cambie streets in Vancouver. Unimaginatively dubbed the "Downtown Bear," the animal was tranquilized and safely removed to the cheers and applause of well-wishing onlookers.
Black bear released after brief big-city foray
New baby for mom who didn't know she was pregnant
Despite a career as a nurse and having given birth to three previous children, Emily Ratcliffe had no idea she was pregnant before her back started aching and her water suddenly broke this October. After a labour that lasted less than 20 minutes, the 25-year-old gave birth to new daughter Mariah at home with the help of a close friend. She said it was normal for her weight to fluctuate, so she didn't think anything of it when she started to balloon in size.
Baby arrives to mom who didn't know she was pregnant
It's raining cats and dogs
Animals were falling from the sky across the province this year, as birds of prey plucked abandoned pets from the ground and plopped them down far from home. "Miracle May," a white toy poodle, plunged to the roof of a Sechelt nursing home this spring, and a tiny kitten nicknamed Hawk came through relatively unscathed after a red-tailed hawk dropped him into a Nanaimo landfill.
It's raining dogs: Poodle dropped onto care home
Kitten grabbed by hawk, survives fall into landfill
Wrong number connects drug buyer to RCMP detachment -- twice
A Campbell River Mountie got a surprise this summer when he answered the office phone and found himself talking to a man who said he was looking for $100 in drugs. The dopey dialer called the cops a second time the same day to ask if he could trade Oxycontin for some of the good stuff. Police arranged an undercover meeting, and arrested their man after they discovered he was carrying a concealed weapon.
Dial-a-dope: Man calls police looking for drugs
‘Dog the Bounty Hunter' threatens to come for the Quaids
Anyone betting that Randy and Evi Quaid's Canadian sojourn couldn't possibly get any stranger would have lost big this year when reality TV star "Dog" Chapman and his buxom wife Beth staked out their own roles in the bizarre saga. Beth penned a rambling blog post warning the Quaids, who face felony vandalism charges in California, "We're gonna get ya no matter where you go no matter how long it takes." But because she and Dog aren't allowed to operate inside Canada, Beth suggested that her mulleted husband might just have to settle for meeting Randy for a beer.
Bounty hunter to Randy Quaid: ‘We're gonna get ya'
Now it's your turn to have your say. What do you think was the weirdest story of 2011?