With 2023 upon us, everyone is brainstorming their New Year’s resolutions and trying to decide how to ring in the new year. At the same time, many reflect on the year past and what it held – the good, the bad, and the downright strange.
To join in those reflections, we’ve compiled the most-viewed articles of 2022, month by month. In a series of three articles, we’ll look back on the year that was and the things that piqued our readers’ interests, with curated lists of those articles Kingstonist has published that saw the most readers turning to their screens for more information.
The month began with some shocking and upsetting news stories here in Kingston.
On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, Kingston Police announced the arrest of three members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (MC), resulting in charges against one person from Odessa and two people from Kingston.
The following day, a rollover at a Highway 401 on-ramp led to life-threatening injuries for one driver, and closed down the busy connection to the highway at Gardiners Road for about seven hours.
Days later, the most-read articles of the month were published, covering two jarring events which were found to be connected. On Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, an assault on Princess Street at the Kingston Centre closed down Princess Street and resulted in the lockdown of area schools. The assailant, readers later learned, had stabbed a fellow Kingston Transit rider, and then fled the scene. Kingston Police issued public messaging that they were searching for the suspect, who was considered armed and dangerous at the time. A short while later, a large contingent of police vehicles closed in on an apartment building located at the intersection of Princess Street and Portsmouth Avenue, where a suspect had barricaded themselves inside the building. That suspect, readers learned, injured a police officer during the standoff – and was, in fact, the same suspect from the stabbing incident earlier in the day. The events, which closed down regularly-busy areas of Princess Street for hours, had Kingston residents at a standstill – and over 20,000 of them following along with Kingstonist – until the suspect finally surrendered peacefully around 10 p.m.
In news that had readers tuning in with more positive excitement, word that Kingston had been selected as one of the new 10-day passport pick-up locations got a lot of attention, as MP Mark Gerretsen made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. Similarly, news that nine new family doctors were moving to Kingston to open practices had over 8,000 readers intrigued, though many readers felt subsequently disappointed to find out that those doctors would be accepting patients already on a waitlist for family doctors, and not immediately welcoming new patients.
A number of Kingstonist readers who travel frequently were pleased to see local municipalities pushing for action after the cancellation of VIA Rail commuter train 651.
In other transportation news for the month, decades of chatter, recent years of decisions, and then construction, Kingston’s “third crossing” over the Cataraqui River became a reality. Over 10,000 Kingstonist readers clicked to find out more about the opportunity to cross the new bridge, the now-opened Waaban Crossing, for the very first time.
And while September often brings news stories of streets full of partying students returning to Queen’s University, readers were somewhat taken aback to find out that a minor was charged by Kingston Police after openly chugging alcoholic beverages in front of an officer during a massive gathering of young residents at Breakwater Park.
Readers were upset to learn that vehicle thieves had been targeting vehicles with key fobs, or electronic transmitters, which are capable of locking, unlocking, and starting vehicles. This resulted in the theft of multiple vehicles in Kingston’s west end, Kingston Police confirmed on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Unfortunately, this trend of theft has continued since then.
Also early in the month, residents were appalled to find out Michael Haima (who was referenced in our year-in-review coverage for the summer months) had been further charged, resulting in a total of 95 human-trafficking related charges. Over 17,000 Kingstonist readers followed this story and shared it to ensure that others were aware.
Similarly, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, over 15,000 readers heeded the call of Kingston Police, who had requested public assistance in identifying a male that had been witnessed approaching children in a local park the previous weekend. Unfortunately, police never provided an update on that case, so it is unknown whether the suspect was identified, despite thousands of people sharing the article on social media.
But it was the last week of the month that brought headlines which seemed to have the greatest impact on Kingstonist readers.
Of course, the last week of October began with the 2022 municipal elections in Ontario, which had readers catching up on local candidates, reading about debates and town hall meetings, and, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, tuning in to watch as the results of every ballot cast were tallied.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, a large tanker truck hauling “edible beef fat” crashed into Buck Lake in South Frontenac Township. The following days saw outrage, concern, and confusion throughout the region over why the truck remained in the water, and what that meant for the quality of the water in the well-loved lake. The tanker was removed from the water a few days later.
That same day, a vehicle crashed into an active construction site on Princess Street, barrelling into a hole where Utilities Kingston employees were working. Perhaps the most incredible part of that story, which was certainly welcome news, was that no one was injured in the incident.
Readers were intrigued and angered to read that multiple charges had been laid after a Kingston driver was found sleeping off the effects of alcohol on the side of Ontario’s busiest highway – over 20,000 people clicked on this story while shaking their heads.
The month came to a close with two intense and difficult stories, both taking place on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.
It was on that date that Kingston Police announced that they were searching for two men who were on the run. While officers had executed a search warrant at a College Street address, two men had fled the scene. Both Matthew Campbell and Matthew Wildsmith jumped from a window of the apartment, which was being searched as part of a large drug-trafficking investigation, according to police.
Finally, Kingston was shocked when both the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Kingston Police taped off the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 631, located near the intersection of Bath and Collins Bay Roads due to a homicide on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, just before midnight. There, readers learned in the hours and days that followed, Patrick Millar had been killed. The suspect in that case, Anthony Whitlock, was arrested in hours that followed, and the case has yet to be heard in court.
The month began with some of our most-read coverage in November 2022, when a pedestrian was struck by a Kingston Transit bus in the area of King Street West and Union Street in Portsmouth Village. The pedestrian was rushed to hospital with what police called “life-altering injuries.” Later in the month, readers continued to follow the story when the driver of the bus was charged by police in relation to the incident.
The same date, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, saw a fire at a Princess Street motel in the early morning hours, which sent two people to hospital. According to follow-up inquiries to Kingston Police, a local 43-year-old was charged with arson and uttering threats in connection with that fire.
Still on that same day, over 1,000 Kingstonist readers posted a flurry of comments on social media after learning that local schools would be closing due to work action on the part of education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Unsurprisingly, coverage of this major story dominated much of the month’s news both locally and province-wide.
Once again, crime and punishment coverage was of interest to many readers. A death at a north-end apartment building being investigated by police saw several people turning to the computers and phones to find out what the large police presence was about, as did a large OPP presence on Burbrook Road, which police only described as “carrying out enforcement action.”
On Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, Kingston Police once again relayed that multiple vehicle thefts had taken place due to thieves mirroring keyless entry and ignition devices – this time, right across the city. Kingstonist investigation found that over 30 calls regarding vehicle thefts had been placed to Kingston Police within the month prior.
Coverage of a 14-year-old being charged after making death threats at a local school and of the massive province-wide child exploitation investigation that involved the arrests of three Kingston men were among the most-read stories of November.
And, as the month ended, readers turned to Kingstonist to find out what was happening as the trial of Michael Wentworth finally began – all of the charges against Wentworth, including multiple murders, stem from 1995 to 2001.
Readers expressed concern that the last month of 2022 would echo an incident from the first month of the year, when an assault occurred on the K&P Trail near the Integrated Care Hub (ICH). Thankfully, the December assault incident did not result in loss of life, though police were tight-lipped about the cause of the injuries the two victims of the assault sustained.
Three of the most-read articles of the month pertained to missing people that police were asking for assistance locating – but all of those cases had happy endings when a missing teen, west-end man, and a man from Napanee were all safely located.
The most-read article of the month had readers scratching their heads in confusion and disbelief when the OPP stopped the same vehicle on Highway 401 twice in the same day, each time towing the vehicle from the highway, as neither occupant was legally able to drive.
Many readers read with interest as it was announced that the charges against Anthony Whitlock – the man charged in the homicide of Patrick Millar – were upgraded to first degree murder. Whitlock’s trial is expected to begin in early 2023.
The ongoing saga of the increase in vehicle thefts using remote keyless entry and ignition devices saw some good news by the end of the year, when a traffic stop on Highway 401 recovered stolen vehicles and key fobs, and ended in the arrest of two people.
The most anticipated news of the year was coming – but not before the City of Kingston unveiled its branding for the third crossing, which nearly 10,000 readers wanted to see in advance of the big story. And just as many people were thrilled to read the headline that the Waaban Crossing had officially opened as of Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022!
And the good news just kept coming! Kingstonist readers ended 2022 taking in some fantastic reminders of the great community we live in. Thousands smiled as they read about “Operation Ho Ho Ho” bringing Santa and his sack full of gifts to the children in pediatric care at Kingston General Hospital (KGH). Hundreds shared the news on social media to help MetalCraft Marine celebrate one of their builds being named 2022 significant boat of the year. And readers’ hearts were warmed as a Kingston resident – a veteran of the Second World War – was helped by fellow veterans, making his home more comfortable and efficient for him.
And finally, as Christmas came and went, the community banded together to help reunite one lost dog with its owners before 2023 arrived.
It’s been a heck of year, Kingston, but it was one that each of us here on the Kingstonist team has been excited to share with all of our awesome readers and supporters. We welcome 2023 and all the stories it will bring — as always, we will keep you informed from January 1 through to December 31!