Working in a newsroom, it takes a lot to surprise us.
Everyday a steady stream of news comes across our desks and we jump on it, writing stories, building slideshows and using social media to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening around Alberta and beyond.
But every once in a while come stories that make us take pause -- news so unique, remarkable, funny or scary that we know we'll likely never see anything like it again in our lifetime.
These are not always the most popular stories, but they are the stories that made our jaws drop, our heads shake and put us into fits of laughter this year.
Full text of the slideshow continues below.
WTF, LOL & OMG In Alberta News
1. The Flooding In Southern Alberta
Early in the day June 20, we heard reports of flooding in Exshaw, forcing road closures and washing out pedestrian bridges. The next 100 hours-plus were a bit of a blur. As the Bow River began to spill its banks with flood water, starting in the mountains and foothills and eventually working its way through Calgary, High River and beyond, we were overwhelmed by what we saw on social media, police reports and the observations of people around the province. The waters eventually receded, but the province is still dealing with the effects of the most devastating flood in Alberta's history, working on mitigation and restoration, and will for years to come. It was truly a humbling and terrifying few days that made us say OMG.
2. Wolf Chases Man On Motorcycle
In June, a Banff, Alta., man came within metres of being caught by a wolf, but luckily he was on his motorcycle during the close call on a highway, where he also snapped photos of the chase. Tim Bartlett was testing out his new bike on Highway 93 from Lake Louise to Radium when the wolf crossed a lane of traffic while attempting to catch up to him. The event was particularly shocking, as it's rare you hear of animals in Alberta's national parks chasing humans, let alone with pictures to tell the tale.
3. Man Buys Bus Ticket, Becomes Millionaire
In April, a Calgary man who bought a few lottery tickets in order to break a bill for bus change ended up $1 million richer for it. Jordan Stoliker, 22, bought several scratch tickets at a Mac's convenience story in northeast Calgary the night before his birthday. He needed change for the bus to get to work the next day. He won $1 million on a $100-million Extravaganza ticket. We secretly wished an OMG story like that would happen to us.
1. Gas Station Bathroom The Best In Canada
Usually people avoid gas station restrooms, unless the really, really, REALLY need to go. So when a gas station in rural Alberta was voted the best beathroom in Canada, we almost didn't believe it. The Valleyview Shell Super Station – a massive truck stop in a tiny town about 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton – is super proud of its bathrooms, which feature solid alder wood stall doors, tiled walls and sparkling Victorian style semi-flush mount chandeliers (yes, seriously.) You have to see it to believe it.
2. Guy Transports 300 Pounds Of Pot In Minivan, It's Barely Concealed
In July, RCMP charged an Edmonton man after a staggering amount of marijuana was found in his car near Canmore. Officers stopped the car on a safety violation and could immediately smell the stench of pot coming from the vehicle. "WTF was this guy thinking?" was our thought. The photo is even more mind-boggling. "This is abnormal," police said. You don't say...
3. Mantracker Sidekick Shot By Police
As fans of the show "Mantracker," we were shocked to learn a suspected impaired driver who was shot and wounded by Alberta Mounties in August was Curtis Hallock, a regular character on the OLN reality TV show. RCMP said two officers were trying to pull over a vehicle in Grande Cache, when a confrontation ensued and a man was shot. Hallock fled, but was caught a short time later and taken to the local hospital.
1. Welcome To Edmonton Signs
Travellers driving into Edmonton in early October were greeted by a prank so intricate we couldn't help but laugh. Solid, manufactured signs sporting slogans such as 'Suck It Calgary,' 'Road Construction City' and 'City of Shenanigans,' were permanently attached to the 'Welcome to Edmonton' signs, complete with similar font, colour and material used to build the official civic signs. Edmontonians decided that while they generally don't support vandalism, the signs were pretty funny. Calgarians did not agree, so much.
2. Dad Sick Of Son Skipping School, Plasters Town With Posters
In October, an Airdrie dad took a hard line with his son's truancy, plastering the town with posters asking people to keep an eye out for the kid during school hours. The posters were an effort to curb the 12-year-old from skipping school and running with the wrong crowd. “If you see him smoking or getting into mischief, call the police, they will be nicer to him than his mom & dad," the posters read. The kid was likely humiliated, but chances are later in life he'll look back on it and laugh.
3. Researcher Wants People To Pick Their Nose And Eat It
Snack Time! A University of Saskatchewan scientist announced in April plans to conduct a study where some type of molecule is inserted in people's noses and then half the participants pick their nose and eat it and the other half don't, hoping to determine the health benefits of eating your own boogers. "I think the challenge would be getting volunteers to participate in this experiment," Scott Napper said with a laugh. "Especially if you didn't know which group you were going to fall into."
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