2022 in review: A look back at the P.E.I. stories that made headlines

In September, post-tropical storm Fiona ripped through P.E.I., knocking out power to tens of thousands of people, downing trees and causing destruction across the Island. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
In September, post-tropical storm Fiona ripped through P.E.I., knocking out power to tens of thousands of people, downing trees and causing destruction across the Island. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

As 2022 comes to a close, we're taking a look back at the many stories that Islanders tuned into this year and, to no surprise, health care, housing and Fiona were among the most-read news stories of the year.

Here are just some of the stories that made headlines this year.

1. Fiona

Shane Ross/CBC
Shane Ross/CBC

The Atlantic provinces hunkered down ahead of Fiona — at one point in its track toward Atlantic Canada it was a Category 3 hurricane. Here is one of our most-read, early looks ahead of Fiona.

Islanders were urged to stay at home and off the roads as the situation with Fiona made venturing outside extremely dangerous.

In the early hours of the storm, thousands were without power and the worst was yet to come.

As dawn broke on Prince Edward Island after Fiona, the extent of the damage started to become clear. The photos here are worth several thousand words.

P.E.I.'s iconic Teacup Rock was no more after post-tropical storm Fiona walloped the Island. The landmark at Thunder Cove Beach had been one of the Island's most photographed rock formations.

The Canadian Space Agency posted satellite photos that dramatically illustrated how post-tropical storm Fiona changed Prince Edward Island's coastline.

The dunes in the Brackley Beach and Cavendish areas of P.E.I. National Park saw their worst damage in close to a century when Fiona pummelled P.E.I.

2. Health care

CBC
CBC

When the Omicron variant spread like wildfire, CBC P.E.I. outlined what experts and a couple of people with first-hand experience said you can expect to feel if you come down with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, along with tips on how to treat your symptoms at home.

2022 also saw the first COVID-related death on Prince Edward Island. There were a total of 82 deaths over the course of the year, hundreds of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of cases. Click here for the latest government data on COVID-19.

In January, following the first reported deaths and spread of the Omicron variant, there were isolation rule changes; gyms, dining rooms and more closed; public schools delayed opening. COVID-19 had brought the Island to a halt.

Remember the Vax Pass? That was dropped in February of this year.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

A doctor who had been practising medicine in the community of Tignish in western Prince Edward Island for a little more than a year left the province.

Just a month after three Charlottetown doctors announced they were leaving their practices — leaving 5,000 more Islanders without a family physician — another one confirmed that he was leaving too.

A Canadian navy veteran said he was fed up with waiting for a primary care provider after having been on Prince Edward Island's wait list for 11 years.

Of course, there were numerous stories on the ongoing doctor shortage, ER closures, outpatient services in high demand and much more.

3. Housing

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

As it's been for years, housing was a top concern for Islanders in 2022 with many stories on an ever-pressing problem: housing availability and affordability.

There were many stories on the housing crisis on P.E.I. throughout the year, particularly on homelessness across the province.

Advocates for those experiencing homelessness estimated 40-50 people had no place to sleep at night in Charlottetown, as runaway inflation, rising rents and the housing crisis had forced them onto the streets.

The tent encampment relocated to the event grounds on Riverside Drive where it continued to be a big topic for the remainder of the year.

Mid-September, Housing Minister Matthew MacKay announced that an emergency shelter made of mobile housing units would be set up on Park Street. Although originally slated to open mid-November, the shelter opened in December with 50 beds.

Jane Robertson/CBC
Jane Robertson/CBC

The overnight emergency shelter is open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., prompting calls for a 24-hour solution.

Some people experiencing homelessness have chosen not to use the shelter. In late December, police removed all fire hazards from the encampment.

Affordable housing and homelessness were not issues unique to Charlottetown this year. Across the province, Islanders have been struggling to make ends meet amid record high inflation.

On Dec. 1, the P.E.I. Legislature passed An Act to Amend the Rental of Residential Property Act limiting the maximum allowable rent increase to 0 per cent on all rental units for 2023. However, landlords can still apply for rent increases above that.

In December, the federal government announced that Summerside would be getting 60 new rental units as well as transitional housing for women and their children fleeing domestic violence.

4. MV Holiday Island ferry

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

On July 22 the MV Holiday Island burned and 200 passengers were safely rescued from the ferry.

Ferry service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia was suspended immediately afterward. There was even a thought that the vehicles wouldn't be recovered — but all the vehicles ended up being saved.

MV Saaremaa 1 temporarily replaced the MV Holiday Island and made its first run in August between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia,

The MV Holiday Island was moored for the rest of the season and eventually was sent off to be scrapped.

5. Widely-read stories

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

A woman in Kensington, P.E.I., fought through flames inside her family's burning bungalow in March to save her youngest son.

A team at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. worked to identify why large numbers of crows in Charlottetown were being found sick or dead in the Victoria Park area. They later believed the cause was corvid orthoreovirus, a somewhat newly described virus which causes mass mortality among crows congregating in winter roosts.

A P.E.I. pub pulled photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from its social media accounts after getting a barrage of hate-filled comments and phone calls.

Two people were taken to hospital after an assault in a recreation centre parking lot in the Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island. The altercation was condemned as racially motivated and not a reflection of the values and attitudes of the area.

The teenage boy who had racist slurs hurled at him during a hockey tournament in Charlottetown last fall said he's satisfied with the results of a Hockey P.E.I. disciplinary committee process, but adds that overall, "there's no winning in this."

Submitted by John Calder
Submitted by John Calder

Royal Bank of Canada resolved a technical issue which involved some auto-deposit e-transfers and funds that disappeared from customers' accounts.

A P.E.I. question on Jeopardy! stumped contestants. With $2,000 up for grabs, the answer was: "A Spud Islander is a resident of this Canadian province, known for its potatoes." Crickets, as no one came up with the question, which was "What is Prince Edward Island."

A P.E.I. school teacher has made the discovery of a lifetime after stumbling upon a fossil that could be 300 million years old.

A First Person story was widely read around construction work on P.E.I. with this headline: "After working in construction all over Canada, I can see why P.E.I. is short of workers."

And, finally, in October a deer swam all the way to P.E.I. only to be struck by transport truck.