Ah, 2021. It’s a year we certainly will remember but one that most of us wish we could forget. Regardless, in spite of a global pandemic and what seemed like a neverending lockdown, there were some good things that happened in Toronto that made 2021 a little bit better. From wild news stories to heartwarming community moments, here are 5 happy Toronto moments from 2021 that put smiles on our faces.

A couple welcomed a baby on Hwy 407

Most of us probably remember the incredible story back in May of the Whitby woman who gave birth to her baby girl while her husband was rushing her to the hospital on the 407 Express Toll Route. The couple detailed the dramatic birth story in a YouTube video and received an outpouring of heartwarming reactions. In celebration of the baby’s birth, the company that manages the ETR gave the couple a year of free travel on the highway.

An 87-year-old woman became York U’s oldest graduate

This scholar proved that it’s never too late to pursue your passion in life! Varathaledchumy Shanmuganathan celebrated her graduation in the fall after completing her political science degree. She is now one of the oldest women to earn a master’s degree from a Canadian university.

“This experience was so comforting, going back to school and getting into the pool of students who are so much younger (than) me,” she said in a video uploaded by York University. A true inspiration!

Healthcare workers got to go to the Leafs’ playoff game


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As a gesture of appreciation, 550 frontline healthcare workers were invited to attend the first Leafs game of 2021 in-person at Scotiabank Arena back in May, which also happened to be Game 7 of the playoffs.

It was hard not to get emotional seeing cheering fans in the stands and feeling grateful for their contributions during the pandemic. Of course, the real tears came later when the Leafs got kicked out of the playoffs, but this is a feel-good story so we won’t go there.

Toronto athletes made history at the Tokyo Olympics


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Technically none of these events happened in Toronto, but the viewers at home were definitely feeling joyful. Several athletes from Ontario made Team Canada history for their outstanding performances at the Tokyo Olympics in July, including Penny Oleksiak and Damian Warner, who each won gold and set new records in their respective sports.

Other Ontario gold medalists included Margaret Mac Neil, Andre De Grasse, Susanne Grainger, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys, and Kristen Kit.

Strangers saved a Toronto family’s Christmas display

After a Toronto family had their inflatable Christmas decorations destroyed by an unidentified Grinch, strangers and members of the community came together to bring them back to life.

Someone had set up a GoFundMe to collect donations and raised $2,500 for the family, and a local seamstress known as the “Santa Surgeon” chipped in to stitch them back together, the family told CTV Toronto.

The family said they were “overwhelmed” by the kindness of people they don’t even know, who also left cards and cash at their home and offers to help in any way they can. Our faith in humanity has officially been restored!