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Maclean’s 10 biggest stories of 2023

The year’s top deep-dives, on climate change, housing, true crime and more

In the past year, Canadians woke up to long-simmering tensions that have finally become too pressing to ignore. These formed the subjects of our best and most popular longform articles. Our writers dove deep into issues like housing affordability, which has become out of reach for many if not most Canadians, and how the addictive power of social media is affecting our kids. They reported on how climate change, which spawned a summer of vicious wildfires, will change the country in the next decades, and how right-wing politics are dividing voters. Here, our top 10 longform stories of 2023.

10. You’re Wrong About Gen Z

(Photography by Ebti Nabag, Kristina Dittmar, Paul Swanson and Riley Smith)

Young Canadians like me are fighting for saner, happier, healthier working lives. What we achieve could transform work for everyone. By Stephanie Bai

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9. A bookkeeper stole $7.6 million from her employer. How did no one notice?

(Illustration by Kelsey Dake)

She had her boss’s unquestioning trust—even as she pilfered millions from the Halifax real estate empire she helped him build. By Sarah Treleaven

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8. The Unsteady Reign of Danielle Smith

(Photograph by Allison Seto)

Alberta’s premier rode into office declaring war on the federal government—and won by a tiny margin. Can she keep her rebellious rural base happy, without sparking a national crisis? By Luc Rinaldi

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7. The Murder of Ashley Wadsworth

A B.C. teenager spent years building an online romance with a young Englishman. Months after they met in person, he killed her—and then her family learned of his dark past. Why did no one stop him? By Carly Lewis

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6. Revenge of the Renter

(Photograph by Jared Ong)

Hundreds of tenants, struggling to afford skyrocketing rents, are refusing to pay their landlords at all. They call it a rent strike. The landlords say it’s illegal. An inside look at the frontier of a growing class war. By Jason McBride

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5. The Rise and Fall of a Chinese-Canadian Pop Star

A close up of a young man smoking

(Photograph by Bil Brown)

Kris Wu, an ordinary kid from Vancouver, transformed into one of China’s biggest celebrities, with chart-topping albums, movie roles and lucrative brand partnerships. Then a series of social media accusations brought him down. By Yvonne Lau

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4. Canada in the Year 2060

(Photograph by Darryl Dyck/CP Images.)

Summers lost to fire and smoke. Biblical floods. Dying forests. Retreating coasts. Economic turmoil and political unrest. It’s going to be a weird century. Here’s what it will look like—and how Canada can get through it. By Anne Shibata Casselman 

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3. The Battle for a Prince Edward Island Beach

(Photograph by Jamie Levin)

A Toronto millionaire wanted to build a beachfront mega-cottage on a remote stretch of Prince Edward Island’s pristine north shore. Then the locals got wind of it. By Sarah Treleaven

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2. They lost their kids to Fortnite

(Photo illustration by Lauren Cattermole; photograph by iStock)

A group of Canadian parents say their kids are so addicted to the video game Fortnite that they’ve stopped eating, sleeping and showering. Now these parents want to hold its tech-giant creator accountable. By Luc Rinaldi

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1. The End of Homeownership

For generations, middle-class Canadians have been sold on the promise of homeownership. The promise was always flawed. Today it’s simply broken. By Michelle Cyca

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