These people had my favourite stories of 2013. An unofficial, Life in the City, top-three list.
Kevin Dooley -- The retired marine engineer thought it was a no-brainer when in 2008 he asked the federal government to erect an historical plaque in honour of the workers who built the Rideau Canal.
Nearly a thousand workers died while building the canal and Dooley thought it was time they were recognized. Who could oppose such long overdue honour?
Turned out the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada could. This crown agency -- which oversees federal plaques and designations -- turned Dooley down not once, but twice, saying both times the workers were of "no historical importance." Dooley was offended and fought a public campaign to overturn the decisions. He was aided by many Irish groups across Canada, who felt slighted because the vast majority of labourers who died were from Ireland.
The HSMBC started ducking and weaving but even the historian it hired ended up siding with Dooley's take on history. And so, after fielding hundreds of complaints from people across Canada who told the HSMBC it was acting like a conclave of Patrician nabobs, it reversed its decision.
On June 20, a beautiful, early summer day in Ottawa, Kevin Dooley was in attendance to see an historical plaque to the canal workers unveiled at the Ottawa Locks.
Turns out you CAN fight bureaucratic stupidity.