Global News What Happened To...?


You've heard the stories. You’ve felt for the people involved. But what happens after the cameras shut off and the reporters walk away? Just because a story disappears from the news doesn’t mean it’s gone. So what happened to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? or the trapped Chilean Miners? And did anything actually come out of the Ice Bucket Challenge? Join Global News reporter, Erica Vella on this unique history podcast as she takes you inside these stories and talks to the people at the heart of each one to find out exactly what’s happened since. read less

Zebra Mussels | 21
Zebra Mussels | 21
Brook Schryer recalled his first interaction with zebra mussels in the early 1990s. He was living with his family on Lake Scugog in Ontario and one fall, Schryer and his brothers pulled the family boat out of the water and noticed that it was double its normal weight. This was because of the sheer number of tiny mollusks that clung to the bottom of the boat. The brothers scraped the mussels off the boat but at just five years old, Brook didn’t understand just how big of a problem the pesky mollusks would become. Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian seas region in southeastern Europe and in the 1980s they established themselves in the Great Lakes through ballast water from ships. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as of 2020, the mussels have been found in Lake St. Clair, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, the Mississippi River watershed and most recently in Lake Winnipeg, the Red River and the Nelson River. Zebra mussels have created huge changes in the ecosystems they have established in; they have also caused significant economic impacts. In the 1990s and early 2000s, attempts were made to prevent other invasive species from causing the same havoc. On this episode of What happened to…? Erica Vella speaks with experts about the damage caused by zebra mussels and finds out what has been done to stop the spread of the invasive species and how can we prevent it from happening again. Contact: Email: Resource for reporting invasive species in North America Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Toronto Van Attack: INCEL
Toronto Van Attack: INCEL
In a nearly three-hour-long interview between Det. Rob Thomas and the man accused of driving a rental van on a busy Toronto sidewalk we got insight on the driver's frustrations with women and his inability to attract a partner. "I would say that sometimes I am a bit upset that they choose to date obnoxious men instead of gentlemen," he said in the interview. He then speaks about 4Chan — an online anonymous image board — where he engaged in conversations with others about his anger with women and being a part of the involuntary celibate ("incel") community, an underground online community that lives primarily on the dark web. Experts have been studying the proliferation of the incel community for several years. Mike Halpin, an associate professor at Dalhousie University, said the term was coined in 1997, when a Canadian woman who only went by her first name, Alanna, began a support group online for people struggling to form relationships. "It was more about the kind of frustrations and complications with wanting a romantic partner, not being able to have one. Over time, the community became more and more populated by men and also more and more by people who were upset and angry about being alone," he said. The incel community then started popping up on places like 4chan and Reddit, he explained. Halpin has been studying the incel community for several years and this episode of What happened to... Erica Vella speaks with Mike Haplin about the complex subculture of the incel community; she also finds out if the community has grown and learns more about other incel-inspired attacks. She also speaks with experts about incidents of gender-based violence that continue to increase across North America.  Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Seven Minutes of Terror: The Toronto Van Attack Part 2  | 18
Seven Minutes of Terror: The Toronto Van Attack Part 2 | 18
On Apr. 23 2018, a man drove a white rental van down busy sidewalks in Toronto, killing 11 people and injuring 16 others. The driver was arrested without injury on the day of the attack and was brought in for questioning by Toronto Police. The almost three-hour investigative interview between the driver and Det. Rob Thomas was released publicly in September 2019. At the time, the driver of the white rental van was facing ten counts of first-degree murder and 15 counts of attempted murder. During the interview, the suspect begins to speak about4Chan – an online anonymous image board – where he engaged in conversations with others about his frustrations with women and being a part of the Involuntary Celibate (Incels) community, an underground online community that lives primarily on the dark web. The interview was a crucial piece in the trial of the driver that began in November 2020. During the trial, the driver had admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, but argued he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions because of his autism spectrum disorder. The Crown had argued that the driver is a mass killer who knew right from wrong, and happens to have autism. But the defence argued that because of autism, the driver never developed empathy, and that lack of empathy left him incapable of rational choice. On this episode of Global News’ What happened to…?, Erica Vella revisits the Toronto Van Attack and speaks with Watkins who explains details and tactics used in the investigative interview with the driver. She also learns more about the trial and continues her conversation with survivor, Cathy Riddell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Seven Minutes of Terror: The Toronto Van Attack Part 1  | 17
Seven Minutes of Terror: The Toronto Van Attack Part 1 | 17
Cathy Riddell has lived in Toronto's Yonge and Finch neighbourhood for over six decades; it's an area where she says she’s surrounded by familiar faces, shops and restaurants. On a warm Monday in April 2018, Riddell was eager to be outside and run errands in the sunshine. However, her day was interrupted when a white rental van wreaked havoc in the neighbourhood she called home. On April 23, 2018, a white rental van mounted the sidewalk at the southwest corner of the intersection of Yonge and Finch streets and travelled south for several blocks Riddell was one of the victims who was struck by the van while walking on Yonge Street. At 1:27 p.m., the first call was made to 911. The attack would last approximately seven minutes as witnesses watched in horror while innocent bystanders got struck by the white van. After driving 2.2 km, the van stopped at Poyntz Avenue because a beverage splattered across the windshield, making it difficult for the driver to see. The driver got out of the van. The tragedy left the Toronto community heartbroken and grieving for the victims who lost their lives that day. Riddell remembered very little about what happened that day. On this episode of Global News’ What happened to…?, Erica Vella revisits the Toronto Van Attack to speak to a victim who was heavily impacted by the attack. She also speaks with Insp. Graham Gibson about his experience as a detective on the scene, and with reporter Catherine Mcdonald, who begins to unravel the motives behind the driver’s attack. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
West Africa Ebola outbreak  | 15
West Africa Ebola outbreak | 15
In June 2014, cases of Ebola were reported in Guinea and the disease began to rapidly spread across the border to Liberia and Sierra Leone. More than 28,000 people became ill with the disease and over 11,000 died. The 2014 outbreak was the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization, it first appeared in two simultaneous outbreaks in 1976 in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak in DRC happened in a village near the Ebola River and that’s where the illness gets its name. The early symptoms of an Ebola infection include fever, headache, muscle aches and sore throat, according to the World Health Organization. It can be difficult to distinguish between Ebola and the symptoms of malaria, typhoid fever or cholera. Only in later stages do people with Ebola begin bleeding both internally and externally, often through the nose and ears. Dr. Brantly is originally from U.S. but he had arrived in Monrovia, Liberia in October 2013 and he was working at the ELWA hospital at the time of the Ebola outbreak. He had been treating patients with Ebola for several weeks and on July 23, 2014, he woke up feeling ill. He would eventually be given the officially diagnosis; he was ill with Ebola and the U.S. doctor was transported to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. On this episode, Erica Vella speaks Dr. Brantly who shares his experience and she speaks with other with health-care workers who were on the front lines, battling Ebola. She finds out where it came from, why it spread so quickly and how the 2014 outbreak impacted communities in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. — with Files from the Associated Press. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Fort McMurray Fires  | 12
Fort McMurray Fires | 12
In May 2016, tens of thousands of people in Fort McMurray were forced to flee their homes, as a fire burned through surrounding forests and entered the city. Damian Asher, a veteran firefighter and the captain of the Fort McMurray fire department, said the department had been monitoring the wildfire's movement. READ MORE: Short-term exposure to Fort McMurray wildfire smoke affected lungs of RCMP officers: study "We've had lots of forest fires in our area in the past and we work with lots of forest fires in that area. As far as moving into our city, with a forest fire, you never know what's going to happen," he said. "Forestry crews Alberta Forestry were on it. They were putting in their measures to keep the fire at bay and keep the fire located in the area where it was," he recalled. "We were prepared for it for where it was; we had discussions of testing all of our skills, making sure our equipment worked, all that sort of stuff," he said. Then the fire made its move. "The wind direction made a 180-degree shift in wind direction and pushed the fire into the city." The fires in May forced the evacuation of almost 90,000 residents from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and destroyed about 2,400 homes and other buildings. READ MORE: Fires and floods: How Fort McMurray is addressing risk of disaster 5 years after massive wildfire Asher was one of the firefighters working to battle the blaze. For days, he and several crews tried to suppress the flames. "The fire moved in really fast and it just came in like a big wave. It was super dry that year, so it was just a big wave of fire that come up out of the trees. "And as it come down out of the trees, it threw a lot of debris into the residential zones. A lot of burned embers were landing in houses, backyards on decks and stuff like that," he said. "We had lots of fires in multiple areas, not just at the face of where the fire was." READ MORE: 5 years after ‘The Beast’ ignited, investigation into Fort McMurray wildfire ‘remains open and active’ The Insurance Bureau of Canada said insured damage caused by the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., totalled $3.58 billion, making it the most expensive disaster for insurers in the country’s history at the time. On this episode of What happened to …? Erica Vella revisits speaks with residents in the city of Fort McMurray and people on the frontlines who attempted to stop the fire. She finds out how the city has recovered and what has been done to prevent fires like this from happening in the future. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Beirut Explosion | 9
Beirut Explosion | 9
Elias Tarabay remembers Aug. 4, 2020, clearly. He arrived home after having a late lunch with a friend. He was living in Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. His house had a balcony that looked out at the city’s ports. Just as he settled in, he heard a loud explosion. Tarabay was working as an editor for a local newspaper at the time and he thought he would take the video to send back to his office. Then a second large explosion rocked the Beirut port. The explosion killed at least 214 people, according to official records. Thousands were injured. It was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history — the result of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate igniting after a fire broke out. The explosion tore through the city with such force that it caused a tremor across the entire country that was heard and felt as far away as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, more than 200 kilometres away. It would soon emerge in documents that the highly combustible nitrates had been haphazardly stored at a port warehouse alongside other flammable material since 2014 — and that multiple high-level officials over the years knew of its presence and did nothing. The event galvanized people to demonstrate in the streets, asking for government accountability and in the days following the explosion, several cabinet members announced their resignation. On Aug. 10, 2020, Beirut’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, announced he would be stepping down from his position. On this episode of What happened to …? Erica Vella revisits the days that followed the deadly blast and finds out if anyone has been held accountable. She also learns how Lebanon’s economic crisis has made it difficult for the country to rebuild. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Montreal Expos  | 8
Montreal Expos | 8
Elliott Price attended the Montreal Expos' first home game on April 14, 1969 at Jarry Park. "There was a lot of worry because it snowed significantly during that week in April 1969, and it was a makeshift field, as well, and they were worried about what kind of, you know, will they be able to play the game?" Price said. "And lo and behold, April 14, 1969, the sun came out and was 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and there were people standing on snow mounds behind the outfield fences, looking into a full house to the first game ever played in Canada." The Expos were Montreal's team for over three decades and in 1994, the team was on track to go the World Series but a labour dispute ended the season. "They were arguably the best team in baseball," Price said. "It was clear to me, and I said so on the radio, that there was a very good possibility that there was going to be a significant work stoppage. Owners and players had reached the point and there had been such animosity for years, and this was the tipping point that they would never complete the season. That they would stop and have a full stop, period, and never play the World Series that year was unfathomable. But apparently unfathomable happens." Jeff Fassero was on the team in 1994 and said there was always hope among the players that they would go back to finish the season. "We were taking the chance of it was going to be like it was in what was it like (in the 80s) when there was another major strike, but they got back and finish the season and that's what we were hoping for," he said. "But we just didn't happen." Attendance after the 1994 season began to decline in Montreal and a decade later, it was revealed the Expos would no longer be Montreal's team. The team would move to Washington and become the Nationals. "We cried. The game ended, I recorded. I knew it wouldn't get through the finale and closing off the last broadcast, so I recorded it. And while we were listening to it ... it was the end," Price said. The legacy of the Montreal Expos has continued and there were hopes that Major League Baseball would come back to the Quebec city. On this episode of Global News' What Happened to...?, Erica Vella speaks with former players and people in Montreal who have been calling for the return of baseball to the city of Montreal. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jamaican Bobsled Team  | 7
Jamaican Bobsled Team | 7
Devon Harris always had a passion for sport and dreamed of competing in the Olympics as a teenager. He spent his childhood in Haughton, a rural district in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica, but moved to Olympic Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. "The thing that I would say kept me sane was school. I loved school. ... I loved to play and guess where I could play? At school. So I discovered sports. ... The thing I loved about sports was regardless of what your situation was off the field or on the field, man, it's my heart against yours; it's me against you and what you can bring to the table." Harris said he was 15 years old when he had dreamed of being an Olympian. "It's 1979 and I'm 15 years old and it was a year before the Moscow Olympic Games and ABC Wide World of Sports — American TV — had a series called Road to Moscow, and they showcased athletes from around the world, different nationalities and disciplines," he said. "And what I saw in that series were these very average and ordinary people, but they had extraordinary dreams and they had an equally extraordinary desire to achieve those dreams." Before pursuing his dream to become an Olympian, Harris enlisted in the army and in 1987, he was asked to try out of the first-ever Jamaican bobsledding team. "We do this in Jamaica, called the Pushcart Derby, and two Americans who lived in Jamaica saw that and thought it looked like bobsledding," he said. "They came to the army looking for athletes, and that's when I initially heard and as I mentioned, I was not interested. ... I thought it was the most absurd, ridiculous idea ever conceived by a man and I remember saying nobody could ever get me to go on one of those things until my Colonel suggested that I try out for the team." With the idea in his head, Harris tried out of the team and earned one of four sports; he was going to attend the 1988 winter Olympics. "That day I was literally flying around the beach. I just like, 'Oh,' so I was like, 'Whoa, I'm on the team, right?' Not officially, but yeah, I really felt like Superman," he said. It was the Caribbean country’s first Winter games, but hardly its last. In the years since, Jamaica has appeared at every Winter Olympics outside the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. Team Jamaica will be competing in the 2022 winter games; it has qualified for the four-man bobsled and two other bobsled events in Beijing. On this episode of What happened to...? Harris describes his journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics and Erica speaks with the current Jamaican bobsled team, which is looking to build upon the success of previous teams. Contact: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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