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These Were the Top Canadian Pop Culture Moments of 2016

While happenings South of the Border tend to make the biggest headlines, there’s no shortage of notable developments in our own backyard that influence pop culture.

Even if you don’t love all the names you’re about to read, hopefully you can at least appreciate their effort in putting Canada on the map.

These were the top Canadian pop culture moments of 2016…

A third of Canada tuned in to watch The Tragically Hip’s last show

Perhaps the greatest moment in Canadian pop culture history. Almost 12 million Canadians tuned in to watch or listen to the Tragically Hip’s final show in Kingston, Ontario. It was the last stop of a summer tour that was announced shortly after news broke that frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

The Royal visit

Getty / Samir Hussein
Getty / Samir Hussein

The Queen’s crew came to Canada, said some things, shook some hands, and Prince Harry met Suits actress Meghan Markle – the start of a “thing” – in Toronto. A more newsworthy Royal visit than most.

Toronto sports teams delivered

After years – even decades – of disappointment, three of Toronto’s big four sports teams made big waves this year. The Jays crashed out of American League Championship Series, the Raptors were two wins away from the NBA finals, and Toronto FC lost a heartbreaking MLS Cup final at home. As a Leafs fan would say, there’s always next year…

The passing of Leonard Cohen and Rob Ford

This year saw the passing of a legendary Canadian artist and Toronto’s crack-smoking “mayor of the people.” Both were significant personalities for very different reasons.

Drake’s Grammy dominance


This was truly Drake’s year. The unofficial City of Toronto spokesman is nominated for eight Grammys, including one for Album of the Year. Just Beyonce standing in his way now.

Justin Bieber reached 90 million Twitter Followers

We also don’t care, but this is a pop culture list. He became just the second person to do so, after Katy Perry.

#BellLetsTalk was the most used Twitter hashtag of the year

Now that’s some good Twitter news. Bell Let’s Talk, of course, is an initiative that aims to break down the barriers associated with mental illness. #BellLetsTalk was more popular than all hashtags to do with the Olympics, Tragically Hip, and Pokemon Go, just to give some scope.

We were really curious about Harambe


Harambe, the silverback gorilla who was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into his enclosure, was the top name following “Who is?” searches on Google Canada. He was also the world’s top meme of the year.


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