We searched for “COVID vaccine near me”, “vaccine passport” and “What percentage of Canada is vaccinated?”. We looked inward and tried to better understand Canada’s history when we searched for Residential schools, and asked “Why were they created?”. We were engaged voters, searching for “Federal Election” and “How to register to vote in Canada”. And from local to global, Canadians searched for ongoing current events to find information and answers.
Canada’s 2021 Year in Search:
Top Searches in Sports
With the return of live sporting events in 2021, it’s no surprise that top searches were for NBA and NHL. We found ways to re-connect through games, as we searched and celebrated Canadian athletes like Leylah Fernandez, Andre De Grasse, Penny Oleksiak, and so many other local heroes.
Like last year, people continued to search for ways to stay connected and entertained at home. The South Korean success, Squid Game, was the most searched TV show, while also appearing on several other lists this year. Canadians also came out in full force to search and support Simu Liu as this year’s superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
This December also marks 20 years of Google in Canada. We took a look back at the top searches over 20 years, and found that the most searched topic in Canada is, well, Canada. While on the surface this is pretty funny, there is something very special about a country in search of itself. We searched “What it means to be Canadian,” “How to immigrate to Canada,” and “What native land am I on?” Canadians continue to question, research and understand how we can be the best version of ourselves. Looking back, we at Google are so proud to be a small part of the lives of Canadians - businesses that come to the platform to grow their business, new Canadians that use Translate for day-to-day interactions, or parents trying to understand what their kids mean when they keep saying “YOLO”.
This year's Top Canadian Creators, Top Breakout Creators and Shorts Rising Stars were all about comedy and learning. Breakthrough creators Kallmekris and Jeenie.Weenie found ways to make us laugh, while NileRed brought out our inquisitive side as we learned about all the ways that chemistry is cool. And many Canadians wanted to brush up on their English language skills turning to ENGLISH with James to get them there. Our love for Minecraft became apparent as aCookieGod and MrFudgeMonkeyz dug, built, and crafted their own virtual worlds for millions of viewers.
Top Canadian Creators
Top Canadian Breakout Creators
Canadian Shorts Creators - Rising Stars
When it came to Top Trending Videos, we saw viewers were hungry for excitement and a thrill after being cooped up at home, turning to creators like MrBeast who spent 50 hours buried underground in a glass coffin (not for the claustrophobic!) as one of his many elaborate stunts. We laughed together as we categorized our friends into game night stereotypes, sobbed together while rooting for Nightbirde, and collectively spent an afternoon with royalty sipping tea on top of an open bus through LA.
Top Trending Videos in Canada
MrBeast, I Spent 50 Hours Buried Alive
Sidemen, SIDEMEN TINDER IN REAL LIFE 3
The Late Late Show with James Corden, An Afternoon with Prince Harry & James Corden
America's Got Talent, Golden Buzzer: Nightbirde's Original Song Makes Simon Cowell Emotional
Dude Perfect, Game Night Stereotypes
SAD-ist, Hog Hunt | Dream SMP Animation
In Music, 2021 was the Year of The Weeknd and Justin Bieber, with both homegrown Canadian music superstars releasing top hits ranking high on the list. The Weeknd dropped his darkly comedic new video for Save Your Tears, during which he delivers a performance to a masked audience and we jammed along to Bieber's chart-topping, neon technicolor sensation “ Peaches,” featuring Canadian-talent Daniel Caesar and Giveon . Both songs were part of a soundtrack of swoon-worthy songs that Canadians had on repeat this year. From Bruno Mars to Doja Cat, you could say some of these tracks were smooth as Butter.
Top Music Videos in Canada
TheWeekndVEVO, The Weeknd - Save Your Tears (Official Music Video)
JustinBieberVEVO, Justin Bieber - Peaches ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon
OliviaRodrigoVEVO, Olivia Rodrigo - drivers license (Official Video)
OliviaRodrigoVEVO, Olivia Rodrigo - good 4 u (Official Video)
HYBE LABELS, BTS (방탄 소년단) 'Butter' Official MV
dojacatVEVO, Doja Cat - Kiss Me More (Official Video) ft. SZA
PoloGVEVO, Polo G - RAPSTAR (Official Video)
Congratulations and thank you to all the creators that helped bring joy and entertainment to Canadians this year. Want to learn more about the creators and videos that made this year's top lists? Head to the Culture & Trends site, where you can find all the global moments that defined 2021.
- Saturday, Nov 20, Pittsburgh @ Toronto
- Saturday, Dec 4, Toronto @ Minnesota
- Saturday, Dec 11, Chicago @ Toronto
- Saturday, Dec 18, Toronto @ Vancouver
- Saturday, Jan 1, Toronto @ Seattle
- Saturday, Jan 8, Toronto @ Colorado
- Saturday, Jan 15, Toronto @ St. Louis
- Saturday, Jan 22, NY Islanders @Toronto
- Saturday, Jan 29, Toronto @ Detroit
- Saturday, Feb 26, Detroit @ Toronto
- Saturday, Mar 5, Vancouver @ Toronto
- Saturday, Mar 19, Toronto @ Nashville
- Saturday, April 2, Toronto @ Montreal
- Saturday, April 9, Toronto @ Philadelphia
- Saturday, April 16, Montreal @ Toronto
- Saturday, April 22, Toronto @ Florida
When we launched the Google News Initiative in 2018 with a mission of helping to create a sustainable landscape for journalism, the news industry and the world were in very different places. Now, more than three years later, we are reflecting back on what we’ve accomplished together with Canadian news organizations, nonprofits and journalists while at the same time deepening our commitment to helping newsrooms solve challenges.
Reporters and editors around the country told us that using technology to build digital journalism skills to adjust to the digital age and combating misinformation are critical priorities. That’s why we’ve expanded our News Lab trainings in Canada and have committed to training 5,000 journalists over the next three years on digital skills for the newsroom.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed increasing pressure on the business side of newsrooms, impacting their ability to cover essential stories for their communities. That led us to create the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, putting much-needed funding of $1.5 million into the hands of over 230 local Canadian newsrooms. The COVID-19 pandemic was also the impetus for the Support Local News campaign in the U.S. and Canada, which encouraged people to support their local paper.
In 2019, we held our first North American Innovation Challenge which supported four Canadian news organizations in understanding their communities and developing new publishing business models. And we’ve just announced the winners from our third North American Innovation Challenge, out of the 25 projects selected, 7 are with Canadian newsrooms. Winners include Energeticcity.ca, a local news organization in Northern BC, which will focus on helping rural media operators connect with their audiences, and Metroland, which will address the deficiency in news coverage of and for Indigenous people in Ontario.
Throughout, we strive to ensure that our work touches a diverse group of publishers and audiences. We have recently announced the Global News Equity Fund, a multi-million dollar commitment to driving transformational change with a focus on diversity and equity. The fund will provide direct financial support to news organizations that are owned by or serve underrepresented communities around the world, and it is our hope that it builds upon our existing work of supporting underrepresented publishers and communities.
We also developed the GNI Ad Transformation Lab, a program to support Canadian and American publishers serving underrepresented communities in their transition to digital. The first round of the Lab helped 28 Black and Latino publishers advance their digital businesses and build digital advertising capabilities required to achieve growth today. The application for the 2022 Ad Transformation Lab is now live. The application window will close on Monday, November 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST. We encourage news organizations and publishers who serve diverse and underrepresented communities in the United States and Canada to apply.
We recently made a conscious effort to broaden our support to focus on local and emerging news organizations. Publishers have shared with us that adapting their business models to digital is immensely difficult. So together with industry associations and thought leaders worldwide we are bringing the Digital Growth Program to Canada to help news organizations accelerate growth in advertising and reader revenue and strengthen their core foundations in audience development, product and data. The feedback we received from partners also encouraged us to grow our investment in our audience insight tools, including our recently launched, News Consumer Insights.
Additionally, we are supporting aspiring news entrepreneurs through efforts like our Startups Boot Camp, an 8 week program in partnership with LION publishing designed to help participants with hands-on coaching and support to launch or develop a news offering. Applications have just closed for this upcoming all-Canadian cohort, and we cannot wait to see the news products that this group brings to market.
We’ve also just announced The Data-Driven Reporting Project, a partnership between the GNI and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Medill will run The Data-Driven Reporting Project, which aims to address the inequality of resources for local newsrooms and freelancers when doing essential data-driven, investigative reporting. The project is committed to awarding $2 million to journalists working on document-based investigative projects that serve local and underrepresented communities throughout the United States and Canada. Learn more on how and when you can apply.
This is just a snapshot of our work. Over the last three years we’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s much more to do. Achieving a healthy, sustainable and diverse news industry isn’t something Google or any single entity can or should do alone. This is a shared responsibility across publishers, companies, governments, civic society and more. Today we remain as committed as we’ve always been to playing our role in supporting Canadian newsrooms of all sizes for years to come.