In all the preparations that have been taking place for the celebration of HuffPost Canada's first birthday -- among them collecting stats such as "How many bloggers do we have now?" and "How many comments have we posted?" -- one seemingly unanswerable question kept popping up:

How many original Canadian blogs have we published?

I joked with one of the organizers that it was no longer the Trudeau era, when the government might have installed a meter in our newsroom to keep track of the Canadian vs. American content -- and arrest us if we fell short on the Canadian front.

Still, the question needed answering. So I took an average of the number of blogs we publish a day and -- allowing for growth on the latter end, fewer at the beginning -- came up with the approximate figure of 5,500-plus. And what an amazing number that is, for a site that in human terms would have conquered most solid foods by now, but would still be wobbly on walking.

I was then asked to cull a selection of our "best blogs" -- and that also seemed an impossible task. As we've grown, we've added so many new voices. There are blogs that have gone viral, there are blogs that have captured the immediacy of a news event -- whether it was Occupy or the Quebec protests -- and then there are blogs that are simply original, funny or insightful. It was simply impossible to choose a selection of the "best" blogs, but we could at least choose a selection that was representative of all the talented contributors we've collected over this past year: contributors who have brought a unique perspective to our readers; contributors who have come from every political perspective, every background, every point on earth.

If I have overlooked a blog or blogger it's obviously not intentional (and hey, email me your favourite and we will post: danielle.crittenden@huffingtonpost.com). Our selection amounts to a mere sampling of the vast smorgasbord of personalities and topics that we have brought you -- and will continue to bring you as we widen our community ever further. In a time when political discourse seems to be hardening and shrinking, we hope to be providing you with completely the opposite experience. Enjoy.

-- Danielle Crittenden, Managing Editor, Blogs

CONRAD BLACK
My Destruction by Murdoch
Personally, Murdoch is an enigma. My best guess is that culturally he is an Archie Bunker who enjoys locker room scatological humour and detests effete liberalism...

MEG TILLY
Mothers and Daughters: Can You Give Your Daughter a Happy Life?
...This is the section of her post that burrows in deep and my heart aches and my throat constricts with a million things I want to say...

RYAN GOSLING and JOHN PRENDERGAST
Watch I Am Congo -- Because We're Not in it
Most of the stories we hear about Congo are of rape, conflict, and exploitation. Those stories are real and we saw plenty of evidence of them. But that's not the whole story of Congo...

CHARLIE ANGUS
What if They Declared an Emergency and No One Came?
It's been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation took the extraordinary step of declaring a state of emergency. Since then, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community...

PETER WORTHINGTON
My Stalker, Clifford Olson
I had an hour's meeting with Olson in Quebec's Ste-Anne-des-Plaines penitentiary last November when he asked me, instead of a lawyer, to attend his parole hearing...

SARAH HARMER
Singing for the Salamander
Do we really need to wait months for this decision? C'mon Premier McGuinty, play fair! Give us the damn biologist's opinion...

DAVID SUZUKI
Burn Calories, Not Gas: Ride a Bike
What's amazing is that, almost 200 years after the first two-wheeler was made, people are still able to come up with innovative ideas for one of the simplest and most practical and efficient transportation devices ever invented...

CRAIG AND MARC KIELBURGER
First Nations Children "Had Never Seen a Shower Before"
The girls were sent for a shower. When they didn't return, Blackstock went in to check on them. "I'll never forget the look in their eyes. It was as if they had been shoved into a different world..."

KEVIN MCDONALD
Ear Hair -- Who Knew?
And why am I thinning on the side of my head? I've never heard of that before! Why is my hair inventing something new like that? Thank God for my ear hair -- it's covering up the side of my head where I'm losing my real hair...

ELIZABETH MAY
If I Were Prime Minister...
In Canada, at the moment, we face a significant menace to our democracy. The prime minister of Canada (stated as a generic, rather than a personal reality) has far more power than a U.S. president or a U.K. prime minister...

DANIELLE CRITTENDEN
Bartender, a Dirty Martini With a Tampon!
Admittedly, I'm not a vodka drinker. I drink gin in the warmer months, Scotch in winter. I'm particular about the glass my drink is served in. The right "vehicle" seems as important to the taste and pleasure of the drink as the right amount of ice or mixer. Which is why it never occurred to me until now to serve my drink in a tampon...

ANGELINA CHAPIN
Who Knew There Were Breasts Under That Burka?!
I know bras can get get people stirred up, but I think we all need to calm down a little over the recent photo of a Muslim woman in a burka holding one up...

AYAAN HIRSI ALI
How to Honour the Victims of "Honour Killings"

I applaud the Crown attorney in Ontario for having the courage to pursue an honour violence motive in this case. They are among a small group of prosecutors in North America willing to recognize honour killings for what they are: a shameful form of violence against women supported by insidious notions of honour...

CHANGE MY MIND: Farzana Hassan vs. Farah Mawani
Agree or disagree: Muslim face coverings (such as the burka and niqab) should be banned in free and democratic societies.

CHANGE MY MIND: Doug Knight vs Ryan Doyle
Agree or disagree: Hockey is more important to the Canadian identity than the arts.

JOSHUA OSTROFF
Justin Trudeau On Peter Kent: Calling Environment Minister A ‘Piece Of S**t' Was Ugly But It Worked
Though he immediately apologized and says he’s still “not proud of having to use un-parliamentary language,” Trudeau told The Huffington Post Canada that in hindsight he’s happy his choice of words had the impact they did...

DANIEL ALEXANDRE PORTORARO
Live Blogging Occupy Eviction
More protesters began arriving just before noon. A police officer put the number at 1,200, but to me it seemed more like 400. The tents had already begun folding like houses of cards, mostly at the hands of city workers...

ANDREW WESTOLL
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: Excerpt
Chimpanzee and human ears alike have been ringing nonstop, and Spock and Maya have tried a number of times to grab Toby's fingers beneath the caging -- if not to punish him for being a nuisance then simply to scare him quiet...

YONI GOLDSTEIN
Why Not Legalize Marijuana? Here's Why
Pot rules are perfectly fine the way they are right now. It's illegal enough to make kids think twice before smoking and keep our cities clean and active, but not illegal enough to stop sensible people from enjoying a nice toke in private...

J.J. MCCULLOUGH
Harper's Secret Plot to Fan Pundit Paranoia
I'm sure there are those who imagine the life of a journalist to be an endless romp of glamour and excitement, but for many of the hapless folks who actually toil in the field, writing clever things about politicians is simply work -- and the biggest thrill comes at quittin' time...

IRWIN COTLER
How Can the World Stand By and Let This Happen?
The Syrian government's slaughter of innocents has already claimed more than 8,000 lives with "merciless disregard" for their humanity, as UK foreign correspondent Marie Colvin put it the day before she was murdered as well -- and at the same time 150 more were murdered in the aftermath of the "Referendum farce" which would have authorized Assad's rule for another 14 years...

TAREK FATAH
"A Man's Honour Lies Between the Legs of a Woman"
This ownership or possession of Muslim women by the men in their families was summed up best by professor Shahrzad Mojab of University of Toronto as "the crude Arabic expression that 'A man's honour lies between the legs of a woman...' "

SUPRIYA DWIVEDI
While You Protest, I'm Going to Class
As the child of immigrants, I often find it hard to air grievances pertaining to matters that would be hashtagged as #firstworldproblems. So, when a bunch of over-privileged, entitled kids overreact to situations that really aren't that bad, I have a hard time relating to them...

MAUDE BARLOW
I Occupied the White House
Yesterday, I stood in the warm Washington sunshine and joined thousands of peaceful demonstrators as we surrounded the White House in a shout out for climate justice...

ANDREW WEAVER
Our New Study: Global Warming From Coal Worse than Oil Sands
In the midst of the controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline last fall, two of us -- Neil Swart, a PhD student in my lab, and I -- undertook to measure the likely impact of oil sands development upon world climate...

CHELSEA VOWEL
A 7-Year-Old Aboriginal Girl's Battle to Tell the Truth at School
Ruby wanted to share information about the effects Indian residential school had on her family and community in terms of language loss...

GLEN PEARSON
Has Canada Lost its Honour?
The Machiavellian nature of our present Canadian political power structure has the potent result of demeaning the very greatness that honoured us at home and abroad...

JOSH SCHEINERT
Dear America: You Have a Gay Problem
This is Canada, your northern neighbour (I spell it with a "u"). Blessed with a bird's eye view, I've watched troubling developments unfold below...

DOUGLAS ANTHONY COOPER
How Not to Get Beheaded in Mexico
You are as likely to have your head removed against your will in my town -- Oaxaca -- as you are to be murdered by roving, machete-crazed gangs in Martha's Vineyard...

RANA FLORIDA
Creative Spaces: Airports Don't Need to Be Sheer Misery
Airports are gateways to cities and for those who are new to a city, the airport provides a powerful first impression...

JIM HARRIS
Harper Conquers Canada, One Robocall at a Time
The widening "robocall scandal" is deeply disturbing -- as is its media coverage...

TIM KNIGHT
Watching the Watchdog: Quit Complaining, CBC, and Prove Your Worth
I'd hoped I wouldn't have to write about the CBC for a while. In fact I've already checked out The Naked News (The Program With Nothing to Hide) as a welcome change of pace...

KAITLIN KOCHANY
The Real Things You Should Have And Know By 30
There's an unbelievable amount of work women in their 20s do as they transform themselves from teenagers to adults. It's a lot. It takes more than a trip to Home Depot or Victoria's Secret...

NICOLE FORRESTER
6 Things Women Look for in a Man
At the end of the day, all a woman wants is to be adored. Yes, it's that simple...

ROSE REISMAN
Health Washing: How to Avoid Supermarket Cover-Ups
There are many foods lurking in our shopping cart that you initially thought were healthy but in fact are not...

HINA P. ANSARI
The Scars Beneath the Pink Ribbon
When fashion photographer, David Jay discovered that one of his regular subjects was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 32, he immediately did what he could do best: He picked up his camera...

MARCIA SIROTA
Seven Steps To Mind-Blowing Sex
Some bad old habits and beliefs are keeping us from having the best sex possible. I'm suggesting seven simple, common-sense ways for women to have more fun and fulfilling sex...

EMELIA SYMINGTON FEDY
Brazillian Waxing as Spiritual Practice
I may be the only 33-year-old in the Western world that has not gotten the full meal deal when it comes to waxing, so I thought it was high time...

CHRIS JANCELEWICZ
The Hunger Games: 26 Reasons To See It, From A-Z
In a nutshell: The Hunger Games isn't a sublime opus by any stretch of the imagination, but there is an intangible quality to the movie that makes you want to root for it...

DENETTE WILFORD
CBC Goes Big And Hits Home
The demise of the CBC has always been a source of amusement. Hardy har har. This year, however, the Canadian broadcaster is in on the joke...

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