This year has been chock full of news, from legitimate stories to those that take up more mental landscape than they deserve. But even amidst all the drama and noise, there were stories from 2017 that really did stand out — and that we expect to continue following into 2018 and perhaps even beyond.
The last 12 months saw new activism from women in Canada, and around the world, from protests to whistleblowing to running for office. We enjoyed the fun rise of Cardi B, who started out on reality TV and rose to break chart records with the hit of the summer. And black musicians, athletes, and actors reached new heights and pushed for greater civil rights.
Here are 10 big stories from 2017 that still deserve our attention — and aren't going to go away in 2018.
Celebrity sexual assaults
Activist Tarana Burke began the #MeToo movement years ago, but the hashtag reached new audiences this year as a wave of prominent men faced allegations of sexual harassment and assault. "Big names like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer all lost their jobs while more and more stories [of sexual harassment and assault] continue to come to light," wellness expert Caleb Backe tells HuffPost Canada.
In 2018 it's likely we'll learn more about workplace harassment and violence against women and force ourselves, our family and our friends to learn how we can help ensure it doesn't happen.
Cardi B's success
The breakout music star of the year was Cardi B, a one-time reality TV star who broke records with her infectious rap hit "Bodak Yellow."
The "regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx" is set to have a big 2018 thanks to her fun Instagram, her endorsement deals, and her new music. If nothing else, she'll make the year fun — and we might need it.
The election that capped off 2016 kick-started action in 2017, especially from women. A record-breaking protest was held in Washington in January, with concurrent events held around the world.
The organization behind the march has continued its work all year, and their actions should be watched leading up to the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.
This past year has been a big one for black activism, thanks in large part to the continued reverberations of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.
Players across professional sports leagues have continued the silent protests that Kaepernick sparked in 2016, and mainstream stars like Beyonce have praised his activism.
Come 2018, we will likely see more professional athletes #TakeAKnee in protest of the systematic oppression of people of colour, and their allies supporting them. It's a good reminder for us to take a good look at what they're protesting and why, and how we can be better allies.
Looking Back At 2017:
We all needed a little extra comfort in 2017, right? That might explain why hygge — a Danish concept about comfort and a sense of wellbeing — was found everywhere from bookshelves to lifestyle stores.
Of course, not all trends can last forever and hygge is no exception. First everyone moved on to lagom, which is a bit more about balance and finding a happy medium. And 2018 might be all about Swedish death cleaning, which sounds a lot less comforting to us. But, judging by the news cycle, we will probably need a lot of that hygge comfort come 2018, so it's not too late to jump on the bandwagon.
Black excellence in Hollywood
The #OscarsSoWhite discussion in 2016 seemed to be reflected in the wider diversity seen in 2017's Oscar nominees and winners, which included a Best Picture win for "Moonlight." Then "Girls Trip" and "Get Out" became two of the year's biggest financial and critical hits.
Watch for further representation of black talent on the big screen in 2018 with the much-anticipated release of "Black Panther" in February, "A Wrinkle in Time" (starring Oprah and newcomer Storm Reid, and directed by Ava DuVernay) in March, as well as the start of production on the film "The Hate U Give," based on the bestselling book.
Gord Downie's legacy
Canada lost a musical giant this year with the death of Gord Downie, who was recently named the Canadian Press Newsmaker for the second year in a row. Downie released a solo album shortly before his death, and a documentary film of his band's final tour aired shortly after his passing.
In the year to come, we'll see how Downie's legacy (his contributions to Indigenous reconciliation will always be remembered) begins to unfold, and what his Tragically Hip bandmates do next.
It seems that from the first few minutes of 2017, heavy focus was placed on the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation. Some of this was celebratory; the government put considerable funds into festivals, art projects, and a polarizing giant rubber duck, and Canada's many national parks saw large numbers of visitors thanks to free admission.
At the same time, Indigenous people continued to point out the ways that Canada's first century and a half had not been kind to them.
Canada is now an established country, with a new international profile. In 2018, we should watch for signs of what we plan to focus on for our next 150 years, at home and abroad.
Streaming keeps growing
The dominance of streaming television services continues to expand, both culturally and financially. Series like "Stranger Things" and "GLOW" were hits and award nominees; Amazon released an Apple TV app for its Prime offerings, reaching new audiences; and the Canadian government announced a partnership pitched as a boon for Canadian content. Now it's time to watch for how that will play out, and which show will be the next big hit.
In 2017 the federal and provincial governments of Canada began rolling out their plans for marijuana legalization, and many details, along with legalization itself, are still to come in the new year.
"The sea of change that is coming with legalization will affect all segments of Canadian society, some in ways we don't realize yet," publicist Tracy Lamourie tells HuffPost Canada.
Watch for marijuana legalization to affect all aspects of the country in 2018, from laws and medical practices to culinary and lifestyle trends.