The stuff Canadians googled the most this year may not shock too many people.
As they do every year, Google released a list of searches that dominated 2019 in Canada this week. The Toronto Raptors dominated almost every search, which is no surprise given their historic summer run that led to the team’s first championship NBA title.
Canada’s chaotic federal election season also made its way into Google searches this year. But Canadian’s didn’t just want election results. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s name didn’t make it onto the most-searched Canadians list, people were asking “Why is blackface offensive?” after photos of him in racist makeup surfaced this year.
Google also listed the top five Canadians that people searched this year. Here are the most googled Canadians of 2019 and the stories behind why they made the list.
If anyone had a particularly spectacular year, it was 19-year-old tennis player Bianca Andreescu. The fresh face from Mississauga, Ont., seemingly came out of nowhere. In the span of the year, she went from being the No. 152 ranked women’s player in the world to becoming the highest-ranked Canadian tennis player in WTA Tour history at No. 4 in October.
Andreescu came into national prominence when she made it to the Rogers Cup women’s final, where she faced off against American tennis legend Serena Williams. She won that tournament and went on to defeat Williams again at the U.S. Open, becoming the first Canadian singles player to ever win a Grand Slam title while denying Williams her 24th.
In fact, this year was filled with firsts for Andreescu. She was also the first Canadian to win the Rogers Cup in 50 years. To cap off 2019, Andreescu received the Lou Marsh trophy for the country’s top athlete, the first ever awarded to a tennis player.
But it wasn’t just Andreescu’s play on the court that caught the country’s attention. Her supportive and stylish parents (and adorable dog, too) were hard to miss on live broadcasts. And Canadians definitely wanted to know more about Nicu and Maria Andreescu, too, Google results showed.
For decades, Don Cherry has been no stranger to controversy. Having hosted “Coach’s Corner” on CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” for 33 seasons, the former NHL coach and hockey commentator would sometimes create headlines of his own during his Saturday night broadcasts, making him a much-talked about Canadian.
But Cherry seemed to hit a nerve this year after he appeared to target immigrants during a rant about Remembrance Day poppies. Cherry repeatedly referred to newcomers as “you people” and suggested those who come to Canada don’t pay respect to veterans.
The 85-year-old was fired by Sportsnet, who issued a statement saying Cherry’s remarks did not represent their values. Even his long-time co-host, Ron MacLean, apologized for the incident, which sparked a massive backlash online. MacLean called Cherry’s statement’s “flat-out wrong.”
The Cherry debacle stirred a national debate on hockey and race, and why Cherry held on to his position for so long despite making offensive remarks before this one.
Cherry didn’t immediately apologize for his comments, and after he was fired, followed the route of other disgraced Canadians — he pivoted to podcast. And Canadians seem to want to know what “Grapes” will say next, as his name and podcast appeared also high among Google searches.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made history this year as the first visible minority to lead a federal party during a general election. And Singh made sure he was known, too, by sporting colourful turbans and trendy outfits.
Singh also made his mark during the election, making headlines for his platform to raise the minimum wage and tax Canada’s highest earners. His response and quick jabs during the federal leaders’ debate sure caught national attention. And his promise to do “whatever it takes” to end boil-water advisories on reserves also made headlines during the campaign.
But people also turned to the NDP leader when Trudeau was caught in the blackface scandal. Singh’s honest and emotional response came off as not just a statement from a fellow politician, but as a person who lived the experience of being a racial and religious minority in Canada. It was a hot topic for many Canadians as Google data shows that blackface was one of the top search terms of the year.
Singh hit many firsts during his first election campaign as a federal leader, but he really stole the show on social media. He created a name for himself among youth for being the first Canadian politician to use TikTok as a campaign tool.