2021 Year in Review: Looking back at the 10 most-searched news storylines on Yahoo Canada

·Editor, Yahoo Canada
·5 min read
(Left to right for a split screen image) Ontario Premier Doug Ford takes off his mask; the Ever Given ship is stuck in the Suez Canal; Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie pose for a selfie
From COVID-19, to manhunts, to meme-producing catastrophes, 2021 surely had it all. (Credit: CP Images, Getty Images, Instagram)

With 2021 coming to an end, it’s time to look back. Ultimately, this was supposed to be the year that we distanced ourselves from the horror that took place in 2020. Instead, in some regards, 2021 was even worse.

The year opened our eyes to unfathomable situations. Each week, it felt like a new tragedy or unthinkable event took place. It’d capture the news cycle, until the next worst thing stumbled along.

Below, we look into the top 10 most searched news storylines on Yahoo Canada in a year that sure had plenty.

10. Suez Canal

At face value, this was comical: A massive boat (Ever Given) got stuck in the Suez Canal. In the end, it was quite serious, stopping billions in world trade for the week it was jammed. Along with sparking global concern for a solution, it produced one of the best rounds of memes all year. Even though it took place in March (a lifetime ago), we are still unsure of how it happened.

9. Astroworld

Ten people died from compression asphyxia at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in November, after a massive crowd surge took place. Hundreds were injured, while the youngest victim was nine years old. For the 30-year-old rapper, it’s brought on a wave of criticism (and lawsuits), with advocates pointing out the lengthy history of violence and danger that’s become synonymous with his shows.

8. Miami condo collapse

It took only 20 seconds for the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida, to grab the world’s attention — as it collapsed and took the lives of 98 people, including four Canadians. But the tragedy was years in the making, with warnings about the 13-storey building’s structural damage coming to light.

This aerial view, shows search and rescue personnel working on site after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021. - The multi-story apartment block in Florida partially collapsed early June 24, sparking a major emergency response. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told NBCs Today show: My police chief has told me that we transported two people to the hospital this morning at least and one has died. We treated ten people on the site. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
This aerial view, shows search and rescue personnel working on site after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021 (Credit: Chandan Khanna/ AFP via Getty Images)

7. Mars Rover

2021 marked a big year for space exploration, with both the U.S.’s Perseverance and China’s Zhurong rovers landing on Mars. China became the first country outside of the U.S. to safely land a rover on the red planet. The more the merrier as we continue to learn about Mars’ history and state. In the meantime, we’ve gotten a glimpse into our potential next home.

6. Alec Baldwin

The Rust tragedy brought us into the realities and dangers of the film industry, after the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot by Alec Baldwin. He maintains he’s not responsible as an investigation continues into how a prop gun with live ammunition made its way on set.

5. Gabby Petito

The world’s attention turned to Gabby Petito in the fall of 2021 — becoming one of the most publicized missing person cases to date, with her fiancé Brian Laundrie becoming the main suspect. The 22-year-old’s body was ultimately found in a Wyoming forest after a U.S.-wide manhunt, with her cause of death being ruled a strangulation in the manner of homicide.

While the search was important, the storyline also raised the issue of why other missing person cases didn’t get the same coverage, especially amid all the missing and murdered Indigenous women throughout North America.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie pose for a selfie on a beach
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie pose for a selfie on a beach

4. Kyle Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse has become an American symbol after killing two people, and injuring another, with an AR-15-style riffle at a racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The 18-year-old has been acquitted of all charges following one of the more controversial trials in recent history, after arguing that he acted in self-defence. Since then, he’s ridden his newfound fame — appearing on Fox News, trying to feud LeBron James, and attending conservative conferences to the view of standing ovations.

3. Doug Ford announcement

When Doug Ford speaks, we listen. As the premier of Canada’s most populous province, he’s dictated how many of us have lived our daily lives. He hasn’t held nearly as many press conferences as in 2020, but when he does, it still constantly creates headlines and oftentimes controversy for Ontarians.

For example, remember when on a late Friday afternoon in April, he and his government announced that police would be able to randomly stop any pedestrian or driver, to ask for their home address and reason for being out of their residence. Ultimately, that restriction was rescinded a day later.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on after speaking during a press conference at Queens Park in Toronto. (Credit: Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)
Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on after speaking during a press conference at Queens Park in Toronto. (Credit: Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

2. Brian Laundrie

While Petito’s body was identified on Sept. 22 in Wyoming, Brian Laundrie remained a focus internationally until his remains were identified Oct. 21 in Florida — his cause of death deemed a suicide. As the main suspect in a homicide investigation, even Dog the Bounty Hunter felt the need to get involved in the search.

1. Ontario COVID-19

The virus continues to hold the same grip on Ontario to end the year as it did to start. Just like in January, COVID-19 is ravaging through the province, as the Ford government appears unprepared.

At times, it’s been near impossible to keep up and understand the ever-changing COVID-19 guidance and restrictions. Naturally, considering the population, Ontario has seen the most total COVID-19 cases. For a third time, residents have described a Hunger Games-like situation to acquire vaccines, to go along with the hunt for COVID-19 rapid tests.

It’s tough to live in Ontario, so it makes sense that “Ontario COVID-19” is the most popular search term, as residents look for answers to try and keep up.

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