1. Donald Trump
As the top overall search on Yahoo Canada for the second year in a row, Canadians continued to be fascinated by Trump throughout 2018. As we head into the new year, there’s little evidence the Trump trend will waver.
The Stormy Daniels saga dominated headlines after the porn star revealed she had an affair with Trump and was threatened into signing an agreement to deny the interaction. Then there was the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice, resulting in an investigation into Christine Blasey Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in Northern California, and her allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. These are both in addition to Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian medaling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Also in 2018, Trump joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and now-former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to sign the “new NAFTA” deal, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Negotiations before the official signing led to the #BoycottUS and #BuyCanadian movement, where people across Canada and internationally started to boycott products made in the U.S.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
Canada’s baseball team finished the last season with a less than stellar performance. The month of May was the first time the team ever failed to win back-to-back games throughout the whole month. The team also saw significant injuries for key players, including Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson. Back in September, it was announced the team’s general manager, John Gibbons, would be leaving his post, while star player Roberto Osuna dealt with sexual assault allegations, which were eventuall withdrawn.
As the team prepares for the 2019 season, with a number of trades on the horizon, Jays fans are hoping they will be able to put on a strong performance in the season to come.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander and Auston Matthews have been dominating headlines for the Leafs. Matthews was off the ice for 14 games with an shoulder injury, making his big return in late November. News of Nylander playing for the Maple Leafs for the 2018-19 season caused incredible excitement for the team’s fans. The player became a restricted free agent during the off-season but just before the December deadline, Nylander signed a six year contract that brought him back to Toronto.
4. Justin Trudeau
The Canadian prime minister is a leaving quite a year behind him.
Justin Trudeau’s government finally rolled the legalization of cannabis across the country near the end of the year, a key promise from his campaign. But the Liberals also received significant criticism about the management of asylum seekers coming into Canada through irregular border border crossings from the U.S. Provincial governments and municipalities, particularly in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, feel the federal government should provide more resource and funding to manage the influx of asylum seekers, which has occurred since 2017.
Trudeau himself also got some unwanted attention after a trip to India took an unexpected turn. It was revealed the trip cost upwards of $1.5 million, more than was originally disclosed by the government. The Trudeau family as a whole also received some questions about their attire for the trip, many thinking their “traditional attire” was more “costume attire.”
5. Meghan Markle
You can’t think of 2018 without thinking about the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot.
The American actress, who lived in Toronto while filming the television series “Suits,” had a Canadian presence at the wedding. Stylist Jessica Mulroney appeared as maid of honor, while Mulroney’s three children with husband and television host Ben Mulroney were among the bridesmaid and page boys.
Since officially becoming a married couple, Markle is now pregnant with the couple’s first child, so there’s more royal excitement to look forward to in 2019.
6. Canadian Dollar
This year the loonie plunged below many international currencies, linked to the price of crude oil and a decline in employment at the beginning of the year. When the new USMCA deal was finally reached between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, the dollar did jump three quarters of a cent, creating some relief for the slumping loonie. But the dollar has now tumbled to an 18-month low against its U.S. counterparts, pushed by concerns about trade tensions with the U.S.
7. Doug Ford
From a criticized Liberal government to a controversial new premier, Doug Ford’s election as the leader of the province was met with responses ranging from relief and optimism, to confusion and anger.
The Ford government recently released a new climate change plan, without the inclusion of a carbon tax. This comes after scrapping the province’s cap and trade plan earlier in the year. The premier also received significant criticism in July for rolling back Ontario sex-ed program and announced the cancellation of the basic income pilot project, which provided funds to low-income individuals in the province.
When it comes to the city of Toronto in particular, the ex-city councillor made a controversial move to pass legislation that reduced the number of council positions from 47 to 25 just before the municipal election.
8. Melania Trump
The U.S. First Lady certainly made headlines of her own in 2018.
Back in June, Trump wore a jacket with the words “I really don’t care. Do U?” on the back while on a trip to an immigrant children’s shelter at the US-Mexico border. Trump’s team released a statement saying there wasn’t a hidden message in the jacket, but many still criticized the First Lady’s outfit choice. Trump’s fashion was a trend throughout the year, both good and bad, including a trip to Egypt where she said she “doesn’t always agree” with her husband’s tweets.
As we head into the holiday season, the First Lady’s White House decorations did not disappoint. A sea of blood-red Christmas trees got significant attention online, with references to the horror film “The Shining” and the popular book turned television series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
9. World Cup
This year also marked the 21st FIFA World Cup in Russia. The international tournament was off to a shaky start before it even started, when allegations of bribery crept up related to the host country selection. But the tournament persisted in Russia and saw France take home the coveted trophy with a 4-2 win against Croatia. The defending champions, Germany, had a poor showing and were sent out of the tournament in the group stage.
10. Winnipeg Jets
In April, the Winnipeg Jets won their first playoff series in franchise history against the Minnesota Wild. The team then advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time, but went on to lose to the Vegas Golden Knights, only winning one game in the series.