1. An adorable robot successfully hitchhiked across Canada
Yup, you read that right. HitchBOT, a friendly, trivia-loving robot was set loose on the side of the road in Nova Scotia with the goal of reaching Victoria, BC. With intelligent access to Wikipedia, Instagram, and Twitter, HitchBOT made its way across the country by getting picked up by friendly Canadian strangers. Being polite is one thing; being too polite to pass a hitchhiking robot is a whole other level.
2. NASA teams up with Canadians to intercept a deadly asteroid
It’s no Armageddon, but in 2180 an asteroid called Bennu will come dangerously close to Earth and could potentially collide. Nasa and Canadian scientists teamed up to land a ship on Bennu to collect samples and help determine if the asteroid will put a big dent in our home. All I’m saying is…Canadians probably just saved the world. And we did it without Bruce Willis!
3. Hockey got even better
Hockey-lovers-turned-fundraisers, Five Hole for Food, have been taking their game on the road getting cities to play hockey in the streets and donate food to local food banks. This summer the group hit their goal of raising one million pounds of donated food. The group hasn’t stopped there and have also started Footy for Food and Hoops for Food internationally.
4. Chris Hadfield continues being awesome
Hadfield might have sung Space Oddity, in outer space, in 2013, but this year he received the Order of Canada, and continued to make space cool again for everyone.
5. Canadians kicked some serious hockey butt in Sochi
Team Canada not only brought home 25 medals, the most successful run on foreign soil for Canada ever, they also killed it in hockey, which we all know matters most — taking a 3-0 gold medal in Men’s Ice Hockey over Sweden and a 3-2 gold medal in Women’s Ice Hockey over the US.
6. Canada champions diversity
Speaking of Sochi, remember all the controversy around Russia’s stance on gay rights? The Canadian Institute of Diversity put out an amazing video response:
7. Okay, one last thing about Russia…
No matter where you stand politically, most of us felt proud of our country when Prime Minister Stephen Harper boldly told Putin to “…get out of Ukraine.” Also Canada’s NATO account posted a hilarious map just to ensure we all knew what was, and was not, Russia. We might be a country small in population, but we have clout politically and we’re all proud when Canada takes a stand on behalf of other countries — even when it’s with a cheeky tweet.
8. Canada becomes a world leader in fusion
Fusion could change the world with a sustainable and super clean energy that would cost little and harness the same reaction the sun uses to create energy. It’s a sustainability game changer. This year, a privately-funded BC group called General Fusion, working out of a warehouse in BC’s Lower Mainland, is closer than ever to seeing that energy perfected. General Fusion put Canada on the map as a leader in the fusion industry.
9. During the Ebola virus outbreak, Canada raced to make a vaccine
Canadian scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory made the first vaccine called VSV-EBOV that went to the largest human trials in Switzerland — a huge step forward in eradicating the Ebola virus for good.
10. Praise for Canadian media
In October 2014, a gunman opened fire at a monument in Ottawa before moving on to Parliament Hill after fatally wounding the unarmed Corporal Nathan Cirillo. After the horror of the event, Canadian media was praised internationally for the way the events were reported — calmly, without fear mongering or jumping to conclusions, and the shooter was found to be mentally unwell and acting on his own. Justin Trudeau succinctly said after the lockdown, “Losing ourselves to fear and speculation is the intention of those who commit these heinous acts,” and Canadian media impressed the world by avoiding just that.
11. Leafs fans finish US national anthem
During a technical glitch at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto before the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators, the American anthem singer’s mic cut out. Canadian fans stepped up immediately and finished singing the anthem, giving respect to our neighbours to the south.