2020: A Year in Review

A look back at the moments that defined a historic and unprecedented 2020


Here's What Canadians Searched For In 2020

There are many ways to define 2020 and these 10 topics give us a good start. COVID-19 surely made its imprint in Canada, with officials such as Justin Trudeau, Doug Ford and Dr. Theresa Tam constantly in the spotlight. Their every move was judged as Canadians looked for answers in a year that created so many questions. But our national interest spread beyond those who were making moves at home; Donald Trump was the most common search topic in 2020, dominating headlines from start to finish by playing a crucial role in WW3 rumours to making this year's U.S. presidential election unlike any other. We know the world's attention was also on Canada, following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to move to British Columbia. Royals drama served as a much needed distraction this year, with so many Canadians constantly worried about staying afloat with programs from the Canada Revenue Agency. With so much going on, these 10 most searched topics on Yahoo Canada helped frame a year that's been nothing but unpredictable.
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  • The Canadian Press

    Bezos and Bloomberg among top 50 US charity donors for 2020

    As the world grappled with COVID-19, a recession and a racial reckoning, the ultrawealthy gave to a broader set of causes than ever before — bestowing multimillion-dollar gifts on food pantries, historically Black colleges and universities and organizations that serve the poor and the homeless, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual rankings of the 50 Americans who gave the most to charity last year. Another cause that got outsize attention from billionaire philanthropists: Climate change. Jeff Bezos topped the list by donating $10 billion to launch the Bezos Earth Fund. Bezos, who last week announced he was stepping down as Amazon CEO to devote more time to philanthropy and other projects, also contributed $100 million to Feeding America, the organization that supplies more than 200 food banks. No. 2 on the list was Bezos’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who gave $5.7 billion in 2020 by asking community leaders to help identify 512 organizations for seven- and eight-figure gifts, including food banks, human-service organizations, and racial-justice charities. Another donor who gave big to pandemic causes and racial-justice efforts was Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, who ranked No. 5. He put $1.1 billion into a fund that by year’s end had distributed at least $330 million to more than 100 nonprofits. The financier Charles Schwab and his wife, Helen (No. 24), gave $65 million to address homelessness in San Francisco. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and wife, Patty Quillin (No. 14), gave $120 million for financial aid for students at historically Black colleges and universities. Michael Jordan, the basketball great (No. 31), pledged $50 million to racial and social-justice groups. “When I look at the events of the last year, there was an awakening for the philanthropic sector,” says Nick Tedesco, president of the National Center for Family Philanthropy. “Donors supported community-led efforts of recovery and resiliency, particularly those led by people of colour.” Giving experts say they think the trend toward broader giving is likely to persist. “I don’t think this approach is just a 12-month moment that started with COVID and continued following George Floyd and is going to recede,” says Melissa Berman, president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which counsels donors around the world. “There has been change building among private donors.” All told, the 50 biggest donors contributed $24.7 billion in 2020, compared with $15.8 billion in 2019. Still, those gifts come from a small share of the billionaire class. Only 23 of the people on the Forbes 400 gave enough to qualify for the list. Many of the multimillion-dollar donations came from people far less wealthy, like Gordon Rausser, a former dean of natural resources at the University of California at Berkeley. The Chronicle’s rankings are based on the total amount philanthropists awarded in 2020. The information is based on extensive research with donors, their beneficiaries, and public records. The No. 3 donor was Michael Bloomberg, who contributed $1.6 billion to arts, education, public health, and many other causes. Nike founder Phil and Penelope Knight were next, donating $1.4 billion, $900.7 million of it to their Knight Foundation. The $1 billion-plus of giving by each of the top five on the Philanthropy 50 matches last year’s record. No more than three donors gave $1 billion or more in any of the previous years. Sixteen donors in this year’s list — nearly a third of the Philanthropy 50 — made their fortunes in technology, and 20 of them live in California. Joe Gebbia (No. 47), the 39-year-old co-founder of Airbnb, has seen his net worth shoot up to around $12 billion following his company’s initial public offering in December. During 2020, he gave $25 million to two San Francisco charities that are tackling homelessness and helping people who have suffered economically due to the pandemic. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate and believe that comes with the responsibility of giving back,” Gebbia says. “Where will I take it? The sky is the limit.” At a time when tech billionaires’ wealth is compounding and many working people are still suffering from the pandemic’s fallout, philanthropic expectations have never been higher. David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, highlighted the disparate effects of the pandemic in a January interview on the PBS NewsHour. “During the pandemic, billionaires made $5.2 billion in increased wealth per day,” he said. “All we are asking for is $5 billion to avert famine around the world. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.” Elon Musk, whose $180 billion fortune puts him neck-and-neck with Bezos for richest person in the world, is not on the Philanthropy 50. Musk has faced criticism for his meagre lifetime donations, estimated in a recent Vox article at just 0.05 per cent of his current net worth. If small and midsize charities were the notable winners in 2020, does that make large universities the losers? Hardly. Colleges and universities received $2.2 billion from Philanthropy 50 donors in 2020. But Benjamin Soskis, a research associate in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, says the most striking change with this year’s Philanthropy 50 list is that it presents a plurality of options for giving. “There’s a big difference between a hypothetical ‘Why didn’t you give to an HBCU instead of Harvard?’ and today’s list, where you can point to donors who actually did that.” More details about the Philanthropy 50 are available at ___ This article was provided to The Associated Press by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Maria Di Mento is a senior reporter at the Chronicle. Email: The AP and the Chronicle receive support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP and the Chronicle are solely responsible for all content. Maria Di Mento And Ben Gose Of The Chronicle Of Philanthropy, The Associated Press

  • The Canadian Press

    Toronto Film Critics Association names "Nomadland" best picture of 2020

    TORONTO — The Toronto Film Critics Association has given "Nomadland" three of its top awards, including best picture of 2020. The organization also named Chloé Zhao best director and Frances McDormand best actress for the touching drama, about a community of nomads living in vans in the American west. The TFCA announced the winners of the 24th annual awards via Twitter Sunday, and will hold a virtual gala live on YouTube on March 9. The virtual gala will announce the winner of the Rogers $100,000 Best Canadian Film Award from a field of three finalists. The finalists are Louise Archambault's "And the Birds Rained Down," "Anne at 13,000 Ft." by Kazik Radwanski, and "White Lie" by Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Runners-up will each receive $5,000. Eligible contenders for this year's TFCA awards include films that were released in theatres or streamed in Toronto in 2020, as well as films that qualify for the 2020 Academy Awards and have a Toronto release scheduled by the end of March 2021. Other winners announced Sunday include Riz Ahmed as best actor for playing a drummer who loses his hearing in "Sound of Metal." Maria Bakalova got best supporting actress for playing the daughter of the Kazakhstani journalist protagonist in the mockumentary "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." Daniel Kaluuya took best supporting actor for playing Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in "Judas and the Black Messiah." Lee Isaac Chung won best screenplay for the Korean-American family farming drama "Minari." And Radha Blank’s comedy "The Forty-Year Old Version," about a playwright who becomes a hip-hop artist, took best first feature. Nabbing best international film was the Brazilian genre-blurring thriller "Bacurau," while the Allan King Documentary Film Award went to "Collective," about journalists investigating a deadly night-club fire in Romania. "Wolfwalkers" took best animated feature. Indigenous producer Jason Ryle is the 2021 recipient of the Clyde Gilmour Award, which recognizes a Canadian industry figure "who has made a substantial and outstanding contribution to the advancement and/or history of Canadian cinema." Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, whose short film "Black Bodies" just screened at the Sundance Film Festival, is the winner of the Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist. And a tie vote resulted in co-winners for the Cineplex Entertainment Emerging Critic Award: Mark Hanson and Rose Ho. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021. The Canadian Press

  • CBC

    Meet your CBC Ottawa Trailblazers for 2020 and 2021

    COVID-19 has thrown the world into chaos, and the annual CBC Ottawa Trailblazer awards are no exception. Because of the pandemic, we had to postpone the 2020 awards, meaning we couldn't properly recognize the 10 Ottawa residents who've done so much to improve the community they call home. Until now. In fact, this year, you're getting a double shot of inspiration. We'll be honouring not just the recipients of the 2020 awards, but the 10 winners for 2021 as well! It wasn't easy paring down the hundreds of deserving nominees, but we think these winners are the definition of community spirit. They inspired us, and we hope they inspire you, too.

  • The Canadian Press

    Montreal airport estimates $300 million loss for 2020, raises fees amid budget crunch

    Montreal's airport authority estimates that it will have a shortfall of $300 million for 2020, as low travel demand takes a financial toll on airports nationwide. The airport authority is also announcing that it will seek leniency from its creditors to satisfy certain requirements for its bond agreements in 2021 and 2022. ADM Aeroports de Montreal has already raised its fees for this year in an effort to ensure its operations can continue, it said in a news release. Airport improvement fees, which the agency charges to departing passengers at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, rose to $35 from $30 on Feb. 1. Additional fees for airlines and cargo operators have already been implemented or will be in the coming months, the agency said. In a statement, Philippe Rainville, president and CEO of ADM Aeroports de Montreal, said he hopes the government will soon provide more financial assistance to the air sector. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press

  • People

    Andrelton Simmons Reveals He Skipped End of 2020 MLB Season Due to Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

    "The idea of finishing the season in a bubble was too much for me to handle," the MLB shortstop said

  • CBC

    Regina police have issued more COVID-19 tickets this month than all of 2020

    The Regina Police Service (RPS) says it has handed out more COVID-19 tickets in the city so far in January than all of last year. In an email Thursday, RPS spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said there had been 17 total COVID-19 tickets, each worth $2,800, issued in Regina as of Jan. 27. Nine of them were issued in January. RPS Sup. Darcy Koch said he felt the education period was good for residents of Regina, but with the health orders in place for nearly a year, guidance from the Premier, the health authority and the chief medical health officer points to enforcement. "The orders are out there for all of our safety and we all want to come out of this, in terms of getting everyone healthy and protecting those that are most vulnerable," Koch said. "We will take every situation that occurs on its own merits. If violations are observed or reported to us, we have the authority to ticket. The first ticket of this year was issued New Year's Day and the most recent was on Jan. 24. "I will emphasize that the primary goal was and continues to be compliance with the Public Health Orders and education," Popowich wrote in Thursday's email. "But there are some cases where enforcement is the appropriate action. A ticket is the lesser of the enforcement actions but it could be arrest and detention in extreme cases." Popowich said she had previously provided reporters with an "informal count" of tickets issued, but that count had been four short. She said she was informed on Wednesday about the four missed tickets and attributed the error in part to the time police and the Saskatchewan Health Authority take in investigating alleged breaches of the public health orders. "Sometimes serving the ticket occurs a week after the alleged breach and perhaps feels like old news to the officer serving the ticket," she wrote. Saskatoon police said they have issued four tickets related to public health order violations so far in 2021, compared to 15 in 2020. A brief statement said officers had responded to 1,425 calls regarding alleged breaches of the public health orders since the pandemic started. Those calls were made to the general police line, not the COVID-19 hotline established by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency. The Public Safety Agency said it could not provide the number of calls to the COVID-19 hotline until Monday. Sask. RCMP said there were 79 charges related to COVID-19 public health order violations from March 2020 to Jan. 14, 2021. The charges broke down as follows: COVID related complaints: 11. Not isolating/quarantine complaints: 42. Large gathering complaints: 22. Masking complaints: four. The Sask. RCMP statement said there were 4,312 complaints where police were either the primary responder or involved alongside the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The Prince Albert Police Service did not respond to a request for information relating to COVID-19 charges or calls regarding alleged breaches of the public health order.

  • The Canadian Press

    Flames' American Hockey League affiliate coming to Calgary for 2020 season

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Flames' American Hockey League affiliate will play home games in Calgary this season after requesting relocation from Stockton, Calif. The Stockton Heat plan to move north of the border for the 2020 season, giving the Flames easier access to their players during the COVID-19 pandemic. The seven Canadian NHL teams are not crossing the border during the regular season this year. The Heat will join the Belleville Senators (Ottawa's top farm team), Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens), Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets) and Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) in the Canadian Division. The league says the schedule for the Canadian Division will be released in the coming days. The move leaves the Vancouver Canucks (Utica, N.Y.) and the Edmonton Oilers (Bakersfield, Calif.) as the lone Canadian teams with American-based AHL affiliates this season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press

  • The Canadian Press

    Conservatives say final months of 2020 a record for fundraising

    OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives say they raised more than $7.6 million in the final three months of 2020. The figures come as all federal parties continue the work of prepping for a potential election this year. The Conservatives said the first six months under their new leader, Erin O'Toole, netted $13.3 million for their party's coffers. In a statement, O'Toole said the results were proof his message of a focus on the economy and job creation is resonating. “The Liberals can focus on keeping their own jobs, Conservatives are focused on securing yours," he said. Financial results for the final quarter of 2020 are also rolling in for the other parties. Records for the Bloc Québécois show that party raised just over $961,000 in that period. Who donates to the Conservative Party has been an issue in recent days over revelations that a known white nationalist contributed to the campaign for one of O'Toole's rivals in last year's leadership race. The party has said that donation will be returned. While the Conservatives raise most of their money via email or telephone campaigns, O'Toole has also been working the circuit for the last few months. Elections Canada records show in the last quarter of 2020, there were days where he was doing as many as three virtual fundraisers, with donors asked to contribute $1,625 — the maximum annual individual donation in 2020 — to attend. He was fundraising for the party, but also to pay off costs of his campaign. Political parties must report on fundraising events with an entry cost over $200 if they are attended by certain prominent people, which includes the leader. The reports don't just indicate the contribution, but who attended. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did do two virtual fundraisers — one on Sept. 10 and one on Nov. 26 — they weren't events that required a donation of over $200, so are not listed on the registry. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and her cabinet colleague Mona Fortier are the only two Liberal cabinet ministers who hosted events in the last quarter that hit the threshold. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also didn't host big-ticket fundraisers, and on Thursday said he prefers a different approach. "What I’ve been doing are fundraisers where we have a group of people on a Zoom call, and I’ve been actually making the pitch myself to encourage people to donate," he said. "And I’m happy to do that, I enjoy doing that, I love raising money for a cause that I believe in.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2020. —With files from Christopher Reynolds The Canadian Press

  • CBC

    N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 27 new cases, more cases this month than in all of 2020

    Public Health reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with cases in three of New Brunswick's seven zones. There was no live-streamed update, but in a news release, the department noted that most of the cases were in the Edmundston region, which is in lockdown, and the Moncton region, which is in the red phase of recovery. The remaining five zones are in the orange phase. The new cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, 11 cases: five people 19 or under two people 20 to 29 two people 30 to 39 two people 40 to 49 Saint John region,Zone 2, two cases: two people 19 or under Edmundston region, Zone 4, 14 cases: three people 19 or under an individual 40 to 49 five people 50 to 59 an individual 70 to 79 three people 80 to 89 an individual 90 or over. All of these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. New Brunswick has now had 1,202 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 313 are currently active. Since Wednesday, 41 people have recovered for a total of 872 recoveries. There have been 16 deaths, and four patients are hospitalized, two in intensive care. As of Thursday, 193,956 tests have been conducted, including 2,247 since Wednesday's report. Horizon asks staff to help Vitalité in Edmundston Horizon Health Network has sent out a memo flagging an "urgent need" for staff to help out in adult residential facilities in the Edmundston region, Zone 4. The memo, sent to all staff Thursday by chief human resources officer Maura McKinnon, says the COVID-19 outbreak in the Edmundston area of Vitalite's health Network has fuelled "an urgent need for clinical and non-clinical staff of all classifications to provide patient care." Interested staff are asked to commit to a minimum of 14 days at the affected care homes. Horizon notes in the memo that it is experiencing its own staffing challenges, and that certain staff classifications will not be eligible. As of Thursday morning, 58 of the health authority's staff were off for COVID-related reasons. "We recognize that releasing employees may be impossible and that many managers are struggling to provide coverage in their own units," the memo says. "While we appreciate your support and consideration of this request, it is understood that some classifications (RNs and LPNs, in particular) are not able to be released at this time." N.B.'s 2021 case count overtakes 2020's Just one month into 2021, New Brunswick has already recorded more COVID-19 cases than in all of 2020. From the time the pandemic began in March till the end of 2020, the province logged 599 cases. On Thursday, when 27 new cases were reported, the province's 2021 tally hit 603. New Brunswick data tracker Ray Harris tweeted a graphic Thursday noting the milestone. Harris told CBC News he cross-checks his data with a national epidemiology website, and Public Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane also confirmed the numbers. Case reported at Edmundston Rona Lowe's Canada says it has been notified of a positive case of COVID-19 in a staff member at a Rona store in Edmundston. The company tracks and reports all cases in staff, including the store's name and province, on a COVID-19 page on its corporate website. It also includes the last date the affected person worked. In the Edmundston notice, Lowe's notes the location was the Rona at 595 Rue Carrier, and that the person's last workday was Jan. 20. "To ensure the health and safety of our associates and customers, we rigorously apply public health authorities' recommendations and guidelines" and conduct extensive cleaning and disinfecting, Lowe's says on its website. It adds that workers who are identified as having been in close contact with the affected staff member are put on "preventive paid quarantine at home." Potential exposure notification for Air Canada flight Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Jan. 14 while on the following flight: Air Canada Flight 8906, on Jan. 14, from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 9:19 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.

  • The Canadian Press

    Hockey Alberta sets deadline on decision for 2020-21 minor hockey season

    Hockey Alberta has set a deadline to decide whether or not to continue planning league play for the 2020-21 minor hockey season.Hockey Alberta, in conjunction with its sanctioned minor leagues for male and female hockey, said in a statement Tuesday it is currently reviewing the sustainability of league play for the remainder of the season, and that if there is no new information from the Government of Alberta by Feb. 1, a decision will have to be made about its league play based on the current information available.Hockey Alberta says any decision regarding league play doesn't mean the end of hockey activity for the 2020-21 season, and that other potential ideas such as skill development programming and/or exhibition or mini-league games could be viable options with the required safety protocols in place.Hockey Alberta says it has met with Alberta Health and Government of Alberta representatives on several occasions, as recently as last week with discussions "focused on how hockey can be relaunched in a way that ensures the safety of all participants."Minor hockey across the country was put on hiatus in March due to COVID-19.Minor hockey associations came up with different solutions for a return-to-play program this season, blending guidelines from Hockey Canada and local public health authorities, in an effort to get back on the ice. But Alberta had to suspend all minor hockey activities in December after the Government of Alberta announced the temporary closure of all indoor recreation facilities, including arenas.This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press