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The top tweets of 2013, and what mattered most to Canadians on Facebook

Facebook and Twitter has each released their year in review, giving insights into the people, places and moments that got us talking on social media. Take a look at the most talked about topics on Facebook in Canada, then scroll down for a look at Twitter's "golden tweets" before finding Facebook's top check-in locations in Canada and the most common major life events among Canadians.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

They finally broke the nine-year drought, making the playoffs and then almost toppling the big bad Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. But a historic collapse by the underdog Leafs in Game 7 led to a busy off-season by GM Dave Nonis, who signed David Clarkson to a seven-year deal and pulled off trades for Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland. The returns on the makeover are mixed as Toronto has struggled this season to regain its form, but win or lose, the Leafs continue to provide more water cooler fodder than any other team in the country. 


2. Harlem Shake

Just when we thought silly YouTube dance crazes had seen their day (looking at you, Gangnam Style), along came Harlem Shake:  a video meme that spread across the Internet in February, 2013. In case you’ve blissfully forgotten, let us remind you of the concept: the videos – of which there were thousands – started off with one person, dancing inexplicably in a mask or weird costume, among a group of people not paying any attention. And then – the beat drops, and the video cuts to all the people doing said dance, in weird said costume. Internet, we expect better from you in 2014.

Charles Sykes/AP

3. Miley Cyrus Twerk

We mourned the loss of sweet, wholesome Hannah Montana this year as Miley Cyrus embraced her new "edgy" brand, shaking off her youthful image and shaking something quite different. Think foam finger, a nude leotard and that infamous rear-end giggle called twerking, now burned into our collective memories forever. Say what you want about Miley’s tactics, and her tongue:  the singer, who made Lady Gaga look a comparative snoozefest, certainly knew how to get attention.   

Dan Lampariello/ Reuters

4. Boston Marathon

On April 15 at 4:09 p.m., the first of two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 175 others. It was the worst terrorist attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and resulted in a massive manhunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that saw the city shut down and that left only one brother alive. Afterward, the search turned to finding answers on who would do this and why. 

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

5. Rob Ford

The Mayor of Canada’s most populous city was already a colourful character when news broke that a video showed Mr. Ford smoking what appeared to be a crack pipe. He eventually admitted on Nov. 5 to smoking crack cocaine, purchasing illegal drugs and driving after drinking. Canadians and international TV shows – from the Daily Show to CNN – followed the drama as city council stripped Mr. Ford of most of his powers, though not his office.


6. Royal Baby Prince George

It was royal mania all over again in the U.K. and globally, in the lead up to the birth of Prince George,  third in line to the throne, and son of William and Kate. On July 22, customary church bells rang out in Westminster Abbey and the world rejoiced (along with a 21-gun royal salute on Parliament Hill). He entered the world to all kinds of hoopla (yes, even this news organization had an online betting form on his name, gender, weight, etc.).  

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

7. Justin Trudeau

Before Justin Trudeau became leader in April, the Liberals were in a slump. Now the party has enjoyed leads in the polls for the longest stretch in a decade, and Mr. Trudeau himself has a strong online following. (Gaffes notwithstanding.)

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

8. Lance Armstrong

The (former) seven-time Tour de France winner and icon in the fight against cancer ended years of insisting he completed clean, when he admitted in January to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career in a highly anticipated televised interview with Oprah Winfrey. As a result of the scandal, sporting apparel giant Nike announced that it would cut ties with Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation after a nine-year relationship.

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

9. Pope Francis

On March 13, 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires became Pope Francis. It was an extraordinary break from tradition for the Catholic Church to elect its first non-European pope in 1,200 years, and it quashed the hopes of Catholic Canadians who were rooting for Quebec's Cardinal Marc Ouellet.


10. Chris Hadfield

The mustachioed astronaut, the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, gained fame this year not just for, you know, being in space – he tweeted (to more than one million followers) and recorded music videos while he did it. Back on Earth, he’s set to start teaching aviation at the University of Waterloo in 2014.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

What did 2013 look like in tweets?

As revealed by Twitter's annual year in review, 2013 saw an average of 500 million tweets a day by over 230 million twitter users, 30 million of which were newcomers.

The big moments of 2013 were also momentous on the social network: Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration saw 1.1 million related tweets, the Boston bombings saw 27 million related tweets, and the recent death of South African leader Nelson Mandela saw 7.2 million tweets. 

Twitter also released its three golden tweets – those that had the most retweets all year: Unsurprisingly, celebrity news dominated the list.  A birthday announcement from a member of boy band One Direction, followed by the sudden death of actor Paul Walker were outdone by only one event. 

The number one most retweeted tweet of 2013 was Glee actress Lea Michele’s photo and heartfelt thanks after the sudden death of her fiancé, Corey Monteith.   

More about Canadians on Facebook

The Top checked-in locations in Canada (excluding transportation hubs)

  1. Rogers Arena (BC)
  2. Centre Bell (QC)
  3. Air Canada Centre (ON)
  4. West Edmonton Mall (AB)
  5. Niagara Falls Tourism (ON)
  6. Canada's Wonderland (ON)
  7. Rogers Centre (ON)
  8.  Rexall Place (AB)             
  9.  Scotiabank Saddledome  (AB)
  10.  Canadian Tire Centre (ON)


Canadians’ major life events in 2013

  1. Added Relationship
  2. Married
  3. Engaged
  4. Travel
  5. Moved
  6. Ended Relationship
  7. Had baby
  8.  First met
  9. Expecting a Baby
  10. Lost Loved One

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