2016 was yet another year full of global phenomenon, victories and tragedies. It was an especially tragic year for the entertainment world, as we lost some of the best musicians who ever picked up an instrument. Although I lack the space to highlight them all, I would like to shed light on some events that stuck out to me as historical.
The new year started off with the World Health Organization declaring a global public health emergency over the rapid spread of zika-linked conditions on January 23.
Eight days later, music innovator and singer/songwriter legend, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69.
Bill Gates was declared the No. 1 richest man in the world according at Forbes Richest List, reaching a stifling $75 billion.
Legendary, iconic performer, Prince, passed away at his Paisley Park recording studio at the age of 57.
The May 5 fires in Fort McMurray forced 80,000 people to be evacuated from northern Alberta after a state of emergency was declared.
Leonardo Di Caprio finally won an Oscar.
Jian Ghomeshi was found not guilty.
In August, NASA provided the world with all of its research online, free of charge. This was preceded by Elon Musk announcing that SpaceX is planning to send one of its spaceships to Mars by 2018. This is the most ambitious goal set to date by a private space travel industry rather than by that of a government.
B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world was deemed as protected, after a decade of complex political negotiations between the government, first nations and industry.
Pokemon Go captured a global audience with its groundbreaking re-release of the massively successful Pokemon franchise on smart phones, to be played in the world around you.
Muhammad Ali, possibly the greatest fighter to ever enter the ring, died at the age of 74 on June 3rd, after a 30-year battle with Parkinsons. Throughout this man’s life, he taught the world not only the beauty of hand-to-hand combat, but also did his part to open the eyes of the world to matters he saw as important. A year before Donald Trump’s election, Ali challenged his presidential policies, especially those surrounding the deportation of Muslims out of America.
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” he said.
Another athlete hailed as the best of his kind, Arnold Palmer, died at the age of 87. He will be remembered as one of the best men who ever played the game of golf.
The Tragically Hip performed their last show in their home town of Kingston on August 20. Gord Downie, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, was later honored for his dedication in bringing national attention to Canada’s residential schools, and was presented with an eagle feather, as well as a Lakota spirit name, Wicapi Omani, which translates to “Man who walks among the stars.”
The Royal Family paid a visit to Canada, touring around with Prime Minister Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, visiting some of Canada’s most iconic and historic sites.
Edward Snowden, a former CIA agent who copied and leaked top secret American national intelligence documents to the public was encouraged to be granted clemency by Bernie Sanders, Daniel Ellsberg, as well as former NSA members.
“Edward Snowden did this country a great service. Let him come home,” said Sanders.
The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings. This ignited the spirits of Chicago fans around the world and marked one of the best games of baseball in history.
Leonard Cohen died on November 7 at the age of 82, and left behind a legacy as a legend in Canadian music, poetry, writing and painting. Through his work, Cohen opened the eyes of Canadians and people around the world to matters of religion, politics, isolation, sexuality and personal relationships.
Donald Trump was voted in as the presidential candidate for the United States, winning the presidency, the house and the senate. This shocked the world by showing the effectiveness of unconventional electoral practices, while at the same time igniting a world-wide dispute.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro died at the age of 90, sparking much remembrance, as well as resentment for what some deemed a dictatorship rule.
George Michaels passed away at the age of 53 on Christmas Day, followed by Star Wars legend, Carrie Fisher, dying on Tuesday after a five-day battle to recover from a heart attack.
A new year brings with it new opportunities as well as new challenges. With death claiming so many iconic stars, men and women who were driven by passion, let us not forget them, but remember them for the gifts they gave the world.