HomeWorld NewsCanada newsIN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

From the coronavirus pandemic to natural disasters to the two Michaels, 2021 had no shortage of Canadian newsmakers.

Here’s a look back at the notable stories that CBC photographers and others covered this year.

1. Mass vaccinations across Canada

At the start of the year, health officials prioritized COVID-19 vaccines for health-care and front-line workers. As vaccine deliveries ramped up in February, provinces began opening up vaccine appointments to seniors and working its way down the age groups.

Lisbeth Mendez, right, waits in line with Mario Parravano and his wife outside the Richmond Green Sports Centre, in Richmond Hill, Ont., on March 1. The Parravanos were among the first cohort of senior citizens aged 80 and over to get their shots.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in British Columbia get their COVID-19 vaccines on March 10. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

Eugene Anderson gets his shot on April 8 in Upper Hammonds Plains, a community outside Halifax, at the province’s first clinic specifically for Black Nova Scotians.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

2. Fairy Creek blockades: Fight to save old-growth trees

On southwestern Vancouver Island, the blockades around the Fairy Creek watershed to protect B.C.’s old-growth forests has become one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history. 

Protesters arrived there in August 2020 to prevent Teal-Jones Group from working. The Surrey, B.C.-based company obtained an injunction against the protesters on April 1, which the RCMP have enforced since mid-May. Over 1,100 people have been arrested.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Mike McArthur/CBC)

RCMP and protesters stand face-to-face in silence on Aug. 26, before police pushed the group back to access a tree structure a protester was harnessed to.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Adam van der Zwan/CBC)

3. Honouring residential school children

On May 27, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said preliminary findings from a survey conducted using ground-penetrating radar indicated potential burial sites of what could be 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. They later revised that number down to 200. It was the first of several such sites that would be uncovered in the following months. 

Following the announcement, people across Canada gathered in their communities to mourn and pay their respects.  

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

4. A hate-motivated attack

Five members of the Afzaal family were out for an evening walk on June 6 when they were run over by a truck, in what police say was a hate motivated attack. From left, daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, mother Madiha Salman, 44, grandmother Talat Afzaal, 74, and father Salman Afzaal, 46, all died. A son, Fayez, 9, survived.  

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Submitted by Afzaal family)

The killing of three generations sent shockwaves across Canada and beyond and prompted thousands of people — including politicians and community and religious leaders — to gather outside the London Muslim Mosque to pay tribute to the family on June 8.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

At a public funeral on June 13, mourners filled a parking lot at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario and spilled over onto an adjacent soccer field to listen, pray and say goodbye.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Turgut Yeter/CBC)

5. B.C. wildfires

Environment Canada has released its Top 10 weather stories for 2021 — a year that its senior climatologist Dave Phillips calls the “most destructive, the most expensive and the deadliest year for weather in Canadian history.”

B.C. bore the brunt of the weather events. On June 28, the town of Lytton smashed the Canadian record-high temperature of 45 C for the third time in a week, hitting 49.6 C. The same week, 90 per cent of the village, pictured July 1, burned to the ground in a wildfire, killing two people. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Carli Pierrot, who works for the Skeetchestn Indian Band, watches firefighters working to control part of the Sparks Lake wildfire complex burning on Skeetchestn territory, near Kamloops on July 14. At about 95,980 hectares, Sparks Lake is still considered B.C.’s largest wildfire this season.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A burned hillside near Monte Lake, B.C., on Sept. 1.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

6. Canadians and their Olympic wins

Maggie Mac Neil and Penny Oleksiak, seen in competition on July 24, led the early charge in the pool at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as women won Canada’s first 13 medals — and 18 of 24 overall. Oleksiak, 21, won three medals, becoming Canada’s most decorated Olympian with seven, having previously captured four in Rio. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Canada’s Julia Grosso celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning penalty in a shootout against Sweden in the women’s soccer gold medal game on Aug. 6 at the Tokyo Olympics. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Fernando Vergara/The Associated Press)

Damian Warner, seen competing in the men’s decathlon javelin throw on Aug. 5, led the 10-leg competition wire to wire and shattered the Olympic record for total points, delivering one of the greatest performances in the history of his sport.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

7. Federal, provincial elections amid pandemic

After a 36-day campaign and a $600-million election, federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau won enough seats in the Sept. 20 general election to form another minority government.

The final seat tally didn’t look very different from the composition of the House of Commons when it was dissolved in August.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

Several territories and provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, held general elections, too. Here, Andrew Furey speaks after his Liberals won a majority government in St. John’s on March 27.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

8. Meng and the Michaels

On Sept. 24, a B.C. court dropped the extradition case against Meng Wanzhou after the Huawei chief financial officer reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government. Meng read a statement outside the B.C. Supreme Court following the ruling, which set in motion her departure from Canada after she spent nearly three years under house arrest in Vancouver.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

Canadians Michael Spavor, left, and Michael Kovrig — who were detained in China in what is widely considered a retaliatory act after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018 at the U.S.’s request — were freed and flown back to Canada on Sept. 25.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Colin Hall/CBC, Chris Helgren/Reuters)

9. Iqaluit water crisis

On Oct. 12, due to concerns about fuel contamination, Iqaluit issued a do-not-consume order for its tap water that lasted nearly two months. The city of 8,000 would eventually point to an underground fuel spill as the potential cause of the contamination.

After learning that the city’s water was not safe to drink, residents in Iqaluit collected water from the nearby Sylvia Grinnell River. The military was dispatched to help provide treated water from the river using mobile water treatment units. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(David Gunn/CBC)

10. They’re back: Arts, sports and entertainment

As coronavirus cases declined and pandemic restrictions eased following the third wave, venues and events began to reopen. Visitors enjoy the Imagine Van Gogh immersive exhibition at the Edmonton EXPO Centre on July 9.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Rider Maesa Morris is bucked off Twilight Moon in the ranch bronc event at the Calgary Stampede on July 14.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

After 600 days, the Toronto Raptors finally returned to playing at home on Oct. 20. But the Washington Wizards spoiled the Raptors’ long-awaited return to Toronto with a 98-83 victory.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Carlos Osorio/CBC)

After a comprehensive overhaul that took years to complete, Toronto’s famed music venue Massey Hall reopened Nov. 25 with a concert featuring Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

11. B.C.’s flood of floods

In mid-November, an “atmospheric river” dumped more than 200 millimetres of rain on parts of B.C. within 48 hours, putting entire communities underwater and forcing more than 17,000 people to evacuate their homes. The rain triggered mudslides that killed five people and stranded more than 1,000 others, as they severed and blocked every major highway connecting B.C.’s Lower Mainland to the rest of the province, along with other roads in the province, including this one in Abbotsford, B.C.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

The hardest-hit communities included Abbotsford, Merritt and Princeton. Here, farmers carry their livestock out of a flooded barn in the Sumas Prairie area in the eastern portion of Abbotsford.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

Family photos in Rhonda Warner’s home, saved from the flooding in Princeton, are seen Nov. 16.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Maggie MacPerson/CBC)

12. Warnings, restrictions amid Omicron fears

Travellers walk through Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Dec. 16, a day after health officials advised against holiday travel due to a surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the Omicron variant.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

With just days to go before winter holidays, people in Ottawa wait in line at an LCBO for a free COVID-19 rapid test kit on Dec. 17. 

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Brian Morris/CBC)

On the same day, cars queue at a COVID-19 testing clinic in downtown Vancouver.

IN PHOTOS: 12 notable Canadian stories in 2021

(Ben Nelms/CBC)

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