This year, we have read and shared many stories of Canadian kindness, generosity, success and innovation. Here are some of the most amazing tales that made us proud.

1. A young woman rescued a paraplegic dog from Thailand

There’s no shortage of stories about people who rescue stray animals. But this young Canadian went way out of her way to find a loving home for a paraplegic dog she found on the other side of the world.  

Meagan Penman befriended a malnourished dog she found during a trip to Thailand. She set up a GoFundMe campaign to get him medical care and then took the dog, named Leo, to stay with a veterinarian in Thailand while she searched for a permanent home. Eventually, a woman in Sarnia, Ont., adopted Leo and got him moving again with a doggie wheelchair.

Dog rescued from Thailand


2. A ski coach demonstrated the true meaning of the Olympic spirit

Remember how proud Canadian athletes made us at the Sochi Winter Olympics way back in February? There was enough gold to go around during the Games, but Canadians were also cheered for their display of “Olympism” and sportsmanship.  

One of those heart-warming moments came when Russian cross-country skier Anton Gafarov fell and broke one of his skis during a semi-final race. Canadian ski coach Justin Wadsworth wasted no time getting him a new ski. Wadsworth ran up and quickly replaced the broken ski, allowing Gafarov to finish the race. 

Ski coach

(Justin Wadsworth helps Anton Gafarov during Olympic race. Photo: Twitter / @MrHExperience)

3. Margaret Atwood said ‘Yes’ to the future

Margaret Atwood doesn’t have to worry about her legacy, really. She’s a poet, novelist, essayist, and the inventor of the Long Pen. Her books will be on library shelves for many years. But this year she was the first author to commit to the Future Library, the brainchild of young Scottish artist Katie Patterson. The unusual literary project will publish 100 original works from 100 authors a century from now.

Atwood is now working on a novel that won’t see the light of day until most of us are long gone. She told The Guardian: “It’s the kind of thing you either immediately say yes or no to. You don’t think about it for very long.”

Margaret Atwood

(Atwood is pictured on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Photo: Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

4. We stood up to Islamophobia…

This happened right after the deadly attacks on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill in October. A York University student decided to conduct a “social experiment” about Canadians’ reactions to Muslims, and ended up with a viral video. 

Omar Albach and his friends decided to test Canada’s racial tolerance by staging a bus stop scene involving two actors: a man dressed in Islamic garb and another man who accused him of being a terrorist threat. None of the bystanders allowed the heckler to insult the Muslim man and one went as far as punching the fake aggressor. All of it was captured in a YouTube video seen more than 3.2 million times – and counting. 

Canadians react to Ottawa shooting racism

(Photo: YouTube)

5. …More than once

Around the same time, dozens of people came together in Cold Lake, Alta., to clean up a mosque after it was vandalized and spray-pained with the message: “Go home.”

During the cleanup, volunteers put up a new message: “You are home.”

Cold Lake mosque

(Photo: David Ewasuk / CTV Edmonton)

6. A photographer shared this powerful image of two new fathers

Remember this photo that made the rounds during World Pride celebrations in June? Canadian photographer Lindsay Foster captured a sweet moment between two brand-new fathers, Frank Nelson and BJ Barone, and their baby boy just seconds after he was born to a surrogate mother.

The photo was liked and shared more than 60,000 times on Facebook, prompting the fathers to publicly thank everyone for the positive messages that “far outweighed” the negative ones. The pair said the viral photo represents “everything Pride is about.”

Proud dads

(Photo: Lindsay Foster / Facebook)

7. An 11-year-old girl gave professional dancers a run for their money

Taylor Hatala is only 11, but she’s already a star – at least on YouTube – thanks to her slick dance moves. A video of the Sherwood Park, Alta., girl dancing to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” (minus the raunchier lyrics) has been viewed more than 11 million times. It also got thumbs-up from Minaj herself, as well as Ellen DeGeneres, who invited Taylor on her show.

Taylor Hatala's Nicki Minaj Anaconda music video

(Photo: YouTube)

8. Hundreds came to the aid of cancer-stricken triplets

This story tugged at every parent’s heart strings: Identical triplet boys in Alberta were all diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. The boys -- Mason, Thomas and Luke Low -- required treatment at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and their parents needed temporary housing in the city.

When the Lows posted an online plea for help, they expected a few responses. But in just over 36 hours, they received more than 500 emails from generous Torontonians offering accommodations.  

Alberta family with triplets battling cancer


9. A teen genius broke the Rubik’s Cube world record – with one hand

Have you ever bragged to your friends about solving a Rubik’s Cube? You’ll probably feel a little embarrassed when you watch Ottawa-area teenager Antoine Cantin do it in mere seconds and with just one hand.

Cantin set a new world record this year for solving the Rubik’s Cube with one hand. At a Toronto competition in April, Cantin’s average time for solving the notoriously difficult puzzle was 12.56 seconds. Several months later, Cantin broke the single one-handed Rubik’s Cube solve record, with a time of 8.75 seconds. He still holds that record and will defend it at a global competition next summer. 

Rubik's cube

10. A guy rescued a baby moose and took it to a Tim Hortons

It doesn’t get more Canadian than this. When Stephane Desgroseillers found a baby moose dangerously wandering near a Northern Ontario highway in May, he did what he was supposed to do: gently pick it up and take it to the nearest animal shelter. But first, he had to stop at a Tim Hortons and capture what could be the most Canadian image ever – a baby moose standing outside our nation’s most popular caffeine provider. 

CTV News Channel: Baby moose found

(Photo: Facebook / Shirley Springer Erkila)