TORONTO -- In a tumultuous year like no other, Canadians took to their keyboards to keep up with a fast-paced news cycle that included a global pandemic, a racial reckoning, celebrity deaths, and an important presidential election south of the border.

According to Google Canada’s annual “Year in Search” list for 2020, Canadians kept a close eye on the U.S. presidential election as they coped with all of the upheavals that came with the spread of COVID-19. 

And while the pandemic likely had the biggest impact on Canadians’ daily lives, the U.S. election surpassed coronavirus as the most-searched for topic in 2020.

“When it comes to Google Trends, it’s not surprising to see Canadians really dialed into what’s happening south of the border,” Christina Peck, a trends expert for Google Canada, told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.

“When we looked at the U.S. election this year, Canadians were really searching around the debates as well as “election day” in the days to follow as we anxiously awaited the results.”

Canadians’ interest in American politics was also evident in who they searched for the most in 2020. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ranked second and third on the list, topped only by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Peck said there were two noticeable spikes in searches for the North Korean leader this year.

“The first was earlier on in the year in April when he had dropped from public view and there was speculation worldwide around where he was,” she said. “And then, more recently, again another spike in November when he had taken an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.”

Aside from the U.S. election, Peck said, Canadians had many questions about coronavirus and how it would impact them.

“It was really heavy this year,” she said. “There was a lot of difficult news, especially at home in Canada. In addition to seeing coronavirus in numerous ways impact our health, we also saw its impact on the Canadian economy. So we saw search terms like CERB and CERB extension, Air Canada stock, Trudeau press conference and Sophie [Gregoire] Trudeau.”

The much-maligned phenomenon of shoppers stocking up and hoarding toilet paper at the start of the lockdown in the spring also made the list as the most-searched for “why” term, according to Google Canada.

Following their concerns about the U.S. election and the deadly pandemic, Canadians sought answers about the mass shooting in Nova Scotia in April when a gunman killed 22 people.

Peck said Canadians also took a keen interest in the topic of racial justice following the deaths of several Black citizens in the U.S. and the anti-racism protests that followed worldwide. She said they saw spikes in searches for “Black Lives Matter” and “Blackout Tuesday” this year.

Canadians’ desire to learn more about the subject was apparent in their searches for definitions too, according to Peck, with “systemic racism” and “BIPOC” ranking high on the list.

“[It’s] really powerful to see that Canadians are taking the steps to understand what these words mean,” she said.

Peck also noted that Canadians were asking questions about the events south of the border that sparked some of the racial justice protests including why George Floyd was stopped by police before he was killed, what Juneteenth means, and how they can donate to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s inspiring to see Canadians educating themselves on such an important topic, and participating in conversations around racial injustice in Canada,” she said.


  1. US election
  2. Coronavirus
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. Zoom
  5. Raptors
  6. CERB
  7. Kim Jong Un
  8. Naya Rivera
  9. Joe Biden
  10. Trump vs. Biden


  1. Coronavirus
  2. CERB
  3. Air Canada stock
  4. Nova Scotia shooting
  5. Blackout Tuesday
  6. Black Lives Matter
  7. Trudeau press conference today
  8. CERB extension
  9. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau
  10. Safia Nolin


  1. Kim Jong Un
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Kamala Harris
  4. Boris Johnson
  5. Jacob Blake
  6. Tom Hanks
  7. Shakira
  8. Kanye West
  9. Aaron Hernandez
  10. Ghislaine Maxwell


  1. Kobe Bryant
  2. Naya Rivera
  3. Alex Trebek
  4. George Floyd
  5. Chadwick Boseman
  6. Sean Connery
  7. Eddie Van Halen
  8. Kelly Preston
  9. Sushant Singh Rajput
  10. Kenny Rogers


  1. Parasite
  2. Contagion
  3. Black Panther
  4. Borat 2
  5. Little Women
  6. Uncut Gems
  7. Knives Out
  8. Papillon
  9. Mulan
  10. The Gentlemen


  1. Pandemic
  2. Systemic racism
  3. Social distancing
  4. Furlough
  5. Epidemic
  6. Asymptomatic
  7. Queer
  8. Fracking
  9. BIPOC
  10. Caucus


  1. Why are people buying toilet paper?
  2. Why was George Floyd stopped?
  3. Why is it called COVID-19?
  4. Why did Kobe have 2 numbers?
  5. Why is Nevada taking so long?
  6. Why did Alex leave Grey's?
  7. Why did 69 go to jail?
  8. Why is TikTok being banned?
  9. Why is gas so cheap right now 2020?
  10. Why is Australia on fire?


  1. How to apply for EI
  2. How to make hand sanitizer
  3. How to apply for CERB
  4. How to make a mask
  5. How to cut your own hair
  6. How to use Zoom
  7. How to make sourdough starter
  8. How to get tested for coronavirus
  9. How to make whipped coffee
  10. How to make bread