Canadians couldn't stop Googling Drake, Trump in 2016

The Canadian rapper's name was a top trending search term across multiple categories, but U.S. president-elect Donald Trump was the top trending search term overall, while Canadian newsmakers Gord Downie, Leonard Cohen and Rob Ford ranked highly, too.

Rapper was a top trending search term across multiple categories, but Donald Trump ranked No. 1

Drake was the top-trending musician according to Google's Canadian search trends, but the deaths of Prince and David Bowie ranked higher overall in search rankings. (Arthur Mola/Invision/Associated Press)

​It probably won't come as a surprise that Canadians love Drake. Or that Googling Donald Trump became a habit for many of us this year.

Google released its annual list of trending search terms for 2016 on Wednesday, and the Canadian rapper topped three of the search engine's categories — top trending celebrity, musician, and Canadian, according to Google's data. 

Drake released his much-anticipated fourth album Views in April, and made headlines throughout the year for his rumoured romantic relationship with fellow singer Rihanna.

"His ability to keep himself relevant to Canadians is pretty incredible," said Alexandra Hunnings, a spokeswoman for Google Canada. 
He wasn't the only Canadian musician on Google's list. Singer Céline Dion was the fourth most-searched musician in Canada, while the Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie and Leonard Cohen charted sixth and seventh, respectively.

Dion's husband and brother both passed away in January. Downie announced at the end of May that he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and subsequently played a string of farewell shows that summer with the Tragically Hip. Cohen passed away in November at the age of 82.

Gord Downie, frontman of the Tragically Hip, announced in May that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and performed a series of concerts this past summer. (Live Nation)

Overall, the results chart a busy year in politics, pop culture and internet memes, providing a glimpse at the "moments that captured our attention this year," Hunnings said.

Celebrity deaths and Trump aside, Canada specific search terms were well represented in Google's overall rankings. The company's top 10 overall trending Canadian searches were:

  1. Donald Trump.
  2. Pokemon Go.
  3. Toronto Raptors.
  4. Fort McMurray fire.
  5. Prince.
  6. Olympics.
  7. David Bowie.
  8. World Cup of Hockey.
  9. Brexit.
  10. Canada Post strike.

Trends, not searches

Google's trending list is not based on the overall number of searches a particularly topic received, but rather, "searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period compared with 2015," Hunnings said. 

That's part of the reason why neither Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor musician Justin Bieber made the list.

In the world of sports, highlights included 16-year-old swimmer and Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak, former Montreal Canadiens turned Nashville Predators defenceman P.K. Subban, and Olympic medallist sprinter Andre De Grasse, who were the top trending Canadian athletes. 

In politics, searches also spiked for former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died in March; Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

The year's top new stories were well-represented, too: Zika virus, the U.S. election, Brexit, and the Fort McMurray fire all ranked highly.

And, of course, the fast-paced world of internet memes sent more than a few puzzled Canadians to Google, looking for answers to such questions as: "Who is Harambe?" (the gorilla shot at a Cincinnati zoo that obsessed some internet users); "What is the Running Man Challenge?" (a dance gag that relied on the music of Ghost Town DJ's 1996 hit My Boo); and "Who is Damn Daniel?" (a series of videos in which an enthusiastic narrator repeatedly compliments a fellow high-school student's shoes).