2016: 12 big events that will make news in the year ahead

From the conclusion of the Mike Duffy trial to the U.S. election, these are 12 events to watch in 2016.

Postponed provincial polls, a big birthday and the U.S. election make the list for 2016

With the U.S. vote on Nov.8, will 2016 turn out to be a year of triumph and Trump? Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan Dec. 21, 2015. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

2016 is a leap year, a summer Olympics year, a U.S. presidential election year and the international year of pulses.

Time to spill the beans on 12 big news events coming in 2016, starting with one that was on this list last year — the Mike Duffy trial.

We've skipped those events that happen every year, like the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 (the 50th); the National Basketball Association All Star Game on Feb. 14 in Toronto, the first one held outside the U.S.; and the Academy Awards on Feb. 28, hosted by actor Chris Rock.

Feb. 22: Mike Duffy trial, year two

Sen. Mike Duffy, a former member of the Conservative caucus, makes his way into an Ottawa courthouse Dec. 18, 2015. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Mike Duffy trial resumes Feb. 22, with the Crown and the defence presenting their closing arguments. The trial began April 7, 2015 with Duffy facing 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery over the expenses he claimed as a senator and  the $90,000 he was paid by NIgel Wright, then-chief of staff to former prime minister Stephen Harper.

On Dec. 18, after 61 days in court, Judge Charles Vaillancourt told the lawyers in the case that he wanted to see written arguments from them before the trial resumes, presumably in the hope that it won't take all of the two weeks he has allocated to wrap up the case.

Feb. 29: Adele world tour starts on leap day

The CD cover image of Adele's '25,' which she will promote through a world tour, starting Feb. 29. (Columbia Records via AP)

Adele begins her 25 world tour in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on leap day. That concert and all the rest on the tour are sold out. Adele performs in Vancouver July 20-21, in Montreal Sept. 30-Oct. 1 and in Toronto Oct. 3-7. The tour wraps up in Mexico City on Nov. 15.

Adele hasn't toured since 2011. Her third studio album, 25, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts in November and has stayed there. It's been breaking all kinds of sales records, but is not yet the biggest selling album of the 21st century. She already holds that honor for her previous album, 21.

April 4: Saskatchewan election

Manitoba Conservative and opposition leader Brian Pallister, left, and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall have the chance to reverse a string of electoral losses by conservative parties, when voters go to the polls in the two provinces in 2016. (Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan voters go the polls April 4 in a general election originally scheduled for last fall, but postponed to make way for the federal election.

Premier Brad Wall hopes to win a third term. According to a November public opinion poll, Wall's Saskatchewan Party had more than twice the level of support of their closest rivals, the NDP, led by Cam Broten.

The official campaign begins sometime between March 1 and March 8.

April 19: Manitoba election

Manitoba's election was also pushed to April because of the federal election. NDP Premier Greg Selinger hopes to wins a fifth consecutive term for his party, but it hasn't led in the polls since 2012.

The Progressive Conservatives have been ahead since then, and are hoping to return to power under leader Brian Pallister.

The official campaign begins sometime between March 12 and March 19.

April 21: Queen Elizabeth turns 90

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth during a private audience at Buckingham Palace in London on Nov. 25, 2015. (Yui Mok/Reuters)

The longest-reigning British monarch hits another record on April 21 — her 90th birthday. But the big celebrations will come later.

The plan is for a big celebration at Windsor Castle on May 12-15, featuring a pageant celebrating Queen Elizabeth's life. 

A commemoration from June 10-12 will include a national service at St. Paul's Cathedral, a birthday parade and a patron's lunch, to celebrate the Queen's patronage of over 600 organizations around the world. 

May 9: Transit of Mercury

Mercury passes between the sun and the earth on May 9. (NASA)

A transit of Mercury takes place on May 9. Observed from Earth, the planet will move across the face of the sun.

The last transit was in 2006 and, after 2016, the next two times Mercury comes between the Earth and the sun will be in 2019 and 2032. November transits are more frequent; the next May transit doesn't happen until 2049.

The entire transit will be visible from eastern North America, as well as most of South America, western Africa and Western Europe, and take about 7.5 hours.

May 10: Census Day

The long-form census returns for the 2016 census. (CBC)

Statistics Canada returns to using the mandatory long-form census in 2016. The Harper government had eliminated the mandatory requirement in 2010, leading to the resignation of StatsCan's chief, Munir Sheikh. The new Liberal government reversed that policy in November.

StatsCan estimates over 13.4 million households will take part in the census, most of them answering the agency's questions online. May 10 will be the census day.

May 26-28, Conservative Party of Canada Convention

Opposition leader Rona Ambrose says the Conservative Party convention in Vancouver in May could serve as a showcase for party leadership candidates. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Conservatives will meet in Vancouver, May 26-28, their first convention of the post-Harper era. But the plan is not to choose a successor to Harper just yet.

Rather, the delegates will hash out policies for the party, though interim leader Rona Ambrose said the event could serve as a showcase for leadership candidates.

The May convention will also elect new party officials, including a president. These could become a proxy battleground for potential leadership contenders. 

June 3-26: Copa America

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, left, and Eugenio Figueredo, right, president of CONMEBOL, pose next to the Copa America trophy during a news conference in Bal Harbour, Fla., May 1, 2014. Both men face charges in the FIFA corruption scandal. The U.S. will host the Copa America soccer tournament for the first time in 2016. (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)

What would an annual look-ahead be without a soccer tournament? Copa America is arguably the most newsy, since it's set for 10 U.S. cities, it's the competition's centennial and the governing bodies for soccer in the Americas are riddled with scandal.

Three former presidents of both governing bodies, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, are among those charged by the U.S. Department of Justice.

While Copa America takes place in the U.S., France hosts the UEFA Euro Cup, from June 10 to July 10.

July 4: Juno to Jupiter

This artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft with Jupiter in the background. (JPL/NASA/AP)

NASA launched its Juno spacecraft in 2011, and, after a nearly five-year voyage, it should go into orbit around Jupiter on July 4.

Juno's mission is to peer beneath Jupiter's clouds and gather data and images in order to learn more about the planet's origins, atmosphere and structure, and what drives its magnetic field.

NASA says Juno will reach a speed of 265,000 km/hour, making it "the fastest-moving human-made object in history."

In Roman mythology, the gods Juno and Jupiter were an item.

Aug. 5-21; Sept. 7-18: Olympic Games and Paralympics in Brazil

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff looks at the Olympic torch as it's presented during a ceremony ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brasilia, Brazil, July 3, 2015. (Joedson Alves/Associated Press)

The Olympic Games finally come to South America in 2016, with Rio de Janeiro as the host city.

Golf and rugby sevens are new sports for 2016, and there will be a total 306 gold medals at stake.

Rio will also host the 15th Summer Paralympic Games, although it will be winter in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.

November 8: U.S. election

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses supporters at a campaign event, Dec. 16, 2015, in Omaha, Neb. (Kristin Streff/The Journal-Star via Associated Press)

We still have 313 days before the current U.S. election campaign is over. The primaries don't begin until February.

Along the way, the Republican Party will officially choose a presidential nominee at their convention in Cleveland, July 18-21, and the Democrats will do the same in Philadelphia a week later.

According to the latest polls, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the leading contenders.


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