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Canada celebrates a birthday and loses an icon: Take a look at some of the top Canadian news stories of 2017

From the death of Gord Downie to Canada 150 to devastating fires and floods around the country, here's a look at some powerful images from the year in Canadian news.

A look back at some of the year's most memorable moments and powerful images from across the country

Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, who died in October, was Canadian Press Newsmaker for the second consecutive year. (Chris Wattie/Reuters) (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Gord Downie, 1964-2017

Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who united a diverse array of music lovers with his commanding stage presence and Canadiana-laced lyrics, died of brain cancer in October at the age of 53.

Downie was mourned by fans, politicians and ordinary Canadians far and wide, with a tearful Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying, "we are less as a country without Gord Downie in it."

Gord Downie is is appointed a member of the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen. David Johnston during a ceremony in recognition of outstanding Indigenous leadership at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, June 19. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Whether it was the poignant lyrics flowing through his recent albums or the heartfelt words he delivered in public, the Tragically Hip singer used every opportunity in his final months to speak out in support of Indigenous people in Canada.

His hope for a better Canada is one of the reasons editors and broadcasters say they selected him as Canada's Newsmaker of the Year for the second straight time.

Joseph Reid, dressed in tribute to the Hip frontman, races towards the finish line of the Toronto Marathon on Oct. 22. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

B.C. on fire

It was a disastrous year for wildfires in western Canada, with fires raging across British Columbia for much of the summer, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency that was extended four times. 

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The province said about 65,000 people were forced to flee their homes during the summer, and the blazes caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Quebec under water

Quebec meanwhile was hit hard this spring by heavy flooding, prompting states of emergency in several communities across that province as well. More than 124 cities and towns were affected, with nearly 5,000 residences flooded, forcing some 3,600 people from their homes.   

(Ashley Burke/CBC)

Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey, found dead

Canadian billionaire Barry Sherman — founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex — and his wife Honey Sherman were found dead in their Toronto home on Dec. 15. Toronto police say the couple died of strangulation, and investigators, including some from the force's homicide unit, were treating the case as "suspicious." 

Up to 10,000 people attended a funeral for the couple on Dec. 21, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

(Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Canada celebrates 150 years 

This was a historic year for Canada as the country marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation with events and festivities from coast to coast. The Canada 150 celebrations drew thousands of people to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, causing massive lineups with some people waiting for up to eight hours to be admitted.

Here, a human flag is created on the legislature grounds in Regina on Canada Day.

(Brian Rodgers/CBC) (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

Canada 150 was not a cause for celebration for all Canadians however. Many Indigenous people say they have little reason to celebrate the country's history of colonialization, marked by land dispossession, Indian residential schools and forced assimilation.

(Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Prior to the Canada Day festivities in Ottawa, activists set up a teepee on Parliament Hill to symbolize the unresolved grievances among many Indigenous people in this country.

(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

100th anniversary of The Battle of Vimy Ridge

In April, a ceremony was held at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France  to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War battle that killed 3,600 Canadian soldiers and injured 7,000 more. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at the ceremony, saying those who died at Vimy Ridge helped shape Canada into a nation committed to peace.

The Canadian and German trenches at Vimy Ridge were only about 45 metres apart — so close soldiers could hear each other on quiet nights. The trenches were muddy, wet and rat-infested during the war, but today they have been reinforced with concrete to be preserved for tourists. 

(Lara Chatterjee/CBC)

Passchendaele, 100 years later

An official Government of Canada delegation was in Ypres, Belgium, from Nov. 7 to 12 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, which has become an enduring symbol for Canadians of the futility of war and human lives lost.

The Canadian delegation in Belgium included representatives from Indigenous and veterans organizations, descendants of Passchendaele veterans, parliamentarians, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and young people who wanted to learn more about Canada's role in the First World War.

Among them was Warrant Officer Matt Russell. He holds a picture of his great grandfather who fought here. His memory "makes me feel really proud," Russell said. "It is a little emotional because it's hard to imagine what they went through."

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Asylum seekers crossing into Canada

This year has seen a wave of asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the United States, following a decision by the Trump administration to yank protected status for thousands of Haitians. While the latest stats show a decline in illegal border crossings, there were 14,467 refugee claims made by people who crossed into Canada illegally between February and October, and nearly half of them were from Haiti.

(Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Ghanaian asylum seeker Seidu Mohammed — who lost his fingers to frostbite while crossing into Manitoba from the U.S. on Christmas Eve last year — won his case to stay in the country in May. "I'm so happy. I don't know what to say. Now I'm home, I'm finally home now," said Mohammed.

(John Woods/Canadian Press)

Trudeau's first meeting with Trump

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House for the first time in February, when the pair discussed border security and trade during their first joint news conference.

(Jason Burles/CBC)

Andrew Scheer elected new Conservative leader

Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer was elected the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada in May, picking up enough down-ballot support to overcome strong early numbers by rival Maxime Bernier during a convention in Toronto.

Scheer, the youngest MP to serve as House Speaker, promised to unite the party by bringing together the social and fiscal conservative wings to take on the Liberals in the 2019 election.

(David Donnelly/CBC) (David Donnelly/CBC)

Julie Payette installed as Canada's 29th Governor General

Former astronaut Julie Payette was sworn in as Canada's 29th Governor General in October, when she urged Canadians and global citizens to reach for their dreams and join forces to tackle the pressing problems of climate change, migration and poverty.

(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press) (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Thousands turn out for officer's funeral in Abbotsford, B.C.

The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., were lined with blue on Nov. 19 as thousands of police officers from across the country and around the world came out to remember their slain colleague Const. John Davidson, who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 6.

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Valérie Plante elected mayor of Montreal

Valérie Plante of Projet Montréal scored a stunning upset over veteran politician Denis Coderre in Montreal's November municipal election to become the city's first female mayor. Plante won over voters on a promise to improve public transit, alleviate traffic woes and make the city more family friendly.

(Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Clark Kent?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau carries his son Hadrien while participating in Halloween festivities at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The prime minister dressed up as Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent, while Hadrien went as Skye from the TV series Paw Patrol.

(Chris Wattie/Reuters) (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Canadian pastor released from North Korean prison

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim waves to the congregation as he arrives at the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., Aug. 13. Lim was released from prison in North Korea the week before, where he had been serving a life sentence of hard labour for what North Korea says was an attempt to overthrow the regime.

(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Freed hostage Joshua Boyle tells his story

Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children were rescued in October, five years after the couple were abducted on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.

Boyle sat down with the CBC's Susan Ormiston shortly after returning to Canada, describing their kidnappers' apparent motives, the conditions of their confinement and the final moments of their rescue 


Argos win Grey Cup

The Toronto Argonauts celebrate with the Grey Cup after defeating the Calgary Stampeders 27-24. This marks the second straight year the Stampeders have posted a CFL-best record during the regular season, only to be upset in the biggest game of the year.

(Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Toronto's Caribbean Carnival

Thousands of revellers flooded Toronto's streets with vibrant costumes and the festive sounds of celebration for the 50th Caribbean Carnival in August.

(Bruce Reeve/CBC)

Massive iceberg on Newfoundland's Southern Shore

Newfoundland's Southern Shore highway saw some major traffic jams over the Easter long weekend this year, as people packed along the side of the road to snap some selfies with a gigantic iceberg just off the coast.

(Greg Locke/Reuters)

Deadly shooting at Quebec City mosque

Six people were killed and more than a dozen wounded after a gunman opened fire at a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers on Jan. 29. The alleged shooter Alexandre Bissonnette faces six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder and is set to stand trial in March 2018.

(Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

Atlantic Canada battered by huge blizzard

A Dartmouth, N.S. resident begins shovelling out after a blizzard dumped about 70 centimetres of snow on the area in February. 

(Nancy Waugh/CBC)

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press