After more than a year of writing about Twitter, we’ve learned why the social media icon is never in a hurry to publicize its most popular retweets – they might be what readers want to see in theory, but often turn out to be little more than paeans to the egos of social media savvy stars like Drake and Justin Bieber.

Far better at highlighting the downs and ups of 2016 is Twitter’s list of Canada’s most used hashtags over the past year, covering not only a bitter U.S. election (and its inevitable breaking up of best political bros Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama), but the Rio Olympics and the Toronto Raptors’ stellar year. Read on.

1. #BellLetsTalk

Countless businesses dream of creating viral hashtags of their own, but few can match Bell Canada’s success with #BellLetsTalk, the annual initiative that saw the Montreal-based telecommunications giant donate five cents to mental health initiatives every time it was used on Jan. 27 – an amount which this year added up to $6.2 million after it was called, texted, tweeted, and shared 125,915,295 times.

Bell’s efforts have also attracted their share of criticism, of course, but we’re heartened to see that – based on this hashtag’s Twitter page, at least – they’ve tried to keep the conversation going throughout the year.

We just hope they’re treating their own employees well too.

2. #Toronto                                                                                                                         

3. #Canada

Considering the Greater Toronto Area is Canada’s most populous region, with more than 5.5 million people and counting, we’re hardly surprised to see its unofficial hashtag on this list – but we are surprised it was used more often than the country’s own unofficial hashtag.

Isn’t the rest of Canada supposed to hate Toronto?

4. #tbt

This popular hashtag (short for “Throwback Thursday”) is used across the world.   

5. #Rio2016

It was among the year’s biggest newsmakers, so it’s hardly surprising that the Rio Olympics, where Canada ultimately netted 22 medals, would trend on Twitter too.

6. #PokemonGO

At this point, we’re as sick of writing about Pokémon Go, which recently made good on its promise/threat to begin opening sponsored PokéStops by signing a deal with Starbucks, as you probably are of reading about it. But there’s no denying that developer Niantic’s mobile phenomenon, which had 45 million players globally at its peak (Canadian numbers are surprisingly difficult to come by) was a leading conversation starter in 2016.

7. #MentalHealth

We’re guessing #MentalHealth’s inclusion on this list is directly related to #BellLetsTalk, but whatever the reason, as former CAMH volunteers, we’re grateful.

8. #ElectionNight

As you’ve probably gathered if you read any of our coverage, most of us at ITBusiness.ca would like to forget about this year’s U.S. election as soon as possible, though we doubt the reality-star president chosen by our neighbour’s electoral college system is going to let us.

9. #WeTheNorth

Another successful company hashtag. Twitter’s Canadian users love their Raptors.

10. #OurMoment

And the Blue Jays, apparently. No wonder Twitter is anxious to cut those sports streaming deals


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Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.