As 2020 became 2021, many Canadians hoped that this year would be better and less isolated than the last.
While that may have become true as vaccines rolled out, Canadians still took to YouTube to feel a sense of connection and to use their spare time by learning more about the world around them.
“(This year) was very much almost an extension of last year,” YouTube trends expert Zaitoon Murji told Black Press Media over a Zoom call. “In the midst of an ongoing pandemic and Canada’s gradual reopening, Canadians really came to YouTube to keep them informed, to learn new skills and and truly to just be entertained in what’s truly been a challenging year.”
That was reflected in many of the top trending videos in Canada. That list was filled with everything from James Corden and Prince Harry to Minecraft videos to an America’s Got Talent performance that made Simon Cowell cry.
Canadians also came to the platform to learn just as they had in 2020, Murji said, including from B.C. creators such as Linus Tech Tips, one of the biggest technology channels in the world.
But while some well-established channels did well, the year also created some breakout stars like English with James.
“He’s been teaching for 26 years and he’s used his channel to share tips and tricks for anyone looking to learn English, or brush up on it,” Murji said.
“So everything from you know how to use ‘their, they’re, there’ to understanding when when a conversation is coming to an end and how to wrap it.”
Another educational creator used a new YouTube feature, called YouTube Shorts, which launched in the U.S. last year and came to Canada in 2021.
NileRed is in the top five of Canadian creators this year and is a rising star on Shorts.
“What’s interesting about his channel is he’s a science creator and so his whole goal is to make chemistry more entertaining and interesting,” Murji said. “This year, he used a lot of short form content to get people excited and almost get a taste of cool, interesting science experiments and then led them over to YouTube for his main channel to see things in full.”
To learn more about what Canadians watched on YouTube in 2021, watch the video above.