Canadians’ Top Google Searches of 2020

COVID-19 actually ranked second to the US election

By Caitlin Finlay


You may be surprised to learn that COVID-19 was not the most searched term of 2020—the US election topped this year’s list.

Canadians frequently searched for information regarding the election around the times of the presidential debates and in the days surrounding election day to hear the results, according to Christina Peck, a trends expert for Google Canada who spoke with CTV’s Your Morning. “Trump vs. Biden” was the 10th most searched term of the year, with “Joe Biden” ranking 9th, but US-President-elect Biden himself was the second most searched person of 2020, behind Kim Jong Un. (The latter’s popularity might be explained perhaps by his mysterious April disappearance from the media and his taking an experimental COVID-19 vaccine in November.)

Given the attention to racial injustice in the United States and Canada, there were many searches for definitions for such terms as “Blackout Tuesday,” “Black Lives Matter,” “systemic racism,” and “BIPOC” (“Black, Indigenous, and people of colour”), and the second most common “why” question of 2020 was “Why was George Floyd stopped?”.

Considering how drastically most of our lives have changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that coronavirus-related searches were abundant this year. Across multiple categories, “coronavirus” and “CERB” were frequently searched terms, with “pandemic,” “social distancing,” “epidemic,” and “asymptomatic” within the top six definitions searches. The most commonly asked “why” question of 2020 was “why are people buying toilet paper?” in response to the hoarding of toilet paper we saw at the start of the pandemic.

“How to” questions were overwhelmingly related to the pandemic, with the top five searches being 1) how to apply for EI, 2) how to make hand sanitizer, 3) how to apply for CERB, 4) how to make a mask, and 5) how to cut your own hair. With Canadians spending more time at home and looking for ways to stay entertained, searches for TV shows and recipes were also popular.

We’ve included some of the top searches below but you can find a full list of the top Google searches of 2020 in Canada on the Google Trends webpage.


  • US election
  • Coronavirus
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Zoom
  • Raptors
  • CERB
  • Kim Jong Un
  • Naya Rivera
  • Joe Biden
  • Trump vs. Biden

Canadian News:

  1. Coronavirus
  2. CERB
  3. Air Canada stock
  4. Nova Scotia shooting
  5. Blackout Tuesday
  6. Black Lives Matter
  7. Trudeau press conference today
  8. CERB extension
  9. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau
  10. Safia Nolin


  1. Pandemic
  2. Systemic racism
  3. Social distancing
  4. Furlough
  5. Epidemic
  6. Asymptomatic
  7. Queer
  8. Fracking
  9. BIPOC
  10. Caucus


  1. Why are people buying toilet paper?
  2. Why was George Floyd stopped?
  3. Why is it called COVID-19?
  4. Why did Kobe have 2 numbers?
  5. Why is Nevada taking so long?
  6. Why did Alex leave Grey’s?
  7. Why did 69 go to jail?
  8. Why is TikTok being banned?
  9. Why is gas so cheap right now 2020?
  10. Why is Australia on fire?

How to…:

  1. How to apply for EI
  2. How to make hand sanitizer
  3. How to apply for CERB
  4. How to make a mask
  5. How to cut your own hair
  6. How to use Zoom
  7. How to make sourdough starter
  8. How to get tested for coronavirus
  9. How to make whipped coffee
  10. How to make bread


  • Easy cookie recipes
  • Buttermilk recipes
  • Butternut squash recipes
  • Sourdough discard recipes
  • Scalloped potatoes recipes
  • Bread recipes
  • Coleslaw recipes
  • Crock Pot recipes
  • Breakfast recipes
  • Air fryer recipes

TV Shows:

  • Tiger King
  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • Ozark
  • Cobra Kai
  • Money Heist
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Outer Banks
  • Emily in Paris
  • The Witcher
  • Love Is Blind

Photo: iStock/anyaberkut.