When 2015 began, Justin Trudeau was a third-party schlub, Ebola hadn’t been cured, nobody knew what Pluto looked like and the term “Left Shark” was meaningless.
Twelve months is a long time, and here’s the near-unrecognizable world that the people of Earth greeted on the morning of Jan. 1, 2015.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has just watched a virtual evaporation of the opposition benches in a mass floor-crossing. He now commands a Progressive Conservative party in control of 80% of the legislature, and knows that he will not need to call an election for another 18 months. Elsewhere in Alberta, Trevor Horne is working as a barista and Brandy Payne is teaching yoga. The snow will barely have melted before Horne and Payne are MLAs in an NDP government.
Exactly 361 Americans greet Jan. 1 unaware that they will be killed in mass shootings in 2015. The first such death will be on Jan. 2, when 28-year-old Randolph Scott will die at the scene of a domestic shooting in Savannah, Ga., that injures four others, including two children.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau prepares for an upcoming tour through Yellowknife and Iqaluit, where, despite later claims to the contrary, no self-respecting Northerner will tell him that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “all sled, no dogs.” Polls may have Trudeau as Canada’s preferred choice for prime minister, but he’s facing down a Conservative party well-poised to capture another majority in October.
The ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud, Hatra and Dur-Sharrukin continue to stand in what is now northern Iraq, just as they have for nearly 3,000 years. Dozens of invaders have passed these ruins before, but only one, ISIL, will feel the need to destroy them.
It is still technically possible to be stricken with rubella (German measles) in the Americas. In April, the World Health Organization will declare the disease officially eradicated from the Western Hemisphere.
Humans still do not know what Pluto looks like close-up. First discovered in 1930 by an Arizona observatory built specifically for the purpose, Pluto has only been known as a blurry dot faintly visible from the Hubble Space Telescope. In two weeks, that will be set to change as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft begins its approach phase to the dwarf planet.
More than 17,600 workers wrap up Boxing Week sales at Target Canada’s 133 stores. Customers will still be bringing in Christmas returns when news breaks on Jan. 15 that Target’s Canadian subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy.
An Airbus A320 with the registration number D-AIPX kicks off its 11th month of service with the low-cost airline Germanwings. In three months, after 24 years and 46,700 flights, it will carry 150 people to their deaths in the French Alps at the hands of a suicidal co-pilot.
Dancer Bryan Gaw takes a roadtrip back to California after celebrating Christmas in Texas. Within weeks, he will be in a shark costume behind pop star Katy Perry at the Super Bowl halftime show, where 114.4 million people will watch the “Left Shark” struggle through the choreography to Teenage Dream.
Connor McDavid, 17, is midway through a dazzling performance at the World Juniors. A forward with the OHL’s Erie Otters, he’s widely expected to be the top pick in the upcoming NHL draft. But he is still a few months away from being welcomed by the people of Edmonton as the Second Coming of Gretzky.
Roughly 500,000 Canadian virgins begin a year in which they will finally discover the sublime joys of amorous congress. Data on virginity loss in Canada is scarce, but in 2005 Statistics Canada found that 57% of Canadians are virgins on their 19th birthday.
Ethel Lang rings in the New Year at a nursing home in Barnsley, U.K., less than three miles from where she was born 114 years earlier. Upon her death two weeks later, Britain will lose its last citizen born under the reign of Queen Victoria.
Several hundred vials of VSV-EBOV are in the custody of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève. Developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada at a Winnipeg lab, it will be touted in July as the world’s first weapon against the Ebola virus.
The terrorist with a British accent, “Jihadi John,” is known to the world only as a masked member of a terrorist cell performing brutal beheadings of captives. In two months, he will be revealed as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen. In 10 months, he will be “evaporated” by a U.S. drone strike.
Gay couples cannot get married in Ireland, Slovenia, Greenland, Pitcairn Island and 14 U.S. states. Through legislation, court action and referendum, thousands of same-sex couples around the world will soon be able to marry their partners.
Volkswagen owners can still confidently believe that their carmaker wouldn’t do something so rash as to purposely design their vehicles with technology designed to cheat emissions tests. The United States Environmental Protection Agency will inform the world in September, instantly wiping out 15.6 billion euros of stock value.
Somewhere in London, England, sits a nondescript two-tonne slab of limestone. In four months, it will be chiseled with a sextet of Labour Party promises and unveiled by leader Ed Miliband as one of the most ridiculed campaign stunts of modern times.
On French newsstands, the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo features a cartoon of a buck-toothed Francois Hollande being humped by a Labrador retriever. It’s drawn by the cartoonist Rénald Luzier, who in one week, on his birthday, will be showing up late to work to see gunmen fleeing the Charlie Hebdo offices after murdering 12 of his co-workers.
Meanwhile, only 500 metres away from Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan concert venue awaits its first scheduled event for 2015; an ’80s and ’90s dance party on Jan. 10. Thousands of revelers will pass through the doors of the iconic venue before it’s turned into hell by an Islamist terrorist attack on Nov. 13.
After three years in Turkey, the family of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi is preparing to return to the Syrian border town of Kobani. By spring, renewed ISIL attacks will drive the family back to Turkey and into an overloaded inflatable boat bound for Greece. Only father Abdullah Kurdi will survive the boat’s sinking and the body of Alan will wash up on a tourist beach.
Actor Harrison Ford is walking comfortably after recovering from a broken leg received on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’ll soon be back in the hospital after crash-landing a vintage Second World War trainer onto a golf course.
The word “hoverboard” is meaningless outside the context of the 1989 film Back to the Future II. It is not until the summer that the object we now know as hoverboards — two-wheeled mini-Segways — began to be available in North America en masse.
“Happy 2015, friends! … thanks for watching and stay fabulous,” reads the Facebook page of the CBC show Steven and Chris. The show will come to a tragic end in August when host Chris Hyndman is found dead outside his Toronto home after what his mother believes to be a fatal sleepwalking accident.
Not yet three-years-old, American Pharoah has only been racing for five months by the time 2015 rolls around. In another five months, the racehorse will be the first winner of the Triple Crown since 1978.
Donald Trump is a billionaire developer reality TV host. But he is not yet a billionaire developer reality TV host Republican presidential candidate hopeful. To kick off 2015, Trump launches the latest edition of Celebrity Apprentice, calls Bill Cosby a “tremendous guy” and sues the Palm Beach International Airport for allegedly trying to spite him by directing air traffic over his country club.
The Confederate battle flag flutters over the grounds of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, S.C., as it has done since 1961. The flag was installed partly in defiance of a burgeoning civil rights movement, and will be removed in response to a racially motivated attack at a nearby black church.
Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is three days away from kicking off another packed year of public appearances by appearing on the CBS pre-game show for an NFL playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts. Subway, CBS and even Fogle’s wife are unaware of his obsessive double life as a dealer in child pornography.
Former Olympian Bruce Jenner has just finalized his divorce to Kris Jenner, a TV personality most famous for being the mother of Kim Kardashian. Although Jenner has considered gender reassignment since the 1980s, his transition to Caitlyn Jenner will not be announced until April.