December 30 - Happy Birthday Lebron James!

Happy 26th birthday to Lebron James! Arguably the most polarizing figure in pro sports today, James has become a worldwide icon and for both his on and off court activities. Known throughout the sports world as "King James", he is widely regarded as one of the most talented and gifted basketball players to have ever played the game. James made headlines during the summer of 2010 when he held an hour long television special to announce that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and joining the Miami Heat. "The Decision" became one of the most talked about subjects throughout the entire summer, and at the time was the 3rd highest rated cable TV program of 2010.

Athletically, James' resume reads that of a first ballot Hall of Famer. Even though he is only 26 years old, King James is currently the two time reigning league MVP, and is a 6-time All Star. He has also won the NBA Scoring Title, Rookie of the Year Award, and an Olympic Gold Medal for Team USA at the 2008 Olympics. He is currently searching for his first NBA Championship.

James was named as a finalist for Time's "Man of the Year" award for 2010 and was part of Barbara Walters' annual special of her "10 Most Fascinating People".





December 28 - "The Greatest Game Ever Played"

December 28, 1958 marks arguably the greatest and most important date in the history of the NFL. On this day, the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in sudden death overtime to become the 26th team to win the NFL Championship. The game took place at Yankee Stadium and is known worldwide as "The Greatest Game Ever Played". This was the first NFL Playoff game to ever go to sudden death overtime and ended with a 1-yard TD run by Colts running back Alan Ameche.

The game marked the start of the NFL's popularity surge and eventual rise to the top of the North American sports ranks. 17 people involved with this game (players, coaches, and management) have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including Colts Quarterback Johnny Unitas.

To this day, this is the only NFL Championship game to ever be decided in Overtime.





December 27 - Jazz icon Miles Davis graces the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine

On this day in 1969, if you had 35 cents you were in luck. Jazz legend Miles Davis was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and it was yours to have for a grand total of one quarter and one dime. Davis was the first jazz musician to hit the cover of music's biggest magazine and is noted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as "one of the key figures in the history of Jazz".

Davis' influence transcended more than just Jazz music, as he is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in the history of music. His discography is one of the most expansive in music history as he has produced 67 studio albums, 71 live albums, 128 compilation albums, and 3 soundtracks.

Davis was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and has also been honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star and a Grammy Award for "Lifetime Achievement".





December 24 - Nirvana begins recording their first album "Bleach"

On this day in 22 years ago, one of the most influential bands in music history began recording their very first album. With a $600.00 loan from a friend from school, Nirvana began recording their debut album, "Bleach". While the album was received well by critics, it failed to chart on any of the Billboard Charts in the United States upon it's original release.

The album featured 13 tracks, including "Blew", "Love Buzz", and "About a Girl". "Bleach" sold 40,000 units upon it's original release. After the huge success of their follow up album "Nevermind", the band re-released their debut album and it reached the charts in 9 different countries.

After the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, the album began to sell hundreds of thousands of copies and eventually reached platinum status in 1995--six years after it's original release date.





December 22 - Madonna hits the top of the US Charts for the first time

On this day 26 years ago, Madonna made her mark on the North American music scene with her 2nd album "Like a Virigin". This was Madonna's first album to reach the top of the US Billboard charts, and it remained there for six consecutive weeks. The album was a huge commercial success as it went multi-platinum in six different countries (10x platinum in the United States).

"Like a Virgin" produced 5 singles, 4 of which went #1. Singles such as "Like a Virgin", "Into the Groove", "Material Girl", and "Angel" all reached the top of the charts, with "Like a Virgin" hitting the peak position in both the United States and Canada.

This album was a follow up to Madonna's self titled debut album, which came out in 1983.





December 20 - Jimi Hendrix earns "Guitarist of the Millennium" honor

On this day in 1999, Jimi Hendrix was given the distinction of "The Best Guitarist of the Millennium" by UK Guitar Magazine. Hendrix's music career was highlighted with iconic singles "Purple Haze", "All Along the Watchtower", and "Foxy Lady" amongst many others. This award was given to Hendrix 29 years after his death.

Also receiving a special distinction was Nirvana's Nevermind album, which was named "The Best Album of the Millennium". This album attained a massive cult following and featured the hit singles "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Come As You Are", and "Lithium". The album was released in 1991.

Not all musicians were given positive distinctions on this night. Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was named "The Most Overrated Guitarist of the Millennium", which needless to say, didn't sit overly well with him.





December 19 - Titanic hits the theaters

The 2nd highest grossing movie of all time (thank you Avatar) hit the theaters on this day, 13 years ago. The film that grossed over 1.8 billion dollars was a huge phenomenon and would go on to win every award in its site. The movie picked up a record 11 Academy Awards and even managed to win 3 Grammy Awards for the Titanic Soundtrack.

The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater. While DiCaprio had done a few movies prior to Titanic, this movie was instrumental in launching his career. He has since starred in several blockbuster movies including "Gangs of New York", "Catch Me If You Can", and "Inception" to name a few.


The movie was produced and directed by James Cameron, who is planning a theatrical re-release of Titanic in 2012 that will be viewable in 3D.





December 18 - Remembering a Legend of Comedy

On this day 13 years ago, humour lost one of its closest friends. Legendary comedian Chris Farley passed away at the age of 33 from an accidental overdose. Farley epitomized good news throughout his career as he routinely made the planet laugh in hysterics every time he graced a screen.

Farley got his start on Saturday Night Live when he and fellow comedian Chris Rock joined the cast in 1990. These two along with David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Rob Schneider were known as "The Bad Boys of SNL". Farley and Spade would go on to make two movies together in the mid 90's as "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep" would attain a cult following and help launch Farley's film career.

Other notable Chris Farley movies include: Almost Heroes, Dirty Work, and Beverly Hills Ninja, which was the number 1 movie in America after it's first week in the theaters.





December 16 - OJ Simpson makes NFL History

Yes, before the epic 1994 car chase, OJ Simpson was one of the most recognizable and great football players in the games history. On this day in 1973, Simpson became the first NFL player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. His performance during the 1973 season is widely regarded as one of the best seasons by a Running Back in NFL history as he ended that season with 2,003 rushing yards in just 14 games (6.0 yards per carry). He would go on to win the 1973 NFL Most Valuable Player award.

"Juice" as he was known throughout his football career, would win 4 NFL Rushing Titles during his illustrious playing career. He would become a 6 time Pro Bowl selection, he was selected to the 1970's all decade team, and in 1973 Simpson would win the Associated Press' "Male Athlete of the Year" award.

In 1985, Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a first ballot inductee. He also starred as Nordberg in the "Naked Gun" film trilogy and hosted Saturday Night Live during the 1980's.





December 14 - Sprinter Ben Johnson wins Canada's Athlete of the Year

During the late 1980's, there may not have been a more polarizing figure in Canadian sports than Ben Johnson. From world records, to National Awards, to worldwide controversy, Johnson's athletic career had it all. On this day in 1987, Johnson was given the Lou Marsh Award for Canadian Athlete of the Year for his dominance in the sprinting world. Johnson beat out several other high profile Canadian athletes including "The Great One", Wayne Gretzky.

Johnson took home two bronze medals at the 1984 Olympic Games and from there began one of the most heated rivalries in sports with American sprinter Carl Lewis. By 1986, Canada's human lighting bolt was destroying the competition and was invested as a Member of the "Order of Canada" for becoming at the time, "The World's Fastest Human Being". In 1987, Johnson became a worldwide celebrity as he was making nearly $480,000 a month just from endorsements.

In 1988, after Johnson broke a world record and won the Olympic Gold Medal, he became entrenched in controversy as he was caught for using a banned substance. While he admitted to using the substance, he along with his coach claimed that they used the substance to "remain on equal footing with the competition". Five other sprinters from that race, including Carl Lewis, were either implicated or were caught using banned substances at some point in their careers.

Johnson now lives in Markham, Ontario where he spends the majority of his time with his family.





December 13 - Happy Birthday Emily Carr!

On this day in 1871, one of Canada's most influential and decorated artists was born. Emily Carr, a "Canadian Icon" as dubbed by the Canadian Encyclopedia, was born in Victoria, British Columbia and is one of the most famous Canadians to ever come out the B.C. capital. Carr will always be remembered primarily for her paintings, as she was one of the first artists to "attempt to capture the spirit of Canada in a modern style".

During the 1920's, Carr was closely associated with the iconic "Group of Seven" which was comprised of seven Canadian landscape painters. Unlike many other artists, Carr was the latest of late-bloomers. She began the work she was best known for during her career when she was in her late 50's. She was known as a "darling of the women's movement" as the Victoria native was known as a woman who succeeded against all odds.

Today, Carr is not only recognized in British Columbia, but all over Canada. She has schools and libraries named after her, and "Emily Carr House" is a National Historic Site in Victoria.





December 10 - The First Nobel Prizes are Awarded

On this day in 1901, the first Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace were awarded. The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards which are given in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The prize is one of most recognizable and distinguishable accomplishments a person can achieve.

While the award holds a high level of prestige, the prize has come under harsh criticism over the years. One of the biggest mysteries and controversies surrounding the award is that Mohandas Gandhi never won the award for "Peace" although he was nominated for it on five different occasions.

Notable winners of the Nobel Prizes include Al Gore (Peace), Barack Obama (Peace), Ernest Hemingway (Literature), Winston Churchill (Literature), and the man who first discovered how to use X-Rays, Wilhelm Rontgen (Physics).





December 9 - The First YMCA in North America is Established

On this day in 1851, the first YMCA in North America was established in Montreal, Quebec. Today, YMCA's are all over the world, with their headquarters being in Geneva, Switzerland. In Canada, there are 45 YMCA's and 8 YMCA-YWCA's, combining to serve 1.8 million people in Canada in over 250 communities.

YMCA stands for "Young Mens Christian Association", however today the YMCA is open and provides community services to everyone. YMCA's offer health and fitness programs for all ages, child care, volunteer and leadership opportunities, as well as summer day camps. The organization operates differently in each country as it tailors to the community's needs. In North America, the YMCA is often times perceived as a sports and recreation facility.

The National YMCA Federation in Canada expresses its statement of purpose as being "dedicated to the growth of all persons in spirit, mind and body and a sense of responsibility to each other and the global community."





December 8 - Remembering one of music's finest

On this day 30 years ago, the world was stunned as news broke that music icon John Lennon had passed away. One of the founding members of the Beatles, Lennon and fellow Beatle Paul McCartney formed one of the most successful partnerships in the history of music. As a writer, co-writer, and producer, Lennon is responsible for 27 #1 singles on the United States Billboard Chart including "Imagine", "Hey Jude", "Hello, Goodbye" and several others.

Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Lennon has the fifth greatest singer of all time, while BBC ranked him at #8 on their "100 Greatest Britons" list. On what would have been John Lennon's 70th Birthday, the "John Lennon Peace Monument" was unveiled in Chavesse Park in Liverpool with the encryption “Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honour of John Lennon 1940 – 1980”.

Lennon's music can still be heard today on radio stations across the planet. His biggest single, "Imagine", was ranked as the 3rd greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.





December 7 - "Instant Replay" is used for the first time

There are certain things in life we take for granted. Spell check, Don Draper's hair, and instant replay are all things we never really think about, but impact our lives in so many ways (any fans of "Mad Men" will agree!). So this is why our "On This Day" focuses on the first time instant replay was used during a live sports telecast.

December 7, 1963 in a college football game between Army and Navy, instant replay was used for the very first time. It's hard to imagine a sports game without the use of instant replay, as this feature has become a huge part of live sports telecasts and can impact the game greatly. Instant replay is used to overturn calls, award or takeaway scores, and can also be used to drum up great controversy (see video clip below).

Today instant replay is used not just in sports, but in all facets of television. Shows such as Wipeout, Amazing Race, and America's Got Talent all use and depend on instant replay. TV advancements such as TiVo and PVR were all created due to the popularity of replay.








December 6 - Europe hits #1 with "The Final Countdown"

On this day in 1986, Europe hit the top of the charts with their iconic hit single "The Final Countdown". The song was a huge success as it reached #1 in 25 countries, including the United Kingdom. VH1 named it the 66th best hard rock song of all time, and was ranked #16 on the "Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever" list.

"Final Countdown" has been used extensively in pop culture during the last 20+ years. The Detroit Pistons have used the iconic track as their intro song since the late 80's, and its been featured in several video games including "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games". The song gained even more popularity during the most recent decade when it was often used in the hit TV show Arrested Development for Gob's illusion acts.

"Final Countdown" is often times used at sports games to help energize the home crowd. Last year, it was used in the Broadway hit "Rock of Ages" which pays homage to the music of the 1980's.





December 4 -"Led Zeppelin" Disbands

On this day in 1980, one of the most iconic and successful groups in rock music history announced that it was disbanding after 12 years together. Led Zeppelin, the band that brought us several chart topping hits including "Stairway to Heaven", "Kashmir", and "All of My Love" disbanded after the passing away of their drummer John Bonham. The band attained a huge cult following during the 1970's where they were widely regarded as "the biggest rock band in the world".

Zeppelin has sold over 200 million albums worldwide and had six of their ten studio albums reach #1 on the US Billboard Charts. They were ranked #1 on Rolling Stones list of "100 Greatest Artists of Rock" and were given high praise from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who described Led Zeppelin as "as influential in that decade [70s] as The Beatles were in the prior one."

The rock group has reunited four times since 1980, with the most recent time being in 2007 when John Bonham's son filled in behind the drums and joined Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones on stage in England.





December 3 - Bono and the rest of U2 breathe a huge sigh of relief

On this day in 1999, Bono received arguably the most relieving and assuring news of his storied career. After having his laptop stolen, Bono had it returned to him after an Irish man who had bought the laptop for £300 realized that it was indeed the stolen laptop that Bono had been stressing over. Now, while at face value this does not seem like big news, the laptop that was stolen contained all of the songs on the upcoming U2 album that had yet to be released. Had the laptop not been returned, the entire U2 album would have been leaked to public months before the album's set release date.

The laptop contained all the songs on U2's album "All That You Can't Leave Behind". Bono and the rest of U2 were hyping up the album as one of the best albums they had ever produced, and were extremely worried when they had all of the songs stolen from them. When the laptop was returned, they were able to release the album as planned. "All That You Can't Leave Behind" became one of the most popular U2 albums of all time as it sold over 12 million copies worldwide and won seven Grammy Awards.

The album yielded 4 singles, including "Beautiful Day", "Stuck in a Moment you can't get out of", "Elevation", and "Walk On".





December 2 - Happy Birthday Nelly Furtado!

Whoa, Nelly!

Happy 32nd Birthday to Victoria, British Columbia's own Nelly Furtado! The uber successful singer has become one of the biggest names in music, as she's sold over 20 million albums worldwide. Furtado broke into the pop culture music scene in 2000 with her album "Whoa, Nelly!" which featured the hit single, "I'm like a bird". The album sold 7 million copies worldwide, including going 4x platinum in Canada.

Since 2000, Furtado has gone on to release 3 more studio albums, including her most successful CD "Loose". "Loose" sold over 10 million copies around the world and featured multiple chart topping hits such as "Promiscuous", "Say it Right", and "Maneater".

Furtado has been featured on several other successful songs over the past decade including Swollen Members' hit single "Breathe", Timbaland's "Morning After Dark", and Young Artists for Haiti's remake of "Wavin' Flag".

Furtado performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics with fellow Canadian Bryan Adams.





December 1 - The Beatles invade North America

On this day in 1963, The Beatles released their first single in the United States when their iconic single "I want to hold your hand" hit the Billboard Charts. The song would become the first Beatles track to reach #1 in the United States and is credited for helping kick start "The British Invasion" into the United States music scene.

The song held the #1 spot on the charts for 7 consecutive weeks and became the Beatles' best selling single worldwide. The song is credited as being one of the most influential Beatles songs of all time and helped the English rock group have one of the most impressive years in music history in 1964. Starting from "I want to hold your hands" last week at #1, The Beatles would go on to produce seven #1 singles during that one year time frame.

In 2004, the song was ranked #16 on the Rolling Stones "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". "I want to hold your hand" also cracked the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "500 songs that shaped Rock n' Roll".





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