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Canadian TV: Best 11 Moments of 2011

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DELAHUNTYROBFORD
CBC

2011 was a pretty big year for the TV world in general. Oprah said farewell to her beloved daytime chatfest. Regis bid adieu to mornings with Kelly and Gelman. And Kim Kardashian broadcast her "fairytale" wedding for all the world to bask in. Here in Canada, we had some pretty memorable small screen moments of our own.

Perhaps most notably, our Canuck quest for global TV domination continued to gain momentum with homegrown shows like "Rookie Blue," "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil," "Lost Girl" and "Republic of Doyle" steadily growing their international audiences around the world (and we also reinforced the global stereotype that Canadians are an attractive bunch, with the likes of Anna Silk, Missy Peregrym and Allan Hawco representing us on the world stage).

Since it’s that time of year (yes, list time), we've compiled a list of the top 11 most memorable moments in Canadian TV this year. Some were good. Some were great. Some we may prefer to forget.

1. Marg Delahunty (Mary Walsh) ambushed Toronto mayor Rob Ford on "This Hour Has 22 Minutes." Oh, the horror! I can see why Ford had to (allegedly) cuss out the 911 operator who just wasn't grasping how serious the threat was. Emergency services should really work on their response times to protect public figures from having to 'play ball' with zany fake news correspondents.

2. Pam Anderson portrayed the Virgin Mary on "A Russell Peters Christmas." We can't think of a more perfect choice to play an ironic virgin. Viewers must have agreed -- a whopping 2.1 million Canadians tuned in to see the funnyman lampoon the holidays.

3. FX finally launched in Canada, so we can see awesome shows like "The League," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Sons of Anarchy" right away. Plus fans of "Murdoch Mysteries" now have a go-to channel to catch their favourite sleuth. We don't know why FX runs so many back-to-back-to-back episodes of "Murdoch," but don’t question it. Just embrace it.

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4. Todd and the Gang got trapped inside of a video game on "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil!" Oh, those crazy kids. What will they get up to next? Whatever it is, a whole lotta people will be watching. The Little Canadian Show That Could just got picked up in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Norway. Go, "Todd!"

5. The "Degrassi" kids headed to Haiti to do some good. "Degrassi" proves it's still head and shoulders above the fluffy "90210"-style teen shows on the air right now by continuing to raise awareness about important issues. "Degrassi in Haiti" debuts Dec. 30 as part of the Much Holiday Wrap.

6. In a surprise move, CTV pulled the plug on "So You Think You Can Dance Canada," in spite of solid ratings and legions of fans across the country. The official explanation? They wanted it to end on a high note. (Inspired by "Seinfeld," perhaps?)

7. Rick Mercer got the entire country talking about teen suicide after his powerful rant on "The Rick Mercer Report" following the suicide of gay Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley. In a subsequent interview, he vowed to be a stronger role model for gay teens and implored fellow gay public figures to follow his lead.

8. For a brief time, we got to watch Elias Koteas and Debra Kara Unger every week on "Combat Hospital," a great show that sadly won't see another season.

9. Seamus O'Reagan made like Reege and left "Canada AM" to pursue other endeavours. He's since traded morning show cooking segments for a more serious role as a CTV National News correspondent.

10. The Dragons divided and conquered. Stars of "Dragons Den" were everywhere in 2011. Arlene, Kevin and Robert all published new books. Kevin can be seen on everything from "Dragons" to "Shark Tank" to "Redemption Inc." The CBC announced that the Dragons will be hitting the road to interact with entrepreneurs (and possibly give them cashola) in the new show "The Big Decision." And yes, there's even a "Dragon's Den" board game.

11. Canada officially made analog TV a thing of the past. As of August 31, 2011, all Canadian TV stations converted to digital television. (I already miss my TV dial. And channel 1! Thanks a lot, progress!)

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