1997 was a year that saw massive flooding of the Red River in Manitoba. Confederation bridge linking Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick opened. Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident. Fourteen-year-old Reena Virk was beaten to death by classmates in Victoria. 43 were killed in Canada’s worst ever traffic accident as a tour bus fell off a cliff. Canadian film The Sweet Hereafter by Atom Egoyan about a school bus accident debuted. Motion picture Titanic by Canada’s James Cameron premiered at the cinema in December eventually setting a box office record which remained unbroken for 12 years. The Arrow, a mini-series about the Avro Arrow project, gained a large television viewership. Television comedy series Seinfeld topped the Nielsen ratings.
“Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan was the #1 song of the year. Her album Surfacing was certified diamond (or 10x platinum) for sales of 1 million copies and won the Album of the Year JUNO the following year. Céline Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love which included “My Heart Will Go On” featured in the aforementioned film Titanic also went diamond. It won the same JUNO in 1999. Our Lady Peace released Clumsy, another diamond album. But surpassing all of them, reaching two million in sales, and becoming one of the most globally successful albums ever released, was Shania Twain’s Come on Over. 1997 saw the release of more Canadian albums certified multiplatinum than any other year in history with a total of 13. It was possibly the biggest year ever for album sales. Other big sellers were Loreena McKennitt’s The Book of Secrets at quadruple platinum. Play by Great Big Sea made triple platinum.
Double platinum albums in 1997 were Big Wreck’s In Loving Memory Of…, Bruno Pelletier’s Miserer, Chantalk Kreviazuk’s Under These Rocks and Stones, Diana Krall’s Love Scenes, Jann Arden’s Happy?, The Tea Party’s Transmission, and The Tragically Hip’s Live Between Us.