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Matters of Fact

From the editors: Happy birthday Solutions! This edition marks the 20th anniversary of our cherished magazine, and to celebrate we are looking back at some fun facts from 2002.

In the year 2002 …

It was a little less crowded

The world’s population was 6.3 billion versus nearly 8 billion today. The population of Canada was just over 31 million (it’s now 38 million).

Entertain me!

The biggest box office hits were The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This was also the year that Halle Berry became the first African American woman to win an Oscar, for her performance in the film Monster’s Ball. 

Coldplay, Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain had some of the best-selling albums of the year. American Idol made its debut on prime-time television. Other popular TV shows were Friends, ER and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Hi-tech of the times

Apple released its second-generation iPod. Considered cutting-edge technology, it held a whopping 20 GB of storage. The average person spent about 46 minutes a day surfing the web (compared to roughly seven hours today!). The top three search engines, in order of popularity, were MSN, Yahoo and Google.

It took roughly 12 minutes to download one song on a 56k modem and 16 seconds for a web page to load. Friendster was the most popular social media site with 3 million members; LinkedIn was founded in December 2002. 

Mars was a hot spot 

Elon Musk founded SpaceX, aiming to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. A couple of months later, the Mars Odyssey found signs of large ice deposits on Mars.

Funeral fit for a queen

On March 30, 2002, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101. Her funeral took place on April 9, and over a million people flocked to the streets of London to watch the funeral procession. 

In the world of sports

On February 8, 2002, the XIX Winter Olympics opened in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Detroit Red Wings were Stanley Cup champs, the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl XXXVI and Tiger Woods won the Masters and U.S. Open golf tournaments. Serena Williams won three Grand Slam tournament titles – the U.S. Open, French Open and Wimbledon. This was also the year that Lance Armstrong won the 89th Tour de France, from which he was later disqualified for doping. The biggest boxing match of the year, dubbed “Lewis–Tyson: Is On,” saw Lennox Lewis defeat Mike Tyson in the eighth round.[1]

Money matters, circa 2002

Twenty years ago, the unemployment rate was 7 per cent and the average inflation rate was 2.26 per cent. The prime rate (interest rate lenders use to determine the interest rates for many types of loans) hovered around 4.5 per cent for much of 2002. 

Depending on which province or territory you lived in, if you earned minimum wage, you were paid between $5.75 and $8.00 per hour, and gas cost between 63.2 and 88.5 cents per litre.

As far as food goes, a dozen eggs cost about $2.00, 500 g of bacon set you back roughly $4.20 and 300 grams of roasted coffee went for $3.10.

In 12 of the 15 European Union countries at the time, the euro became the official currency.


[1] https://www.topendsports.com/world/timeline/2002.htm

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