Ten years. 120 months. 3,652 days. And through them all, people went about their lives; the weather ran its (sometimes menacing) course; plants and animals lived and died.
Yet these were also the first few ticks of a new millennium, one marked by social upheaval, wars, scandals, flashes of hope, new technologies and innumerable hours of reality TV. When future generations look back on this decade, what will their verdict be? And which vital developments will they overlook?
We'll tell you what we think on Dec. 26, both online and in print. But every Monday until then, we'll reveal one of the challenges we have set for ourselves - and ask you to weigh in. Come back a week later to see the results, along with the next challenge.
How our weekly challenges will work
- Every Monday until mid-December, we'll reveal a new question
- We'll ask a notable Canadian for their picks
- You can enter your nominations - tell us why too - in our comments
- The next Monday you can vote on the top 10 picks from our readers
- We ask a new question
Week two: Name the most significant international story of the decade
The past 10 years have presented world leaders with a remarkable array of events and issues -- but which of them have been the most momentous?
We posed that challenge to acclaimed Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, who now teaches at Oxford University and won the Governor-General's Award for Literature for Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World, a bestseller that the National Film Board this year turned into a documentary narrated by R.H. Thomson.
Margaret MacMillan's reply
"How on this earth can I choose?" she asks. "So much has happened since the end of the last century. "But if I must, here are my Top 5."
1. Climate change
Evidence continues to pour in that something strange is happening to our planet, and here in Britain, there is certainly great concern. I wish I didn't have to keep apologizing for Canada's shocking record of inaction and denial.
The Taliban have gone but that troubled country seems further from peace and good government than ever. How can this end? No scenario looks good.
3. The United States
It is no longer the confident, lone super-power of a decade ago. The Bush presidency left a legacy of damage at home and abroad, and so far the Obama administration has offered far more promise than concrete results.
4. The financial crisis
The bursting of bubbles around the world is more than just a blip. The crisis has shaken the economic system badly, and recovery is going to be slow and fitful.
We have hardly noticed, but the growth of the world's population has slowed dramatically. Some countries will face challenges as the average age goes up, but it can only do our battered planet good.
Bonus: One significant story that should be drawing more attention is nuclear proliferation. Perhaps because we can worry about only so much at once, we overlook the very real danger of having nuclear weapons fall into the wrong hands.
Week three: What was the biggest story in Canadian sports?
- Read: Silken Laumann's selections
- Jog your memory: A decade of moments
- Tell us: Your favourite sporting moment
Week two: Name the most important international story
- Jog your memory:
- Tell us: Get your selections into next week's poll
Week one: Name the most underrated film of the decade