As the end of 2011 approaches, we at the CDR have picked 10 designs we feel have stood out this year. All chosen projects promote the shared values that make Canada unique, and connect us to the world with innovation, style and even humour. This collection is by no means comprehensive, but it kicks off our first annual list and simply aims to highlight some favourites from the past year.

1. Lucky Iron Fish – We love this project above all others this year for its common sense and humble design. This project was conceived to promote the use of an iron implement for the treatment of anemia in Cambodia. This is design at its best: being used to solve wicked global problems.

2. Portable HIV Monitor – Another social design, this portable, instant results testing device is heading to the front lines of the global AIDS epidemic. This project not only provides faster feedback on results and thus swifter treatment, it is enabling more accurate data of how the disease is spreading.

3. Cervélo S5Simply the best bike made in the world. In a sport dominated by Europe, Canada has invaded the scene and established itself as a top player. From the Bixi commuter bikes and guerilla cycling lanes, to boutique manufacturers like Marinoni and Dekerf Cycles, Canada is becoming a serious cycling culture force.

4. Plethore LC750 – The auto industry in Canada is interesting: we have the world’s largest auto parts manufacturer creating concept cars to build in-country, to the supermilage cars from University of Ottawa and the Université Laval, and now one of the fastest cars in the world – Canada’s first super car. We have all the right pieces to dominate the automobile markets of the world.

5. Shit Girls Say – Slick production values and a social media monster, this series of online shorts hits close to home for many of us and is funny as hell. Building on our collective history in comedy and film, the creators are using new media to broadcast out and attract millions of fans around the world.

6. Canada Goose Hybridge Jacket – We love that the best winter parka in the world is from Canada. It’s a wonder more Canadian brands have not embraced our harsh season, which our forbearers suffered through to carve out the life we all now enjoy. We also love their collaboration and environmental action.

7. Patkau Architects Winnipeg Skating Shelters – This simple structure gives ice skaters a shelter to put skates and mitts on and hit the lakes and rivers for an afternoon. No big architectural philosophy but lovely and modest, the form references huddled buffalos on the prairies.

8. Best Made Co. and HBC Axe – Evolving from the myth of the Canadian outdoors, Best Made Co. and Hudson’s Bay Company have worked together to bring the Canadian aesthetic to the big city.

9. The Jimmy Native Shoes – An updated version of the classic duck boot with colourful, Native-brand style. Adding to the distinctly summery collection, The Jimmy has broadened Native’s line up and we look forward to seeing what’s next for this global fashion label.

10. Ken Lum Monument for East Vancouver – We are biased on this one (CDR’s founder created the project) but we think it’s cool. Part souvenir, part art project, the Ken Lum piece has become the accessory of East Side Vancouverites and the project as meeting place for designers and artist to collaborate.

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