How The List Was Created

“…I wanted to find a happy medium between critical choices and popular ones, between music nerds and people who just like to be entertained. So, rather than use a small jury, I chose to compile a big one, with the idea that the more people were involved, the more representative it would be of the entire country. I wanted people who knew a lot about music, so that their choices would not be limited to the few albums with which they were familiar. Having worked in both public and private broadcasting and in print journalism, I have met many people connected with music on a professional level or as devoted volunteers supporting musicians and musical events. There’s a big industry in Canada working around the music world, filled with all different types of music fans for all conceivable genres. They are the most passionate fans I know: people who listen to more music in a week than most people do in a year. Best of all, they’re not all critics or snobbish about their tastes.

You’ll already know a lot of our jurors. They are your local deejay or music reviewer. They are your favourite musicians, including Jim, Ed, and Tyler of Barenaked Ladies; Alan Doyle and Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea; Neil Peart of Rush; Nickelback’s Ryan Peake; Sass Jordan; Holly Cole; Holly McNarland; Jill Barber; Ron Sexsmith; Corb Lund; Martin Tielli and Dave Bidini of Rheostatics; George Pettit and Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire; Sarah Slean; Matt Mays; and many more. Our jurors also include music company employees, broadcasters, managers, agents, bookers, retailers, roadies, instrument makers, festival operators and volunteers, theatre and club managers, collectors, librarians, website managers, and a few other folks who demonstrated intense interest in the project.

I can vouch for them all.

Each juror was asked to provide a list of Top Ten Canadian albums, using whatever criteria they wished. They could choose their own favourites or the ones they felt were the most important, from any style, in any language, from any area of the country, as long as the music had been released in an album format. It could be a Greatest Hits collection, a live album — everything counted. To be considered Canadian, however, a solo artist must have been born in Canada or have moved to this country before making the album in question. Bands had to have a majority of Canadian members when making the album. This meant that The Band, with four of its five members born in Canada, was eligible, but Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with only one member, was not. It didn’t matter if a Canadian artist had moved away and made the album somewhere else — a book about great Canadian albums that didn’t include the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell would be unthinkable.

To ensure every style was represented, I paid attention to the demographics of the jurors, whom I believe are a good mix of ages, men and women, anglophones and francophones, widely multicultural, and people from big and small communities right across the country. There are college radio fans and young music fans, and an equal number of older veterans.

Close to six hundred people responded to my request to vote. Each top pick was awarded 10 points, the number two choice 9 points, and so on — a method called the Borda count, after Jean-Charles de Borda, the eighteenth-century gentleman who invented it. It’s commonly used for anything from elections to beauty pageants to sports pools. My thanks go to Mount Allison University professor Bob Sealy for his help both in selecting the method and tabulating the scores.”

-Bob Mersereau
From the Introduction, The Top 100 Canadian Albums

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