It’s a funny thing, time; one day you’re enjoying your blessedly simple existence eating dirt and pooping your pants, the next you’re hurriedly completing assignments and punching a clock so you can scrounge enough money to pay rent. This is the difference 20 years can make in someone’s life – you can go from completely dependent to completely responsible in two short decades. Births, deaths, fads, movements, overwhelming successes, unprecedented failures: all of these will grow, crest, then fade over the span of a vicennium (fancy word alert).
It is with this sense of maudlin nostalgia for the past that we’ve decided to look back exactly 20 years to 1993, in an effort to both commemorate our recent history and attempt to pinpoint just how much our world has changed since this one year in the early nineties.
In order to kick start this time-travel project, I’d like to start us off with a short list of things to experience, read, watch, listen to, whatever, so that you might say that you plunged yourself deep into the year that was 1993. Read on, friends!
1. The continuing rise of “alternative” music
At the time, most mainstream media outlets were calling this the “grunge” movement. In retrospect, very few who were actually involved in it could actually tell you what grunge meant, or why the term became so popular.
In essence, what people were talking about was an emerging alternative to the polished dance hits that had been dominating the music charts for years on end. Both the sound and the aesthetic behind it were dirtier, more organic than anything you could find on a Janet Jackson album. Among the most popular releases associated with this movement in ’93 were Nirvana’s In Utero and Pearl Jam’s second album Vs.
By the mid-nineties, “grunge” was on the decline, but had paved the way for acts like Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins to capture more mainstream spotlight than might have previously ever been possible.
2. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
If you were a child in 1993 then there is simply no way the debut of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR) didn’t knock your socks off.
The show was basically a live-action version of a Saturday morning Voltron cartoon, where a team of high-schoolers-turned-superheroes would karate fight intergalactic bad guys and Godzilla monsters. They had swords, laser guns, dinosaur-themed vehicles, and their own super secret headquarters equipped with a robot-butler. The original MMPR only lasted three seasons, but each of those seasons were ridiculously jam-packed with viewing content – to the point where the cast and crew had produced a total of 145 episodes in little more than 36 months.
Many twenty-somethings will still tell you today that the green ranger saga both rocked their belief system and altered the way they see the world forevermore.
3. Changing of the guard in Canadian politics
There are many reasons why 1993 was a historic year for Canadian politics; some of them are worth celebrating, others are not.
First, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced his retirement from politics following widespread criticism of his time in office. By ’93, Mulroney’s approval rating had reached record lows (at worst dropping to 11 per cent), making him one of the least popular leaders in Canadian history and prompting many to predict a devastating loss in the upcoming general election. Mulroney handed the office to fellow party member Kim Campbell, who became the first ever female Prime Minister.
Unfortunately for Campbell, Mulroney passed the title a short two and a half months before the election, all but assuring a sweeping defeat at the hands of the Liberal Party and Jean Chrétien. The Progressive Conservative party, until then under the leadership of Mulroney, lost approximately 99 percent of their seats, going from 151 to two. Chrétien would become the 20th Prime Minister of Canada, following Campbell’s brief stint as the 19th.
4. Selanne breaks the rookie record
Teemu Selanne was selected 10th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft but it wasn’t until the 1992/93 season that the Finnish import travelled to Canada to light the league on fire.
Selanne was an instant all-star in his first year with the Jets, piling up goals and points at a rate that had never been seen before from a rookie in the NHL. The first-year Jet would score a total of 76 goals by the end of the regular season, shattering the previous record for a rookie of 53 set by Mike Bossy. Selanne also set the single season rookie record for points with 132; this, along with the goal mark, still stands today.
The game in which Selanne broke the goal record has since gone down as one of the most memorable home games in Winnipeg history. The Finnish Flash scored his second of the game against the visiting Quebec Nordiques to tie Bossy’s record, then completed his night with a hat trick goal to surge past the old mark, capping the feat with one of the most iconic goal scoring celebrations ever. Selanne tossed up his right hand glove and used his turned-around stick to mime shooting it out of the air. Amazing.