The Canadian Talent Pool

The Canadian Talent Pool
It’s no secret that Americans and Canadians share many similarities, yet many traits set us apart, and we are proud of our culture on both sides of the border. While as Canadians, we tend to be reserved, known world-wide for our politeness, we are also quietly proud of being the birth country for many celebrities.

Some of our talent pool has moved south, to Hollywood, to Las Vegas, and New York for many reasons. But they still cling to their roots and call Canada home.

Here is a list of famous Canadians you might think were American.

In the movie category, our beloved Ryan Reynolds tops the chart right behind Dwayne Johnson (Dwayne’s father is Canadian), aka, The Rock, and the handsome duo is teaming up in the thriller, Red Notice. Ryan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and stems from humble beginnings. He started his career in the soap opera genre, then landed a sitcom, Two Guys and Girl, and the rest, as they say, is history. Famous with his good looks, fantastic physique, and charm, Ryan established himself as a leading man and spokesperson and became an American Citizen in 2018. Did you know he was married to Scarlett Johansson before Blake Lively?

The ‘other’ Ryan is Ryan Gosling of London, Ontario, who started in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, where he starred alongside Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. His big hits include The Notebook, La La Land, and is in a relationship with Eva Mendez.

Here is a list of notable Canadians gracing the silver screen: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Will Arnett, Mike Myers, Howie Mandel, Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Jim Carrey, Michael Cera, Michael J. Fox, Rachel McAdams, Pamela Anderson, Anna Paquin, Neve Campbell, and the late John Candy.

On the music scene, Canadians are also prolific and dominate in many categories. Shania Twain is a legend and inspiration. Having sold over 100 million records, she charts as the top female in country music history. Likable, beautiful, and somewhat mysterious, Shania also stems from humble beginnings. During her career, she has amassed many awards and nominations and is ranked 10th best on Nielsen Soundscan data. Many of her fans felt tremendous sympathy for her when her marriage ended.

Celine Dion is one of the all-time best-selling artists with over 200 million record sales. Famous for her pitch-perfect voice, her renowned theme song from Titanic, ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ which reached the number one spot in twenty countries. She is a regular performer in Las Vegas and the second best-selling female artist, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Her list of awards is endless, and her career is still flourishing. Born just north of Montreal, Quebec, Dion was the youngest of 14 children in a poor but happy and musical environment.

Canadian music icons are Justin Bieber, The Weekend, Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Drake, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Nelly Furtado, David Foster, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Robbie Robertson, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, the late Glenn Gould, Leonard Cohen, Oscar Peterson among others.

In sports, Canada shines with many legendary names like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, and Sidney Crosby, who need no further introduction. Donovan Bailey, Gordie Howe, Mike Weir, Bobby Orr, Christine Sinclair, Mario Lemieux, Brett and Owen Hart, Tessa Virtue, Kurt Browning, Milos Raonic, and James Naismith may sound familiar.

In literature, Margaret Atwood holds everyone captive with her dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and has reached a readership of epic proportions. Alice Munro has been graced with a Nobel Prize in Literature for her effortless revolution of the Short Story. Michael Ondaatje captivated his audience in print and film with ‘The English Patient’, Yann Martel, who achieved fame with his novel, ‘Life of Pi’, represent modern literary novelists. On the bookshelves of most libraries, you will find copies of Roberson Davies, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Miriam Toews, Jane Urguhart, Carol Shields, Louise Penny, Mordecai Richler, and Margaret Laurence. And for those paying attention, one day, it will be possible to add Monika R. Martyn.

What became very clear while researching these members of elite talent is that nothing came easy for them. If there is one common trait that these successful individuals share is that they are relentlessly dedicated and sacrifice the long hours it takes to succeed. Many stem from extremely humble origins, worked tirelessly, and faced rejection, but persevered—a valid lesson for us to remember.

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