A country as varied in beautiful landscapes and cultural exports as Canada is naturally going to produce talent across the entertainment industry. As our favourite actors and comedians from Canada carve a career in blockbuster hits, recognising this Canadian invasion on the big screen can be a challenge!
In the same month that both the USA and Canada have celebrated their independence, Canada Day on the 1st and America’s July the 4th, we take a look at the glittering celebrities known the world over.
Do you know your Hollywood stars from your Canadian screen sirens? Take our quiz and swot up ahead of your next holiday to Canada!
How did you do? Curious to know more about these celebs and their connection to Canada? Read on for a few more facts we didn’t share in the quiz.
1. William Shatner – Canadian
William Shatner is remembered warmly for his portrayal of the iconic James T. Kirk, the fictional American captain of the starship USS Enterprise in the Star Trek series. Back on Earth, however, Shatner is actually a Quebec native. Born in the French Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood in Montreal city, the actor-come-singer-come-director isn’t the only connection linking Canada to the popular Star Trek franchise. The town of Vulcan in Alberta has attracted a few ‘Trekkies’ or fans in its time, sharing the same name with the character Spock’s birthplace in the stars. In fact, Canada introduced a Star Trek postage stamp in Vulcan earlier this year.
Quebec City in Canada, where William Shatner grew up
2. Seth Rogan – Canadian
Making an appearance in nearly every hit comedy from the last decade, Seth Rogan’s screen moments in the likes of Pineapple Express and Knocked Up have earnt him a place as one of America’s favourite funny guys. In truth, Rogan is from Vancouver on the west coast and he often plays up his Canadian roots in comedy sketches. Despite the comedian affectionately mocking his home town in several jokes, Rogan actually won the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest at the tender age of 16!
3. Matthew Perry – American
Star of the famous Friends series, Matthew Perry is American through and through – well sort of…
He may have been born in the USA, but the Chandler Bing actor was raised in Ottawa where his mother worked as the press secretary to the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. While there, Perry excelled in tennis and had aspirations of playing for the country – until he moved back to the States in his early teens and met the competition that is! Today, Perry has found a career in entertainment but still boasts dual citizenship from his youth spent in the Canadian capital.
4. Anna Paquin – Canadian
Anna Paquin may have convinced us all otherwise with her authentic Southern accent playing Louisiana girl Sookie Stackhouse in the hit vampire show True Blood, but this talented actress is actually Canadian. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Paquin’s family waved goodbye to the historic city and home to Canada’s largest Folk Festival, moving to New Zealand when she was young. Later, her career took her round the world again to Tinseltown.
Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada – Anna Paquin’s place of birth
5. Tom Cruise – American
Ok, ok, so the blockbuster actor Tom Cruise is of course American, but did you know that the star of Top Gun and Mission Impossible spent his formative years in Canada? Cruise attended school in Canada’s capital city Ottawa in the 1970s and it’s said that this is where he first took to the stage and tried his hand at acting.
6. Kim Cattrall – American
So this is a bit of a trick question. While Kim Cattrall’s Samantha in the TV show Sex And The City might be every bit a part of New York City as the Empire State Building, the actress behind the independent, no-nonsense PR lady is equal parts Canadian, American and British. Cattrall was born in Liverpool – relocating as an infant to the city of Courtenay in the western province of British Columbia in Canada. As a graduate she later moved to NYC, where she has stayed. Cattrall acknowledges her combined citizenships, referring to herself as a “Liverpool-born, Canadian-bred New Yorker” on her Twitter profile. Cattrall’s latest acting gig sees her starring in the Toronto-based drama Sensitive Skin. Why not take a flight to Toronto and discover some of the filming locations the actress graced during the series?
Toronto in Ontario, where Kim Cattrall is filming her new Canadian series ‘Sensitive Skin’
7. Cobie Smulders – Canadian
Cobie Smulders is best known for her time in the hugely popular, award-winning sitcom How I Met Your Mother. While the show follows a group of young Americans as they navigate careers, friendships and, of course, love-lives in the Big Apple, Smulders herself is a born and bred Canadian from Vancouver in British Columbia. During the early days on set, Smulders struggled to break the habit of adding “ey?” when saying her lines, and producers actually decided to make her character Robin Scherbatsky Canadian too.
8. Michael J. Fox – Canadian
Everyone’s favourite Teen Wolf, Michael J. Fox became a young Hollywood icon in films like Back To The Future in the 1980s. Before he made it to the silver screen, however, Fox started out life in Canada’s own cowboy country – Edmonton, Alberta. The province is better known for its rodeo riders who compete at the annual Calgary Stampede, rather than hover boards however!
Edmonton in Alberta, Canada – home to Michael J. Fox
9. Dwayne Johnson – American
Better known as ‘The Rock’, wrestling superstar-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson is all-American but that’s not to say that he doesn’t have a bit of Canadian heritage in him. His father was born in Canada’s Maritimes in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada and his half-Canadian status isn’t the only thing that Johnson got from his dad, who also had a respectable wrestling career.
10. Ryan Reynolds – Canadian
Ryan Reynolds may have made his name playing some of America’s superheroes, but the star of Green Lantern and Deadpool is native to western Canada. Reynolds was born in Vancouver and clearly misses the food in his home city, having been caught trying to smuggle apple pies through the US/Canada border for his wife, actress Blake Lively, this year! Apparently the pies are a childhood favourite of his.
The Canadian city of Vancouver in British Columbia, where Ryan Reynolds spent his childhood
Image Credit: ReneS, Benson Kua (wikipedia.org)