Many celebrities seemingly show up in Hollywood from out of nowhere, and it’s easy to assume that the majority are from small towns throughout the Midwest who come to Los Angeles to make it in the entertainment industry. While there certainly are many celebrities who grew up in unassuming American towns, there are also a shockingly huge amount of Canadians in Hollywood. You probably wouldn’t even know, unless you were a super fan or happened to catch a particular comment during an interview where they refer to their home and native land.
So, why are so many Canadian cuties going down south? Well, simply put, the opportunities. Most of the women on this list got their start in the Canadian entertainment industry, either on television shows or with smaller roles in movies. However, eventually, their desires outgrew the Canadian market and they tried their hand at success in the states. You’ll recognize every name on this list, thanks to their A-List status and string of successful television shows or movies. Though many make their home in sunny Los Angeles nowadays, they were raised in Canada – although many still love their home country and own property up north as well.
From maple syrup to Tim Hortons to great hockey players, Canada has given the world a lot, including these 10 drop dead gorgeous women. You’re welcome, America.
10 Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams is an Ontario girl, born and bred. She was born in London, Ontario, and spent a lot of her years in the buzzing metropolis of Toronto, graduating with a theatre degree from York University. At first, McAdams kept things Canadian, getting parts in films such as My Name is Tanino, and in the mini-series Slings and Arrows. However, she broke into Hollywood as the hot girl in comedy film The Hot Chick, and then, in 2004 she snagged the role of Regina George in Mean Girls and Allie in The Notebook. The rest, as they say, was history. McAdams is now a star welcome on any red carpet, but keeps true to her Canadian roots by staying humble and courteous despite her star power.
9 Laura Vandervoort
With her perfect features, blonde hair, and blue eyes, Laura Vandervoort seems completely at home in California. However, this bombshell was raised in a bit chillier weather, up in Toronto, Ontario. Vandervoort’s acting career started in her teenage years, taking small roles in Canadian children’s shows like Road to Avonlea, Goosebumps, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? She eventually snagged a bigger role on Instant Star, making her a household name in Canada. However, her big break came when she got the coveted role of Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) on the series Smallville. Since then, she’s made sci fi her specialty, starring in series like Bitten.
8 Evangeline Lilly
Lilly was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and raised in British Columbia, where she eventually went to college and put herself through school by working as a waitress, flight attendant, and more. In fact, Evangeline Lilly’s Canadian heritage almost cost her the biggest role of her career– the show Lost really wanted Lilly for the role of Kate Austen, but had trouble acquiring a work visa for the Canadian star that would allow her to film in Hawaii. Luckily, things got sorted out, and she went on to star on Lost for its entire run. The success of that show made her a household name, and she eventually moved to movies, getting roles in films like The Hurt Locker, Real Steel, and The Hobbit.
7 Malin Akerman
Akerman was originally born in Sweden, and though her family moved around a fair bit when she was younger, and her father eventually returned to Sweden, she spent most of her childhood in Ontario. She got her start modelling, and when she was at Toronto’s York University, a series of guest roles on television eventually convinced her to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career. While she started out in television, she’s best known for her many roles on the big screen, including in 27 Dresses, Watchmen, The Proposal, Couples Retreat and more.
6 Cobie Smulders
On popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother, there are countless jokes about Robin Scherbatsky’s Canadian heritage. However, did you know that Cobie Smulders, who plays Scherbatsky, is actually Canadian as well? While she makes her home in Los Angeles nowadays, Smulders was raised on a different west coast – Vancouver, British Columbia. She had a few small roles before scoring the long-running role of Robin in How I Met Your Mother. When the show wrapped, she wasn’t content to become a former television star – she went out and snagged the role of Maria Hill in the Marvel film franchise, a sweet gig that will bring her work for years to come.
5 Grace Park
Park may have been born in the United States, but she moved to Vancouver when she was still a baby and was raised in Canada. She has a degree in psychology from the University of British Columbia, and like many Canadian actresses, got her start on a popular Canadian show that American audiences have never heard of. One of her first big, recurring roles was as Shannon Ng on the Canadian teen soap Edgemont, which also starred future star Kristen Kreuk. She soon went on to snag roles on Battlestar Galactica and Hawaii Five-O, making her a recognizable name for audiences around the world.
4 Nina Dobrev
While born in Bulgaria, Nina Dobrev was raised in Toronto, Ontario, and got her big Canadian break on the series that also birthed stars like Drake and Shenae Grimes – Degrassi: The Next Generation. She played Mia Jones, a teenage mother turned model, for four seasons. During that time, Dobrev refined her craft at Scarborough’s Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, and went to Ryerson University for a few years. However, acting was her passion, and a year after leaving Ryerson to pursue her acting career (while maintaining her regular role on Degrassi), Dobrev managed to snag the female lead in a new supernatural drama series entitled The Vampire Diaries. Since playing Elena Gilbert, she has catapulted to superstardom.
3 Shay Mitchell
Even if you’re not a fan of teen hit Pretty Little Liars, chances are you’ve heard of Shay Mitchell at some point over the past few years – she’s a rising star, and was born in Mississauga, Ontario. Mitchell’s family moved to Vancouver when she was 10, and she quickly got involved in the modelling world. Eventually, she decided she wanted to try her hand at acting as well, and scored a few small roles before snagging her current role on Pretty Little Liars. Mitchell’s leading role on the popular show means she hasn’t had much time for other roles, but audiences around the world are eagerly awaiting her next career moves.
2 Tricia Helfer
Many Canadian stars were born or raised in big cities such as Toronto or Vancouver, but Tricia Helfer proves that you don’t need to leave your small hometown to become a star. She was born in a rural Alberta town, Donalda, and went to high school in the nearby (still very small) Stettler. Her early years were spent helping work her family’s grain farm, but her beauty eventually led to her being discovered by a modeling scout while at a local movie theatre. Helfer started in the modelling world, walking the runways and gracing the covers of magazines, but eventually turned her focus to acting. Her most memorable role is as Number Six on Battlestar Galactica, but Helfer has had smaller roles in several films and television series, as well as voicing characters for video games.
1 Elisha Cuthbert
Calgary-born Elisha Cuthbert got her start in Canadian television as a teenager, hosting the children’s series Popular Mechanics for Kids. She moved around as a child, from Toronto to Greenfield Park, Quebec, and eventually moved to Los Angeles at only 17. It proved to be a smart choice – about a year after taking the risk, she got the role of Kim Bauer on 24, and quickly rose to stardom. Cuthbert has since starred in comedy series Happy Endings, as well as in several movies. However, one only had to take a look at her husband to see her Canadian roots – she’s married to hockey player Dion Phaneuf, proving that you can take the girl out of Canada, but you can’t take the hockey-loving Canadian out of the girl.