When we see huge actors on the big screen, it’s easy to assume they are from the United States because that’s where most of the TV shows and movies are filmed. There are some pretty cool actors out there that were actually born in Canada. It’s not always easy to tell if an actor is American or Canadian unless they start throwing about an accent, which is a lot harder to pick up than say a British or Australian accent. You might be surprised to hear that your favorite actor is Canadian.
It’s not even just the acting industry either — singers like Drake or Justin Bieber are also from Canada and they are some of the biggest stars in the world. There are a few subtle and surprising actors that we dug up as well that just might take you by surprise as well. There are plenty of talented actors that have come from Canada and a few of them are named Ryan. Whether you are from Canada or not, you are sure to enjoy our list. Check out these 20 actors people forget are actually from Canada.
Seth Rogan is from Vancouver, British Columbia and we know him as a truly funny actor. He’s so funny, in fact, that at the age of 16, he won the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest. He gives us some idea of what makes him so Canadian.
“I still say some things Canadian – like pencil crayons. They say colored pencils [in the US] which is so weird. And parkade — in Vancouver we call parking garages parkades. I’m always telling [Lauren] to go to the doctor, that is something very Canadian about me. I don’t feel animosity toward the health system, whereas Americans hate the health system and are just like, ‘Why would I go to the doctor?’”
The Canada Walk of Fame that is. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, though her family did move around New Zealand quite a bit. Paquin says she doesn’t care whether she is working in Canada or the United States, she just goes where the work takes her.
"I don't really think about what kind of work I'm doing and where in such a conscious way, as far as, 'Oh, I want to go do TV in this country' or 'I want to do a movie here' or whatever," said Paquin.
She is most known for her role on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Cristina Yang. This star was born and raised in Ottawa. When she was 19, she attended the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal where she wanted to learn about acting.
"If you can be who you are, and be doing what you love, just being true to yourself, hopefully, people can see themselves in you,"
she said. "They can see themselves reflected, and see the possibility that is hopefully there for them."
It’s true that he was born a United States citizen, but he grew up in Canada, more specifically in Ottawa. His mother Suzanne Perry actually worked as the press secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He once told Jimmy Kimmel during an interview that he used to beat up the now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the elementary school that they both attended. “His dad was Prime Minister at the time, but that wasn't the reason we beat him up,” Perry said. “I think he was the only kid in school that we could beat up.”
This huge star was born in London, Ontario and she is one Canadian that made it to the big leagues. She still visits Canada a lot now though because her family is still there.
“I kind of do about half and half, or I’m probably in the States a little bit more now, but I make 10 or 12 trips to Canada [per year]. All my family’s there still, but my sister’s in Los Angeles so I started spending more time out there to be with her. I just kind of go where my family is.”
That’s right — that’s Meryl Streep tying his bowtie in this photo. Talk about living the dream life. Ryan Gosling actually grew up close to his former flame Rachel McAdams in Cornwall, Ontario. What are the chances of that and yet, they never met until they were involved in filming The Notebook together.
"I think it was very helpful to grow up in Canada, or in a small town,"
Gosling told CBC News in Los Angeles. "I think if you grow up here, it might be hard to remember that there's a world outside of it."
This one is a little surprising, isn’t it? We thought Tom Cruise was all American. When he was a kid, he was actually raised in Ottawa. He’s easily one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and yet, he has some Canadian roots. His family moved to Ottawa because his dad was involved with the Canadian military. Tom Cruise went to Robert Hopkins Public School and that was where he found his love for acting. It didn’t take him long, he got his first role at the age of 19 and now he’s a huge actor.
The Dawson’s Creek alum star Joshua Jackson has his roots in Vancouver as well. When he filmed the movie One Week, he had the opportunity to be back in Canada to film the cross-country road trek. “The journey kind of told its own story,” the actor asserts, calling from a hotel room in Toronto.
“I basically experienced the road trip as we were filming it. By and large, this film was shot in the order that it appears on-screen. That’s the only time I’ve done that, and, man, is that a luxury.
Makes the character arc much, much easier to keep in your head.”
Dan Aykroyd is definitely an iconic actor that a lot of us grew up on. Some of the classics that we remember are My Girl or Ghostbusters. He is also from Ottawa which seems to be a popular place for Canadian actors.
“Being Canadian really does mean always having to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ But I myself haven’t yet figured out why we do this.
Perhaps Canadians apologize all the time because we live in a country that has so much more going for it than almost any other place on the planet, and it makes us feel a little guilty.”
Evangeline wasn’t even trying to become an actress when she got the role on the popular TV show Lost. It was the role that made her famous and she wasn’t even looking for it. She was born in Vancouver and that was where she was living when the role of a lifetime came her way.
“The first year was very hard,”
Lilly says. Besides dealing with an identity crisis with her role, she says, “I was surrounded by breathtaking actors, and I felt very insecure about performing next to them. I thought I was going to fall flat on my face.”
He was the guy that sent our hearts soaring in Beverly Hills 90210. He is also from Vancouver, British Columbia. Being on the TV show Private Eye, he found himself back in Canada.
“I’m most excited about the way we continue to break the fourth wall for the audience. We did a whole race-car thing out at Mosport with James Hinchcliffe and an episode around Toronto Women’s Fashion Week with Jeanne Beker.
We [film] at iconic places or events and have iconic people show up, which adds a level of realism to the show.”
Ellen Page is most known for her role in Juno, but has been involved in projects such as Inception and Flatliners as well. She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She won the prestigious Canadian Gemini award in 1997 for her role in the TV movie Pit Pony. She said this about her role in Juno:
“I was just utterly blown away and [thinking], 'This is so phenomenal and unique and I have to play this girl,'”
she exclaimed. “That feeling of excitement, laughter, tears, I’m excited about celebrating this beautiful thing she wrote. It still moves a lot of people.”
The hunky actor that plays Deadpool is actually from Vancouver. Reynolds has said that he’s truly Canadian for this reason:
“You may be able to dig up a lot of sources who will deny this, but I’m polite. Generally, I care for other people. I always say ‘excuse me,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘I’m sorry.'”
He also doesn’t mind that Blake Lively kisses other guys in films. “I don't mind that as much. I don't mean that in a creepy way. What people don't realize is, there are 50 or 60 tired, hungry, overworked crew members standing directly behind them.”
Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada and Keanu Reeves loved it.
“I played a lot of hockey in Toronto Canada. I always thought it would be cool to play for the Canadian Olympic team.
When I was 15, I decided to become an actor. And so I started taking acting classes and doing community theater, and then I played John Proctor in a high school play called The Crucible, and from that moment I decided — they always ask you when you’re coming out of school or university what you want to be, and I knew then that I wanted to become an actor.”
Nina Dobrev was born in Bulgaria, but she was actually raised in Toronto. She got a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation before she became one of our favorite vampires in the CW series Vampire Diaries. The show might be done now, but Nina's working on quite a few projects at the moment, so keep your eyes peeled.
Before making the move to Los Angeles, California, Jim Carrey used to live in Newmarket, Ontario. He would often use Canada as material for his stand-up routines. "I grew up in Canada. Is there anybody here from Canada? You know, I used to get really upset when I told people where I came from down in Los Angeles because
I always got the same response: 'Canada? Wow. Must have been cold.' Now I just go along with them. 'Yes. Ca-na-da. It was a frozen, hostile wasteland.
And there was much work to be done if we were to survive the elements.'"
Cobie Smulders is most known for her role on How I Met Your Mother and she’s also from Vancouver. It was her mother that brought her to Canada. “She’s British. In her late teens, early 20s, she went traveling and found herself on a vessel. I think she was just crewing it. They were pulling up the anchor and a rusted cable poked a hole in the boat. When they were trying to pump it out, the pump caught fire, the boat sank, she was on a life raft,
the Americans swooped in, rescued her and the crew and brought them to Vancouver. And there she stayed. She said she stayed in love with the “clean, green beauty of the Canadian coast.”
If you've been to Vancouver, then you know what she means.
His parents are British, but he is originally from Scarborough, Ontario.
“Canadians value progressive ideals — we value cooperation more than we value exploitation, we value being in alignment with people as opposed to powering over them.
These are beautiful things. This is why when everybody meets me around the world — and everyone knows I'm Canadian — there's a sense that my default mechanism is alignment and not powering over. How can we do this together? How can we work together to make this fantastic?”
She plays a girl from Washington, D.C. on Criminal Minds, but A. J. Cook is actually from Oshawa. She's come a long way from her Canadian roots and one thing she is really thankful for is her fans.
“I have some amazing fans! They're just so dedicated and so nice and so sweet.
I'm, like, no one and I'm just starting out, and these people appreciate your work and it's nice to hear that.”
Shay Mitchell, among others, is proof that you can live far from Hollywood and still make it big in the industry. She is from Mississauga, Ontario and she got her big break in the popular TV series Pretty Little Liars. She used to get picked on during filming because she was Canadian.
“I’m the only Canadian in the main cast," Shay said. "So when we’re on set and I have to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ they all say, ‘Oh, you’re so Canadian.
You said sore-ree. It’s saw-ree.’ But they’re all so sweet about it.”