Canada 150

Today we celebrate Canada’s birthday, and it’s a big one this year: 150. So here’s a list of 150 things I love about Canadian film:

Canadians make you laugh:

1.Norm MacDonald: Born in Quebec City, Norm got his start writing (The Dennis Miller Show, and then Roseanne) but of course moved on to SNL where he formed friendships which still result in movie roles today: The Ridiculous 6, Funny People, and Dirty Work. You can catch him right now in Girl Boss and The Middle, plus he’s got a new stand-up special on Netflix.

2. Eugene Levy: Born in Hamilton, Ontario, burst onto the scene in SCTV, and those improv skills would pay off years (decades) later when he teamed up with Christopher Guest for a series of mockumentaries including Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. Regular movie goers will likely recognize him as Jim’s Dad in American Pie. Right now 914acc14f981294edbad7bb009a9d2a3he’s got a hilarious new show with his real-life son called Schitt’s Creek.

3. Catherine O’Hara: Born in Toronto, she co-stars frequently with Eugene Levy, including the Christopher Guest movies, and the delightful Schitt’s Creek. She’s also popularly known as Kevin’s Mom from Home Alone, and Delia Deetz from Beetlejuice.

4. Phil Hartman: Born in Brantford, Ontario, Phil died too soon from tragic circumstances, but not before leaving us with a real legacy of his delicious work, including long stints on SNL, The Simpsons, and Newsradio, as well as memorable movie roles in Sgt. Bilko, Jingle All The Way, and Houseguest.

5. Rick Moranis: Also born in Toronto, Rick was of course on SCTV where he first became half of that nitwit Canadian duo, Bob and Doug McKenzie (see Strange Brew for a crash course). He appeared in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Parenthood, and Little Shop of Horrors. He played Barney Rubble in The Flintstones and had a career-defining role in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (and its various shitty sequels).

6. John Candy: Born in Toronto and naturally a cast member on SCTV, he left a major impression on comedies of the 80s and 90s, including Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Cool Runnings, and Canadian Bacon.

7. Jim Carrey: Born in Newmarket, Ontario, Carrey churned out dozens of horrid comedies, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, The Cable Guy and Liar, Liar. He’s also taken some turns for the more serious, in films like The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Man on the Moon.

8. Martin Short: Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he inevitably landed on SCTV as all good Canadians must (it was our version of SNL) and went on to such silliness as Three Amigos, Father of the Bride, and Mars Attacks! He’s also done voice work in The Prince of Egypt, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Treasure Planet, and Frankenweenie – and that’s beside his most famous role as official spokesperson in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot.

9. Mike Myers: Proudly born in Scarborough, Ontario, Myers achieved fame on SNL and watched it snowball with hits like Wayne’s World, So I Married an Ax Murderer, Austin Powers, and Shrek.

10. Michael Cera: Born in Brampton, Ontario, Cera was cast as an awkward, gawky teen on Arrested Development and has basically played that role ever since: Superbad, Juno, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Lemon, Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus.

Canadians make you soon:

11. Ryan Gosling: Born in London, Ontario (and shout-out to my hometown, Cornwall, where he briefly lived with his father), Gosling was the first person born in the 1980s to be nominated for Best Actor (Half Nelson – 2006). Over here, we knew him first as a gangly, geeky kid on Breaker High, and a dweeby one on the Micky Mouse Club, but by the time The Notebook hit theatres, he was a certified heart throb. Luckily, he’s got acting chops to back it up, and has seen success with the likes of Lars and the Real Girl, Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines, The Big Short, and La La Land, which landed him another Oscar nod.

1f026ba441f53793f9835bfddc6484a3--deadpool-movie--film-12. Ryan Reynolds: Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Reynolds used a weird sitcom called Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place to launch a varied career that has included the highs and lows of Van Wilder, Definitely Maybe, Adventureland, Green Lantern, RIPD, Woman In Gold, and finally, Deadpool, where he seems to have hit his stride.

13. Rachel McAdams: Born in London, Ontario, her big break was probably getting cast as the proverbial mean girl in Mean Girls. Though born in the very same hospital as Ryan Gosling, the two didn’t meet until cast together in The Notebook. They hated each other, of course, and had horrible fights on set. After the movie wrapped, they somehow had a four year relationship, during which she did Wedding Crashers and The Time Traveler’s Wife. She also went on to do Midnight in Paris, Aloha, Southpaw, and Spotlight.

14. Joshua Jackson: Born in Vancouver, B.C., he realized every little Canadian boy’s dream by starring in the ultimate hockey movie, Might Ducks long before he became Dawson’s Creek’s resident heart throb, Pacey. He spun that into a movie career that included roles in Urban Legend, Cruel Intentions, and The Skulls.

15. Dwayne Johnson: You got me; The Rock isn’t Canadian but he does have Canadian citizenship, and that’s because his daddy was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia. And before he was a wrestler, Dwayne played in the Canadian Football League, for the Calgary Stampeders.

16. Pamela Anderson: Born in Ladysmith, B.C., Pamela shares a birthday with Canada: she was born on its centennial, which makes Pamela 50 years old today. We were all reminded of her origin story earlier this summer with her cameo on Baywatch, but her movie career has also included such smash hits as Barb Wire, Pauly Shore Is Dead, and Scary Movie 3.

17. Charlotte Le Bon: Born in Montreal, Quebec, Charlotte Le Bon sizzles in pretty much everything she’s in. Don’t take my word for it, check her out in The Walk, The Promise, Anthropoid, The Hundred Foot Journey, or In The Shadow of Iris.

Canada makes you think:

18. The Corporation: This documentary explores the weird concept of a corporation that we have, with special attention to the American legal definition of a corporation as a person.

19. Pink Ribbons Inc: This documentary explores the big business of breast cancer, where and how the fund-raised money is spent (hint: you’re not going to like it). Really eye-opening, changed the way I donate.

20. Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father: A film maker makes a film for the unborn son of his murdered friend, a gift to a fatherless baby. Really moving.

21. Angry Inuk: An in-depth look at seal hunting in the Inuit community. Really makes you see the other side of the issue.51IXTpRbFmL

22. Grass: The history of the American government’s war on marijuana in the 20th century. Woody Harrelson narrates.

23. Secret Path: A haunting look at the legacy of residential schools on Indigenous populations, through the eyes of one particular child who perished.

24. Ninth Floor: About the 1969 student protest against Sir George Williams University’s administration’s mishandling of racist accusations towards a professor.

25. Stories We Tell: A documentary that uncovers layers and layers of family lore to see if truth can be uncovered – or if there is any such thing as one family truth.

Canadians kick butt:

26. Evangeline Lilly: Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, I’ll always think of her as the phone sex girl, but most outside of Canada got to know her as a tough survivor on Lost. She’s had film roles in The Hurt Locker, Real Steel, and The Hobbit, but she’s also dipped her toes into the Marvel Universe as The Wasp. You’ve already seen her in Ant-Man; stay tuned for more kick-butt action in Ant-Man and The Wasp, and of course an upcoming Avengers movie.

27. Keanu Reeves: He wasn’t born here – in fact, he was born in Beirut. But he landed in and grew up in Toronto, where he became a naturalized citizen. He played hockey of course, where he earned the nickname The Wall as a goalie, but his dreams of playing for Canada were dashed with an injury. In his first studio movie, Youngblood, he played a Canadian goalie, and with his dreams relit, he packed his bags for Hollywood, where I believe you know the rest, culminating in kick-ass roles in the likes of The Matrix and more recently, John Wick.

28. Hayden Christensen: Born in Vancouver but raised in Markham, Ontario, a city in which I lived right around the time that he was filming those Star Wars prequels. He got to play Anakin Skywalker, humanizing and some might say emo-ifying the most badass villain of all time, Darth Vader.

29. Cobie Smulders: Born in Vancouver, Smulders became known on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother but for some reason has parlayed that into a kick-butt movie career where she’s played Wonder Woman (in The Lego Movie), agent Maria Hill in various Avengers movies, and Jack Reacher‘s sidekick in the most recent iteration.

30. Nathan Fillion: Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Nathan Fillion appeared on that infamous giphy.gifTwo Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place with fellow Canuck Ryan Reynolds back in the day, and that’s not the only thing they have in common. Fillion must have a super hero kind of voice, because before voicing a car in Cars 3, he did Steve Trevor in an animated Wonder Woman film, Green Lantern in several animated Justice League films, and even a “Monstrous Inmate” in Guardians of the Galaxy. Sadly, he was cut out of Guardians 2, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they found something for him in #3…maybe as Captain Hammer, from Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog?

31. Anna Paquin: Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she won her first Oscar at the age of 11, the second youngest ever to do so, a Best Supporting win for The Piano. She’s been kicking ass uphill ever since and the only question is which role was more badass: Sukie in True Blood, or Rogue in X-Men?

32. Carrie-Anne Moss: Born in Vancouver B.C, Moss hit it big alongside Keanu in The Matrix. She followed up the trilogy with roles in Memento, Chocolat, and Disturbia.

33. Victor Garber: Born in London, Ontario, Garber has had a long career with kick butt roles in Alias, Argo, and Sicario. His various movie credits include Legally Blonde, Sleepless in Seattle, Milk, and Self\less.

34. Will Arnett: Born in Toronto, Arnett starred in Arrested Development, and again with Michael Cera in The Lego Batman Movie, in which he played Batman and Cera played – Robin? He’s had semi-heroic roles in Jonah Hex, Despicable Me, Men in Black 3, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you prefer him downtrodden, try him on Netflix in either Bojack Horseman, or Flaked.

Canadians are multi-talented:

35. Jay Baruchel: Born right here in Ottawa, and raised just a little down the highway in Montreal, Jay Baruchel made a name for himself in movies like Almost Famous and Million Dollar Baby. He’s also been an Apatow mainstay, appearing in comedies like This Is The End and Knocked Up. He really hit pay dirt with blockbuster franchise How To Train Your Dragon, in which he voices the lead character, Hiccup. He’s also got screen writing credits on hockey movie Goon, and a directing credit on its sequel.

36. Paul Haggis: Born in London, Ontario, Haggis because the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscar winners back to back: Million Dollar Baby, and Crash, which he also directed (it won Best Original Screenplay as well). Other writing credits include Flags of Our Fathers, Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, Letters From Iwo Jima, and In the Valley of Elah, which he also directed.

37. William Shatner: Born in Montreal, Quebec, is of course known first and foremost as the original Captain Kirk on Star Trek. You may or may not remember him alongside Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball, or opposite Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2. He’s also done voicework on animated films such as The Wild, and Over The Hedge. He also wrote and directed The Captains, a documentary about all the actors who have played Star Trek captains.

38. Nia Vardalos: Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Nia weirdly also has a one-episode credit from Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place, but she got her big break when Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks attended her one-woman show. Having Greek heritage in common with her, Wilson was immediately charmed, and helped turn that show into My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which would become a sleeper hit. Vardalos also wrote Connie and Carla, Larry Crowne, and of course the Greek Wedding sequel, and she tried her hand as director on I Hate Valentine’s Day.

39. Sarah Polley: Born in Toronto, she was known to us Canadian folk when she was just a little girl starring on Ramona, and Avonlea (I also so her on the stage in Stratford, in a production of Alice Through The Looking Glass). Her film career has had some strong roles, in The Sweet Hereafter, Go, My Life Without Me, and Dawn of the Dead. She’s also gone writer-director with Away From Her, Take This Waltz, and Stories We Tell.

40. Dan Akroyd: Born right here in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa (fun fact: his father was a policy adviser to then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of current Prime Minister Justin), Danny boy also shares a birthday with our country; he turns 65 today. Aside from SNL, we know and love him from Trading Places,  The Great Outdoors, Driving Miss Daisy, My Girl, My Fellow Americans, Grosse Pointe Blank, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, Tammy, and Pixels – not to mention the terrific characters he’s written: The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, and Coneheads.

41. Seth Rogen: Born in Vancouver, Rogen has directing credits include This Is The End and The Interview, writing credits including Pineapple Express, Sausage Party, and The Green Hornet, plus, you know, the acting thing: The Disaster Artist, The Night Before, Steve Jobs, The Guilt Trip, 50\50, The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Canadians have vision:

42. David Cronenberg: Born in Toronto, Cronenberg is know as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood – and he’s proud of it. He’s the director responsible for the likes of The Fly, Crash, eXistenZ, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Maps to the Stars, and more.

43. James Cameron: Born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Cameron made Titanic, the first Best Picture Academy Award winner to be produced, directed, written, and edited by the same person. He also wrote The Terminator, Aliens, and True Lies, and directed The Abyss, Terminator 2, and is in the middle of doing 5 Avatar films all at once.

44. Norman Jewison: Born in Toronto, Jewison is the visionary director behind The Cincinnati Kid, In the Heat of the Night, The Thomas Crown Affair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler On The Roof, Moonstruck, and The Hurricane.

45. Denys Arcand: Born in Deschambault, Québec, Arcand is the talented director behind Jesus of Montreal, Days of Darkness, and The Barbarian Invasions, which won best screenplay at Cannes, best Canadian feature film at TIFF and the Best Foreign Film Oscar. In 2005 Arcand was named Companion of the Order of Canada, which recognizes individuals for exceptional achievements of national or international significance.

46. Patricia Rozema: Born in Kingston, Ontario, Rozema directed the apocalyptic Into the Forest and Mansfield Park, which she also wrote. She also adapted Grey Gardens along with Michael Sucsy, which Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange made famous.

47. Atom Egoyan: Born in Egypt but raised in Victoria BC from the age of 2, Atom became part of the Toronto New Wave style of film making. His career breakthrough came with Exotica, and critical acclaim followed with The Sweet Hereafter, which garnered him two Oscar nominations, and finally, commerical success with Chloe, Ararat, and The Captive (which stars Ryan Reynolds). Egoyan received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Canada’s highest royal honour in the performing arts, in 2015

48. Ivan Reitman: Born in Czechoslovakia, his family came to Canada as immigrants when he was 4, and they settled in Toronto. His directing credits include Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Dave, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, and Six Days Seven Nights. He is currently working on a Twins sequel called Triplets.

49. Jason Reitman: Ivan’s son Jason was born in Montreal and followed in his father’s footsteps, career-wise, directing Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up In the Air, and Men, Women & Children.

50. Philippe Falardeau: Born across the river from here in Hull, Quebec, Falardeau is the director of Monsieur Lahzar, The Good Lie, and Chuck (aka, The Bleeder).

51. Deepa Mehta: Born in Amritsar, Punjab, raised in New Delhi, Mehta immigrated to Canada in 1973. She made a remarkable trio of films (the “elements trilogy”): Earth, Wind, and Fire, and get this: Earth was sent by India to the Academy Awards as its official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, and Water was sent by Canada for the same – where it secured a nomination. Other notable films include Heaven on Earth, Midnight’s Children, Beeba Boys, and Anatomy of Violence.

52. Denis Villeneuve: Born in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Villeneuve made strong Canadian films like Incendies and Polytechnique and then made the leap to Hollywood, directing Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Arrival. He’s currently working on Blade Runner 2049.

53. Jean-Marc Vallée: Born in Montreal,  Vallée also made a film little-known outside of Canada called C.R.A.Z.Y before making it big with films like Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, and Demolition.

54. Xavier Dolan: Also born in Montreal, Dolan has been a hidden gem here for some time, but that’s about to change. He’s already got some great movies under his belt Laurence Anyways, Mommy, and It’s Only The End of the World. He caught the eye of Adele, who had him direct her infamous video for Hello, and now he’s making his first English-language film, called The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, starring Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Canada’s own Jacob Tremblay.

Canada is beautiful:

elbow-falls-sunrise-c2a9-2012-christopher-martin-556855. Brokeback Mountain: the film, like the story, is set in Wyoming, but it’s beautiful Canada you’re seeing on screen, almost entirely the Rocky Mountains of southern Alberta. Particular locations include Upper Kananaskis Lake, Mount Lougheed, The Fortress, Moose Mountain, Elbow Falls, and Canyon Creek.

56. Capote: set in Kansas but actually filmed around Winnipeg, Manitoba, because nobody does rural quite like Canadians. Aside from the plains, locations include Stony Mountain Institution (a prison), and the Manitoba Legislative Building.

57. Titanic: okay, the movie was mostly shot in a huge water tank in Mexico, but James Cameron did bring cast and crew to Halifax, Nova Scotia to shoot some harrowing ocean scenes aboard the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. And you’re going to hate this, but that controversial piece of wood that Rose floats on after the ship sinks is based on a real life artifact that’s on display in a museum in Halifax.

58. One Week: in this movie, Joshua Jackson hops on a motorcycle and does a road trip through Canada, coast to coast, or just about. From Toronto he rides west, through the Prairies and the Rockies to Vancouver Island. He makes various stops at cheesy “big things”, like Sudbury’s giant nickel, Drumheller’s dinosaur and Wawa’s Canada Goose.

59. The Incredible Hulk: our largest city, Toronto, is a frequent stand-in for New York City but what locked it down for the Hulk was the mayor’s fanboy promise to shut down Yonge Street, a major thoroughfare, for four whole nights of intensive filming – you know, explosions and burning cars. Sean and I both lived there at the time but I don’t have any Hulk sightings to tell you about.

60. The Virgin Suicides: Sofia Coppola’s film about a group of male friends who become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid-1970s was filmed in, you guessed it, Toronto!

61. Interstellar: Christopher Nolan’s film was partially filmed in Alberta –  in Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, and Okotoks to be exact, where the dust bowl scenes were filmed and the corn fields were planted. Figures: no place better than The Prairies for that!

62. The Revenant: When Alejandro G. Iñárritu needs rural, snowy forests and mountains, he knows just where to go: northern Canada! Filmed in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada looked beautiful, if not altogether inviting, in my opinion much nicer than the real places they were playing, ie, Montana and South Dakota.

Canada on purpose:

63. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The graphic novel is set in Toronto and so too is the film,tumblr_lqo9zoYN2I1qb3f0ao1_500 thanks to director Edgar Wright who made it happen. The film is peppered with recognizable Toronto landmarks – for once we see our city in a film and we can claim it properly.

64. The Shipping News: For some time this was the most depressing movie on the planet. A grieving Kevin Spacey movies to Newfoundland where he meets a widowed Julianne Moore  and lives in a derelict home. The Maritimes looks just as bleak as you’d expect.

65. What If: Can a man and woman really be just friends? Written by Canadian screenwriter Elan Mastai, it’s set amid the romantic backdrop of Toronto but instead of popular attractions, Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan’s ultra-hip characters meet and fall in love in lesser-known locations like the George Street Diner, Rooster Coffee House, Riverdale Park and the Royal Cinema.

66. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler and starring Richard Dreyfuss, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz follows the titular character as he tries to scheme his way out the poor Jewish community of 1950s Montréal. Saint Urban Street plays a prominent role in the film, as does Wilensky’s, a popular lunch counter first opened in 1932 that you can still visit today. Highly recommended is the Wilensky Special: a sandwich of all-beef salami and bologna, Swiss cheese and mustard pressed between two slices of yellow bread.

67. Take This Waltz: On a plane ride back to Toronto, Margot (Michelle Williams) meets and crushes on Daniel (Luke Kirby). Sharing a cab home, they discover they are neighbours, because Margot is an otherwise happily married woman (to Seth Rogen). Actually filmed right in Toronto.

68. Everything’s Gone Green: Ryan (played by Canadian Paulo Costanzo) is a slacker tempted by a money laundering scheme while writing for a lottery magazine. Filmed AND set in Vancouver, the movie (written by Canada’s Douglas Coupland) pokes fun at how often Vancouver is dressed as Los Angeles – with one potted palm tree that makes the rounds of all the film productions in town.

69. Enemy: about a college professor in Toronto (Jake Gyllenhaal) who’s stuck in a rut until he randomly watches a rental video and spots an actor who looks just like him. He looks him up and becomes obsessed with his lookalike. Actually filmed in and around Toronto, a brilliant film by our own Denis Villeneuve.

Canadian Idol:

70. Chantal Kreviazuk: This Winnipeg-born songstress has 45 soundtrack credits under her belt, but none as famous as her cover of Leaving on a Jet Plane for Armageddon. (Her husband Raine Maida’s band Our Lady Peace also appears on the soundtrack.)

71. Alanis Morissette: Ottawa-born Alanis played God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, but she’s got 98 soundtrack credits listed on IMDB, including The Internship, The Devil Wears Prada, and City of Angels where she’s got a particularly haunting one called Uninvited (fellow Canadian had the smash hit from the same movie).

72. Celine Dion: She made a cameo in Muppets Most Wanted as the Piggy Fairy Godmother, but Charlemagne, Quebec born Dio has a whopping 110 soundtrack credits, including that monster hit for Titanic (which she didn’t much care for – she only sang it once, the song we heard a million times on the radio was the demo). Of course you can’t discount her epic song for Beauty and the Beast, and Sleepless in Seattle, and Up Close & Personal.

73. Neil Young: 142 soundtrack credits for this formidable folk singer born in Toronto. You’ve heard his music in the likes of Jerry Maguire, Philadelphia, Almost Famous, and The Big Short.

74. Bryan Adams: Hailing from Kingston, Ontario, Adams surprisingly tops Dion with 165 soundtrack credits, including huge ballads for Don Juan DeMarco, The Three Musketeers, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

75. Leonard Cohen: This Legend born in Montreal has 261 soundtrack credits to his name. Among the many movies his songs have appeared in: Natural Born Killers, Shrek, Watchmen, and Sing.

76. Christophe Beck: This Montreal-born composer proves Canadians are more than just a hit single on the soundtrack. This busy guy has worked on 140 movies, including The Hangover, Ant-Man, Frozen, Trolls, Pitch Perfect, Cake, and Edge of Tomorrow.

77. Howard Shore: Born in Toronto, Shore is a musical genius who has composing credits like Denial, Spotlight, The Hobbit, The Departed, The Lord of The Rings, and Aviator. He’s also served as orchestral conductor on Hugo, Doubt, High Fidelity, and Dogma.

78. Jeff Danna: Born in Burlington, Ontario, Danna’s varied composer credits range from Silent Hill, Fracture, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Good Dinosaur, and Storks.

79. Mychael Danna: Brother to Jeff (above), Winnipeg-born Mychael is an Oscar-winning composer (for Life of Pi), whose credits include Moneyball, 500 Days of Summer, and Little Miss Sunshine.

80. Michael Brook: This Toronto-born composer has such credits as The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Heat, Into the Wild, and The Fighter.

81. Owen Pallett: You may know him as a member of Arcade Fire, but Mississauga-born Pallett has composing credits for The Box, The Wait, Life, and an Oscar nomination for Her.

82. Paul Schaffer: You may know him as David Letterman’s band leader\right hand man, but Thunder Bay-born Schaffer has a whole bunch of soundtrack credits, and it’s all because of one little song: he co-wrote It’s Raining Men, and that song has legs! It’s appeared in The LEGO Batman movie, Magic Mike, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Eraser, and more.

83. David Foster, of Victoria, BC, has not one but two best original song nominations to his name, for Karate Kid Part II (Glory of Love) and The Bodyguard (I Have Nothing). Other sound track listings include Ghostbusters, Deadpool, and A Hologram for the King.

Canadians shine bright:

84. Michael J Fox: This Edmonton-born actor just received the Governor General’s Award for the performing arts – he got up on stage and performed Light of Day with Joan Jett. He also had an iconic role in Back To The Future, not forgetting Teen Wolf, The Secret of my Succe$s, For Love or Money, and Mars Attacks!

85. Mary Pickford: This Toronto-born actress was the first Canadian to be nominated (then win) an Oscar – Best Actress 1928 for Coquette. She worked in and conquered Hollywood from 1909-1933, with some 250 credits to her name, including The Poor Little Rich Girl, Little Annie Rooney, and Daddy-Long-Legs.

86. Christopher Plummer: Hailing from the city of Toronto, Plummer has two Oscar nominations to his name: best supporting actor for The Last Station, and Beginners (the latter of which he won). He also appeared in The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Pixar’s Up.

87. Jacob Tremblay: This 10 year old from Vancouver won hearts in Room and has3rd Annual "An Evening With Canada's Stars" followed it up with roles in Shut In, Burn Your Maps, and Before I Wake.

88. Walter Huston: Toronto-born Huston received an Academy nomination in 1936 for Dodsworth and again in 1941 for The Devil and Daniel Webster. He also had memorable roles in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and And Then There Were None.

89. Ellen Page: From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Page secured an Oscar nomination with her breakout role in Juno. She’s also appeared in Inception, Tallulah, Freeheld and Into the Forest – the last two she also produced.

90. Norma Shearer: Born in Montreal, Shearer won an Oscar for best actress in 1929 for The Divorcee, and was nominated additionally for Their Own Desire, A Free Soul, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Romeo and Juliet, and Marie Antoinette.

91. Donald Sutherland: Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Sutherland has credits spanning 6 decades (and counting), from The Dirty Dozen to Backdraft, JFK, The Italian Job, and The Hunger Games.

92. Graham Greene: Born on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Greene was the second First Nations actor to secure an Oscar nod for best supporting actor, Dances With Wolves, 1990 (Chief Dan George was first). You may have also seen him in Die Hard, The Green Mile, and the Twilight saga.

93. Marie Dressler: Born in Cobourg, Ontario, Dressler won her first Oscar in 1930 for Min And Bill, and was nominated again the following year for Emma.Memorable roles include Anna Christie, Dinner At Eight, and Tillie’s Punctured Romance.

Did you know?

94. Roger Avary, from Flin Flon, Manitoba shared a best original screenplay Oscar with Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.

95. Neill Blonkamp, though South African born, moved to Vancouver B.C. at age 18 where he attended film school. Now a citizen of Canada, he and his Canadian wife Terri Tatchell received an Oscar nomination for writing District 9 together.

96. Emma Donoghue, the author and screenwriter behind Room, is Irish-born but a Canadian citizen. She received an Oscar nomination for her work.

97. Michèle Burke, also born in Ireland but a naturalized Canadian. She has 6 Oscar nominations and 2 wins for her work in makeup and hairstyling: Quest for Fire, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Cyrano de Bergerac, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and The Cell.

98. Jack L. Warner, born in London, Ontario, was a 6-time Oscar-nominated producer, of best picture nominees Disraeli, Flirtation Walk, All This, and Heaven Too, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Auntie Mame, and My Fair Lady, which won. He also executive-produced Casablanca.

99. Ralph E. Winters, Toronto born, was an Oscar-nominated editor. He received Academy nominations for Quo Vadis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Great Race, and Kotch, plus two wins, for Ben-Hur, and King Solomon’s Mines.

100. Graham Annable, born in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, is an animator who’s worked on BoxtrollsSetVisitStacchiAnnableCoraline, Paranorman, Kubo and the Two Strings, Despicable Me 3, and received an Oscar nomination as director of Boxtrolls.

101. Dean Deblois, born in Brockville, Ontario bur raised within spitting distance of here in Aylmer, Quebec, is an animator and director. He’s worked on Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and was Oscar-nominated as director of How to Train Your Dragon, and its sequel.

Favourite Canadian Film Festival

102. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world. Founded in 1976, it has screened major award contenders such as Room, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, La La Land, and The King’s Speech.

Canadians are such characters:

103. Argo: Americans call it Argo, but historically, we have referred to this as the “Canadian caper” – the movie was criticized here for minimizing the role of the Canadian embassy in the rescue but that’s the Hollywood machine for you.

104. Logan: Wolverine himself is of course Canadian, born in Cold Lake, Alberta. Deadpool is also Canadian – the comics always said origin unknown but the movie professed his birthplace to be Regina, Saskatchewan – the city that rhymes with fun!

105. The Whole Nine Yards: Rosanna Arquette repeatedly butchers the French-Canadian accent, which must have been particularly painful to costar Matthew Perry, who is actually Canadian.

106. Zootopia: Peter Moosebridge, the news anchor in Zootopia (seen only in Canada, PeterMoosebridge-ZootopiaFrance, and USA versions) is a salute to our own venerated Peter Mansbridge.

107. The Love Guru: It isn’t Mike Myers playing the Canadian in this film but rather Justin Timberlake, who s3_timberlake_le_coqplayed a French Canadian goalie who sang lots of Celine songs and offered people a “Quebec pizza” (a poptart with ketchup).


108. The Proposal: Sandra Bullock plays a NYC book editor who turns out to actually be Canadian, and is facing deportation, having overstayed her visa. So she has to go home and convince her American assistant (played by Canadian Ryan Reynolds, haha) to marry her.

109. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: In which Canadian movie stars Terrence & Philip teach kids to swear and their parents blame Canada – with a snappy song!

110. The 39 Steps: Shame on Alfred Hitchcock; he changed his protagonist from British to Canadian only to cast a Brit, who wasn’t very convincing.

111. The 49th Parallel: Speaking of unconvincing, how about Laurence Olivier’s Québécois accent? Possibly the worst of his career.

112. Secretariat: Although. John Malkovich as a French Canadian? Also pretty laughable.

113. Yoga Hosers: This is the second in Kevin Smith’s Canadian trilogy and a real stinker, the Canadian characters complete caricatures – and not a real Canadian among the cast.

114. Sicko: Michael Moore tackles health care in this documentary, and he makes an obligatory trip across the border into Canada, where we value our socialized medicine and revere the man who gave it to us.


Canadian Gems:

115. Fubar

116. Fubar 2

117. Mommy

118. Polytechnique

119. The Sweet Hereafter

120. Bon Cop Bad Cop

121. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2

122. La guerre des tuques

123. Laurence Anyways

124. My American Cousin

125. Closet Monster

126. Remember

127. War Witch

128. Miraculum

129. The Man who Skied Down Everest

130. Away From Her

131. The Trostsky

132. Hello Destroyer

133. Videodrome

134. Naked Lunch

135. Goon

136.  It’s Only The End of the World

137. Window Horses

138. Jesus de Montreal

139. My Winnipeg

140. Let’s Rap

141. Strange Brew

142. Mon oncle Antoine

143. Crash

144. The Red Violin

145. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

146. Owning Mahowny

147. It’s All Gone Pete Tong

148. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey

149. Chloe

150. I Killed My Mother






38 thoughts on “Canada 150

  1. ninvoid99

    Happy Canada Day. BTW, no love for your Canadian pro wrestlers such as Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Trish Stratus, Pat Patterson (first WWE Intercontinental Champion), Lance Storm, Kevin Steen, Sami Zayn, Rocky Johnson (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s father), Kyle O’Reilly, and Kenny Omega? Those people are important. Though it’s best to make no suggestions towards the current WWE world champion who is a Punjab-Canadian but is regarded by wrestling fans as a bum since he only got the title because he’s Punjab and makes Meekmahan cum in his pants over his acne-ridden, steroid-drenched body and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named as the latter is known for a murder-suicide a decade ago.


    1. Jay Post author

      This list was simply film-related so the only one who got consideration was Bret Hart, since there’s an excellent documentary about him (and the Rock’s dad did get a shout out!)


      1. ninvoid99

        OK, Wrestling with Shadows is a good documentary though it doesn’t tell the whole story about the Montreal Screwjob. Thankfully, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels did reveal a lot more in recent years as it was something many in the WWE regretted doing. Shawn in particular, even though and Hart weren’t on good terms then, as he knew he was going to get a lot of shit for his role. It’s just a really complicated thing involving business during a tumultuous time in the Monday Night Wars. At least Hart is still beloved by the fans while giving no fucks about his own disdain towards the fucking product right now.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay Post author

      There are talented people everywhere. Being such a tiny population, we really have to celebrate ours – and also remind people they aren’t American!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris Scott

    Happy Canada Day! Canada is great and if I could get a transfer to my Toronto office, I would do so in a second.


  3. Carrie Rubin

    Wow, what an impressive post! Must have taken you a lot of time to put together. Lots of great people from Canada for sure. Martin Short has long been one of my favorite comedians. He could blink and I’d laugh.


  4. The Chaos Realm

    It’s on my list of places to eventually relocate to–maybe Nova Scotia? (I wish this blog entry came with complimentary, magical citizenship. *sigh*)


    1. Jay Post author

      Well, Matt’s single, perhaps we could raffle off a green card marriage?
      Actually, a local radio station just ran a similar contest where they were paying immigration lawyers and relocation fees for canadian\american couples to get here – “love trumps all” or something like that. A bit politically pointed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Chaos Realm

        That’s awesome…the “Love Trumps All”. Green card marriage…you know, you could probably make a ton of money! 🙂 *laugh*


  5. J.

    Zoiks! This is incredible… though I almost spat coffee all over the place when I read #72.

    William Shatner and Michael J. Fox would likely qualify as my favourite filmy Canadalandians.


  6. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy

    And I still can’t tell Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling apart. It probably has something to do with my love of Bryan Adams (I sort of wish I was joking about my love for Bryan Adams, but one of the first CDs I ever got was one of his, and I’ve always enjoyed him!).


  7. Christy B

    John Candy ~ Just seeing his name on the list makes me smile 🙂 Thanks for all the work you put into this one. Happy 150th to our magnificent country.


  8. dbmoviesblog

    Such an amazing post! David Cronenberg and Xavier Dolan are two of my favourite people! But, in all honesty, there is something special about Canada and Canadians. They are people with vision, for sure.


  9. mydangblog

    An amazing list! Did I miss The Tragically Hip in there somewhere? I just got back from Austin, Texas, where we were listening to this amazing singer/guitarist, and when we asked him to play some Hip, he was like “Who?” He’d never even heard of them, which I understand is common south of the border, although they’re well-known in Europe, and are, of course, the quintessential Canadian band!


    1. Jay Post author

      This was movie-themed only, so I gave Gord a shout-out for his recent documentary, but that’s about it. If I opened it up to all Canadians, 150 just wouldn’t cut it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sean

    Great list, this must have taken forever to put together! I knew most of these but there were some interesting surprises – Neill Blonkamp? Who knew?


  11. isabellamorgan

    Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day, from a fellow Canadian.
    Amazing list! It must have taken a long time to compile. However, I have to say sorry (<– Canadian, eh?) for pointing it out, but you missed my favourite of all time movies, and possibly the most Canadian movie I've ever watched. Men With Brooms.
    “And representing Kingston, The Tragically Hip!”
    Thanks for this post, Jay. I’m so impressed. 😀



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