Actress Rachel McAdams was born in 1978 and grew up in London, Ontario. She graduated from the theatre program at York University and achieved early success in Canadian film and television, winning a Gemini Award for the show Slings and Arrows, in 2004. The following two years brought international success with leading roles in the hit movies Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers and The Notebook, with fellow Canadian and eventual boyfriend Ryan Gosling. That high-profile relationship and commercial success shone a bright light on McAdams, who took a break from acting for a couple of years. Blockbuster roles that followed her return have included two Sherlock Holmes movies, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Marvel’s Doctor Strange and a role on HBO’s True Detective series. In 2015, McAdams was part of the award-winning ensemble cast of Spotlight, along with Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and Michael Keaton. That role earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Despite the success and stardom she has achieved, McAdams continues to live a low-key life in Toronto, riding her bike, taking the subway and contributing to environmental efforts.
Actor Dan Aykroyd was born on Canada Day in Canada’s capital (Ottawa), in 1952. There he remained through high school and university, intending to be a priest until he turned 17 and began working on a local comedy series with Lorne Michaels. He became a member of the famous Second City in 1973 and then an original cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1975-1979, alongside John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin. Is Dan Aykroyd your favourite Canadian actor? Vote for him here He received Emmys for both writing and performing on the show. Aykroyd’s love of music—the blues specifically—is what inspired a partnership with friend and co-star John Belushi. They toured and recorded as The Blues Brothers, and starred in the eponymous movie in 1980. He has appeared in more than 75 films throughout his career, including Trading Places, The Great Outdoors, Tommy Boy and every Ghostbusters movie. Aykroyd founded The House of Blues restaurant chain, which currently has more than ten locations in the U.S. He is a founder of Crystal Head Vodka, and owns several Canadian wineries. He maintains homes in Canada with his wife of thirty years. He was nominated for his role in Driving Miss Daisy and received a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.
Actor-comedian Mike Myers was born and raised in Toronto. One of his first acting gigs, at the age of ten, was in a commercial with Gilda Radner, an original cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL) ten years before Myers would become famous for his characters on the show. He earned his way there via the Second City comedy stages in Toronto and Chicago. From 1989 to 1995, he was one of the most popular cast members on SNL, creating characters that would live on in pop culture and star in their own movies. Myers made Wayne's World in 1992, with Dana Carvey, reprising their popular SNL characters, Wayne and Garth, respectively. It remains the most successful movie ever based on an SNL character. In 1997, Myers wrote and starred in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the first movie in that trilogy, which would feature surprise cameos by superstars like Tom Cruise, Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow and John Travolta. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me followed in 1999 and then Austin Powers in Goldmember in 2002. Myers plays both the protagonist Powers and the antagonist Dr. Evil in the movies, which have won multiple awards. In 1999, a Madonna song on the soundtrack for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me won a Grammy.
Actor-comedian Jim Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario in 1962. His first comedy gig, polished with the help of his father, was at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto when he was just 15. In 1983, he debuted on The Tonight Show, which was hosted by Johnny Carson at the time and served as a springboard for many comedians who went on to fame and fortune. Vote for Jim Carrey to make him Canada's favorite actor. In 1990, Carrey landed a gig on the comedy show In Living Color and in 1994, he began the run of hit comedy movies that truly launched his career: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. In 1998, Jim Carrey starred in the drama The Truman Show, for which he won a Golden Globe. After proving himself as a dramatic lead, he went on to star in Man on the Moon the very next year. Again, he won a Golden Globe and much deserved critical acclaim for playing the late comedian Andy Kaufman. Delivering powerful performances in both comedies and dramas has established Carrey as one of Canada’s most popular exports. In 2014, Canada Post honored him with a limited-edition postage stamp.
Anna Paquin is the second-youngest person ever to win an Academy Award. When she was 11, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1993 movie The Piano. That was her first professional acting job. Since then, she has appeared in 31 films, 10 theatre productions and nine television shows, including her seven-year run in the HBO vampire hit True Blood. Paquin was born in Manitoba in 1982, but raised in New Zealand until she moved to Los Angeles in 1996. It was then that she dove deeper into acting, earning roles in movies like Jane Eyre and Almost Famous, before landing the part of Rogue in the first X-Men movie, and three of its sequels. In 2008, Anna Paquin became Sookie Stackhouse, a role that would change her life. True Blood led the ‘peak television’ movement and won Paquin two Golden Globes for Best Actress, plus many other awards. It also introduced her to her co-star and now-husband Stephen Moyer, with whom she has two children. In 2016, she starred in the successful remake of Roots and currently stars in the CBC crime drama Bellevue.
RYAN GOSLING, ACTOR, DIRECTOR Actor Ryan Gosling was born in London, Ontario in 1980. He grew up very comfortable in the spotlight, performing with his sister at weddings and as back-up for his uncle’s Elvis impersonation act. He made his move into show business at the age of 12 when he earned a part on Disney’s The All New Mickey Mouse Club. His co-stars included Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Throughout high school he appeared in shows like Goosebumps and Breaker High until finally dropping out of school completely to focus on acting. Roles in movies like Remember the Titans, Murder by Numbers and The Believer earned Ryan high praise from critics and colleagues alike. In 2004, Ryan starred in the romantic drama The Notebook with fellow Canadian Rachel McAdams. Though Gosling tried to dodge heartthrob status by diving into darker roles, he became the poster boy for romantic daydreams and boyfriend memes. He followed The Notebook with starring turns in thrillers like Fracture, offbeat indie fare like Lars and the Real Girl, the critically acclaimed drama Half Nelson, for which he received an Oscar nomination, and darker, more experimental films, such as Blue Valentine and Drive. In 2017, Gosling received another Academy nod for his role in La La Land and will follow that with the eagerly anticipated sequel to Blade Runner, later this year. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner, actress Eva Mendes, and their two daughters.
Actress Sandra Oh was born in Ottawa in 1971. She is best known for playing Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy for which she won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. She left the role in 2014, after ten seasons. In 2015, she won the People's Choice Award for “Favorite TV Character We Miss Most”. Vote for Sandra Oh as your favourite Canadian actor here.. Or, if your favourite is not on our list, leave us a comment here. Sandra Oh began her acting career at the age of ten, when she appeared in a school play. She trained as both an actor and as a ballet dancer throughout high school, then chose to attend the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, promising her parents she would go to university if it didn’t work out. It did. Her first big role was as Chinese-Canadian author Evelyn Lau in The Diary of Evelyn Lau, an award-winning special television presentation in 1997. She’s gone on to appear in more than fifty films, including Academy Award-winning Sideways, Under the Tuscan Sun and Blindness. In addition to Grey’s Anatomy, Oh’s television credits include Arliss and American Crime. She’s won two Genie Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award outside of accolades for Grey’s Anatomy.