There is something very strange about the relationship between the United States and Canada. Canada became its own territory because large groups of people who stayed loyal to the British Empire during the US Revolution migrated to Canada, rather than stay in the newly created United States.
During the first few decades of the new reign, Canada was viewed as the primary threat to the countries newly won independence. It is strange, therefore, how laissez-faire these two countries now view one another. The U.S.-Canada border is relatively relaxed and the citizens of both countries commonly travel between the two. In fact, there is plenty of celebrities from Canada who now call the United States home.
This article will list 20 celebs who were originally from Canada, and often return to their motherland to visit. I tried to pull celebrities from every aspect of pop culture while limiting this article to only those people who are easily recognizable. I have also been careful to limit this list to those celebs who have strong ties to Canada. This could mean that they lived their whole lives in the great white north, or merely that some formative years of their lives were spent there.
If you have a favorite celebrity from Canada that didn’t make it into our article, feel free to mention them in the comments section.
20 Justin Bieber
It is very rare that the general public gets to know a future superstar at the very moment that they begin their quest for stardom. But this is exactly what happened with Justin Bieber. Bieber first garnered attention through videos of him singing on YouTube. As his popularity grew, he was signed to a record deal and now he has become one of the most famous entertainers in the world. Bieber was born in London, Ontario, Canada and he was still living in Canada when his YouTube videos went viral. I wonder what his fellow Canucks think of his recent antics.
19 Tristan Thompson
There are always celebrities who would have benefited from never becoming famous. Growing up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Tristan Thompson could have gone on to live a normal and healthy life.
Instead, he became a famous basketball player and went on to marry Chloe Kardashian. He was recently involved in a very public altercation and it appears that his life is about to become the roller coaster that awaits all Kardashian love interests. Hopefully he can get past all this and make his homeland proud doing what he was born to do, play basketball.
18 Chris Jericho
There is a long history of professional wrestlers from Canada making it big with the WWE. Bret Hart, Edge, and Trish Stratus are just a few of the superstars who have come south and become huge stars. For the purposes of this article, however, I just chose to talk about one - Chris Jericho.
Jericho was technically born in New York (his dad played for the Rangers) but he grew up in Winnipeg. He wrestled with several smaller companies before becoming a huge star with WWE. Jericho became famous by wrestling but he has gone on to star in movies, TV shows, and even get a record deal with his band Fozzy.
17 Chad Kroeger
The band Nickelback is now most famous for the memes associated with it, but there was a time when they were hugely popular. Almost all of their albums have gone platinum and the majority of the country can sing along with at least of their most popular songs.
The lead singer of the band, Chad Kroeger (whose real name is actually Chad Robert Thurton), was born in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. The band got its start in the Great White North but migrated south after they became more popular. I am curious whether the people of Canada would still claim the much-maligned group.
16 Rachel McAdams
In another entry, I'm going to talk about her costar from The Notebook but for now, let's talk about Rachel McAdams. McAdams got her start as the antagonist in Mean Girls, a movie about how teenage girls treat one another in high school. McAdams herself was born and went to school in London, Ontario, Canada (that’s right, the very same city that Gosling grew up in).
People from Canada have a reputation for being overly nice but McAdams has said in interviews that she drew the inspiration for Regina George from girls she knew growing up. McAdams is one of several female stars to come out of Canada.
15 Celine Dion
I took a film class in college and I was fascinated by the relationship between movies and film. Everyone knows that a good soundtrack is important to a movies success but reaching a wide audience through the big screen can also favorably impact a song's popularity.
A good example of this is Celine Dion’s greatest hit, My Heart Will Go On. This was the title song for the movie Titanic, which was one of the best movies of the past 30 years. I doubt if Celine would have believed the success that she has had when she was growing up in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada.
14 Ryan Gosling
It is very weird to me that the two stars from the hit movie, The Notebook, are both from Canada. That story was billed as a great US love story but neither Rachel McAdams nor Ryan Gosling are actually from the States. With that being said, it is not surprising to me that Gosling is a Canuck.
He grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and just looks like someone who could one day be a Mountie. Gosling is very close to his family, so he travels back to London multiple times a year. Now that he is uber famous he can afford to fly there wherever he wants.
13 Seth Rogen
There might not be another man on the planet that looks more stereotypically from Canada than Seth Rogen. The grisly beard, the nerdy glasses, and the chubbiness meet the requirement for just about every generalization.
People in Hollywood talk all the time about how polite and easy to work with Rogen is. This is because he's from Canada. Seth was born in Vancouver, the largest city and capital of the province of British Columbia. We don't know exactly how often Rogen returns to his homeland but we have enough picture evidence to show that he does, at least occasionally, visit.
12 Ryan Reynolds
Is it just me or is ever male from Canada blonde? Go through this whole list and you will only find a handful of men with dark hair. This weird coincidence aside, our next entry is a celebrity whose movies I especially enjoy.
Ryan Reynolds got his start in comedies like Waiting and Van Wilder but he has since transitioned into a bonafide action star with flicks like Deadpool and R.I.P.D. He is currently married to actress Blake Lively, who is from LA. Reynolds was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.
11 Jim Carrey
I knew that a lot of these celebrities were from Canada before I started compiling this list but I honestly had no idea that Jim Carrey wasn't from the United States. People now know Carrey from his zany antics and political portraits but there was a time when he was the most famous comedian in show business. In the early 90's he was putting out blockbuster hit after blockbuster hit.
According to people who grew up with Carrey in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, he has always been the class clown. Anyone who has seen the Ace Ventura movies can tell you that not a lot has changed.
When Drake first became famous, I used to see him all the time at the home games for the Toronto Raptors. You see celebrities all the time at Lakers and Knicks games but not so often north of the border.
Drake was born and spent most of his life in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hence his support for the Raptors. Lots of celebrities claim that they go home every chance that they can get but thanks to his attendance during NBA season, we have proof that Drake actually does what he says.
9 Avril Lavigne
It is really amazing how many bands and musicians from Canada were popular in the early 2000s. They all even performed the same brand of edgy music, full of angst. Take for example, Avril Lavigne. She became hugely popular after her first album which included the song Sk8ter boi. This was the anthem for everyone who didn’t quite fit in at middle school.
Lavigne’s popularity has waned quite a bit since then but she is still selling out concerts. She had a long-lasting relationship with another musician, Chad Kroeger from Nickelback. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada.
8 William Shatner
People have been making fun of William Shatner’s Canadianness for decades but he remains such a pop culture icon that it wouldn’t be right not to include him in this article. Shatner became so uber famous because of his role in two of TV’s most popular shows, Star Trek and TJ Hooker.
In both of these shows, he played practically the same character, a lawman who refuses to follow the rules that society has set for him. Shatner was born in Montreal which is in the French-speaking part of Canada. This part of the country is known for being a little unique and Shatner certainly brought some of that to Hollywood with him.
7 Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves was technically born in Beirut, Lebanon but he grew up in Toronto, Ontario. Keanu must have found the fountain of youth in Toronto, because he has not aged a day since he first became famous.
He is now sporting long hair and a beard, but besides that, he does not look any different than he did when they were filming The Matrix. Keanu is known for being one of the friendliest guys in Hollywood which makes sense, given his upbringing in Canada. The real question is, why he hasn’t done a hockey movie yet?
6 Ellen Page
It is sad that Ellen Page’s movies have not done well recently because she really is a very talented actress. None of her recent flops have anything to do with her skills as an actress, in fact, her acting was one of the few bright spots of the remake of Flatliners.
Ellen Page was born in Halifax which is the capital of Nova Scotia. This is certainly one of the more rugged provinces in Canada but it did not stop Ellen from becoming a big star. Instead, she has often credited Halifax with giving her the grit and determination to pursue her acting career.
5 Pamela Anderson
I don’t know if teenage boys in the 1990’s could possibly have thanked Canada for giving us Pam Anderson. It is hard to believe now, but in the height of Baywatch, Pamela was the focal point of television. The last time I saw her was in the recent movie remake of Baywatch, and the years have not been as kind to Pamela as they have to Keanu Reeves.
Hollywood can take a toll on people, especially ones who grew up in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Ladysmith is an extremely small town along the Pacific Coast. In 2016, the towns estimated population was less than 9,000.
4 Michael Cera
I know that he is uber famous and a very good actor but does any country actually want to claim Michael Cera? He is so awkward that just watching him makes me feel awkward. All jokes aside, Cera got his big break in the film Superbad and we have enjoyed watching him be his funny, neurotic self ever since.
Cera was born in Brampton, a fairly large city in the Ontario province of Canada. Cera is very close to his family, so he goes home fairly often to visit them. In interviews, they have said that they always knew that Cera was destined for great things.
3 Matthew Perry
The on-again, off-again love saga of Ross and Rachel may have been the most dominant storyline in Friends but the antics of Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing were the best part of that sitcom. Friends was the most popular sitcom, and arguably the most popular television program, of the 1990s.
All 6 of the main characters became uber famous (though only one of them has really gone on to do anything with that fame) and thanks to generous royalties they should be set for life. All of this money and free time means that Perry can return home to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
2 Neil Young
Neil Young might no longer be as famous as most of the other entries on this list but at one time he was the pinnacle of cool in US pop culture.
Young was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada. When he was a teenager he became interested in music and quickly formed his own band. He would go on to become one of the most respected musicians of the hair band era (now considered classic rock). He has lived in California since the mid 1960s but has retained his citizenship of Canada. In 2009, he was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
1 Will Arnett
There isn’t a single role that defines the acting career of Will Arnett. Arnett is a talented actor and he has been in so many shows and movies but he has yet to have that role that really wows audiences. Arnett is talented enough, however, for our purposes.
He was born in 1970 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Both of his brothers also went on to be highly successful, one of them even attended Harvard Law School. Arnett has several relatives in the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. He takes trips north to visit them often.