15 Famous Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Canadian

Ree Winter, an Australian journalist now based in New Orleans, combines her love for solo travel with a sharp eye for great flight and accommodation deals. She eagerly shares her travel insights with her audience, drawing from her rich experiences. Ree holds a Master's degree in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and History. Her fascination with history is evident in her stint as a tour guide at historic house museums, showcasing her knowledge of architectural history. Beyond journalism and history, Ree has a unique flair for coffee culture. As a barista, she's operated a coffee van at various events and markets, showcasing her skill in coffee preparation.

For people in Australia or Britain, discerning the nuances between Canadian and American accents can be challenging, similar to how Americans might find it tricky to differentiate between Australian and New Zealand accents.

However, when their acting prowess is truly exceptional, these distinctions fade away, leaving viewers surprised to discover that an actor they presumed to be from the United States actually hails from another country, such as Canada. Here are a few actors whose Canadian roots might surprise you.

1. Ryan Reynolds

Deadpool (2016) Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Ryan Reynolds has been a popular actor on screen in the United States for many years. He’s best known for his roles in films like Deadpool (2016) and The Proposal (2009). Given his excellent portrayal of these American characters, it would be forgivable to think he’s actually from the U.S. However, Reynolds was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. In fact, he got his start on Canadian television in the series Hillside.

2. Rachel McAdams

The Notebook (2004) Rachel McAdams
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

With her American-style Valley Girl accent in Mean Girls (2004), you might think Rachel McAdams was a true American. However, The Notebook (2004) star hails from Ontario, Canada. She acted from an early age in summer camps, getting her BFA in Theater from Toronto’s York University.

3. Drake

Drake
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Given that many rap and hip-hop have their roots in the U.S., it’s hard to imagine rappers that aren’t American. However, Drake is from Toronto, Canada, and he holds dual citizenship today. He gained popularity as a teen actor and started pursuing a music career in 2006. Today, he’s one of the world’s most influential and best-selling rap artists.

4. Keanu Reeves

John Wick (2014) Keanu Reeves
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Generally known as an all-around good guy and famous for movie franchises like The Matrix (1999) and John Wick (2014), Keanu Reeves is a popular award-winning actor. Based on his name alone, you might think he was from Hawaii since that’s where his name originates from. However, Reeves grew up in Canada and was born in Lebanon. Who knew?

5. Elliot Page

The Umbrella Academy (2019) Elliot Page
Image Credit: Universal Content Productions.

Elliot Page portrayed Viktor/Vanya Hargreaves in the Netflix superhero fiction show The Umbrella Academy. The actor is famous for publicly transitioning to a male. Page has won various awards for films such as Juno (2007) and Inception (2010). The actor was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and pursued their acting dreams from an early age.

6. Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes
Image Credit: Josiah VanDien, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Back in 2012, 14-year-old Shawn Mendes started uploading himself performing cover songs online. He quickly gained a following and the attention of record label executives. In 2015, he released his album Handwritten. The performer was born in Pickering, Ontario — a town just outside Toronto. The power of the internet proves that it doesn’t matter where you’re located since it brought his talent into the spotlight.

7. Celine Dion

Celine: Through the Eyes of the World (2010)
Image Credit: The Hot Ticket.

When you hear the powerful vocals on the iconic Titanic (1997) hit “My Heart Will Go On,” you might think the singer is American, but when you hear Celine Dion speak, she sounds French. That’s because she’s French Canadian. Despite living in Las Vegas, the singer hails from Charlemagne — a city in Quebec, Canada.

8. Seth Rogen

Superbad (2007) Seth Rogen
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Seth Rogen started out as a stand-up comedian in his hometown of Vancouver, Canada. The comedic actor is known for his films like Superbad (2007) and Knocked Up (2007). Despite his Canadian upbringing, his Father is American, and the actor has dual citizenship. “I definitely associate with being Canadian much more than being American,” Rogen said.

9. Michael Cera

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) Michael Cera, Alison Pill
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

People recognize Michael Cera for his most recent role as Ken’s awkward friend Allan, in Barbie (2023). However, he’s mostly popular for the Canadian film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). Of course, his being cast in a Canadian film makes sense when you know the actor is actually from Brampton, Ontario.

10. Pamela Anderson

Baywatch (1989) Pamela Anderson
Image Credit: All American Television.

The infamous TV star and model Pamela Anderson started life in Ladysmith, Canada — a town in British Columbia. Her role in the 1980s and ’90s as lifeguard C. J. Parker in Baywatch (1989-2001), which is set in Malibu Beach in California, may have fooled people into thinking the actress was American.

11. William Shatner

Star Trek (1966) Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
Image Credit: Paramount Television.

The distinctive voice of Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise is one of the most recognizable in the world of film and television. Many also know him from the American police drama T. J. Hooker. Therefore, some might be surprised to learn he didn’t start his acting career with that accent since he hails from Montreal, Canada.

12. Jim Carrey

Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994) Jim Carrey
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Not only is the Ace Ventura (1994) star from Ontario, Canada, but he also came from humble beginnings. His family experienced homelessness, and they lived in a car, and then tents until his father was able to find a job. In a 2007 interview, Carrey said that he’d probably still be working in Hamilton, Ontario, if his comedy career hadn’t worked out.

13. Nathan Fillion

Castle (2009) Nathan Fillion
Image Credit: ABC Studios.

When Nathan Fillion played the swashbuckling Western-style space cowboy Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly (2002), most people would have been surprised to learn of his Canadian origins. He then starred in the American crime drama Castle (2009-2016) and The Rookie (2018), a show about a Los Angeles man who finds his career path as a police officer later in life. So, the fact that he comes from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, may have escaped many viewers.

14. Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Rising to fame in the ’90s post-grunge era with her album Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette entered our lives via the radio. Given that it can be difficult to tell a performer’s nationality based on the accent they use in a song, it would be easy to mistake Morissette for American. The singer started life in Ottawa, Canada, and is a citizen of both Canada and the U.S.

15. Michael J. Fox

Back to the Future (1985) Michael J. Fox
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

When Marty McFly travels back in time to his hometown of Hillside, California, in Back to the Future (1985), audiences see a typical American guy having an amazing adventure. However, Michael J. Fox is from Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, Canada. He starred in various American roles, such as Alex from Family Ties (1982-1989) and Spin City (1996-2002), before retiring from acting due to Parkinson’s Disease.

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

 

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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Ree Winter, an Australian journalist now based in New Orleans, combines her love for solo travel with a sharp eye for great flight and accommodation deals. She eagerly shares her travel insights with her audience, drawing from her rich experiences. Ree holds a Master's degree in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and History. Her fascination with history is evident in her stint as a tour guide at historic house museums, showcasing her knowledge of architectural history. Beyond journalism and history, Ree has a unique flair for coffee culture. As a barista, she's operated a coffee van at various events and markets, showcasing her skill in coffee preparation.