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135 reasons why it's great to be Canadian

135 reasons why it's great to be Canadian
From the Vancouver Sun

BRYAN ADAMS: Canadians are a forgiving bunch, so who cares if Adams twice forgot the words to our national anthem in public. He's still an international superstar and supporter of Canadian culture.

PAMELA ANDERSON: For her acting roles, she has been known as everything from the Blue Zone girl to the Tool Time girl to C.J. Parker on the international series Baywatch. And the girl from Vancouver Island has been on the cover of Playboy five times -- more than any other woman in history.

PAUL ANKA: Let's all croon together, D-i-a-n-a. So how did a good Lebanese-Canadian boy from Ottawa become a `50s teen singing idol? Let's just say he did it his way.

JUSTICE LOUISE ARBOUR: As chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Arbour issued the charge of crimes against humanity against Slobodan Milosevic, "The Butcher of the Balkans,'' who was handed over to the UN war crimes tribunal.

MARGARET ATWOOD: The reigning queen of CanLit, she is the phantom featured guest at many a women's book club. Her works include The Edible Woman, The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace.

DAN AYKROYD: This Saturday Night Live alum and actor, along with the late John Belushi, were the Blues Brothers in an unforgettable flick that became a cult classic.

GEOFFREY BALLARD: The Burnaby-based scientist behind pioneering work in fuel cell technology was named by Time magazine as a Hero for the Planet.

SIR FREDERICK BANTING and CHARLES BEST: One of Canada's most famous duos, they discovered insulin in the early 1920s and Banting was a co-winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize, sharing his half of the prize money with Best.

BARENAKED LADIES: Once banned from performing by former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall, these band members, none of whom are ladies, sing fully clothed about everyday things like Kraft Dinner and McDonalds. They released several independent cassette tapes before hitting it big with a 1991 self-titled tape, the first independent release to reach the Top 20 and go platinum in Canada.

ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL: The inventor of the telephone. For more information, press 1.

W.A.C. BENNETT: For two decades and seven elections, Bennett ruled B.C., spanned rivers with bridges, paved roads and set sail the ferries.

PIERRE BERTON: Who says Canadian history is dull? Berton makes us look downright dashing. His first book, Klondike, was published in 1958.

NORMAN BETHUNE: Surgeon, inventor and communist, Bethune invented surgical instruments, devoted himself to the victims of tuberculosis, set up the world's first mobile blood transfusion system during the Spanish Civil War, and became a hero in China, where he assisted the communist forces fending off Japanese invaders.

BILLY BISHOP: First World War flying ace who was credited with 72 victories and became the first Canadian airman to win the Victoria Cross.

CONRAD BLACK: A financier and the subject of controversy over receiving a title in the U.K., Black shook up the Canadian newspaper industry with the 1998 launch of the National Post.

ROBERTA BONDAR: A Flash Gordon wannabe, she became the first Canadian woman in space when she boarded the space shuttle Discovery in 1992.

Ed Broadbent: This colourful politician took the New Democratic Party from the fringes to the mainstream. He's since gone on to campaign for human rights around the world.

RAYMOND BURR: He played American journalist Steve Martin in Godzilla, an almost unbeatable lawyer in Perry Mason and an indomitable cop in Ironside. Then he played himself in Block Brothers commercials.

JUNE CALLWOOD: Journalist, board-sitter, panel-judger and founder of houses for a grocery list of what ails people, Callwood gets involved in issues while other journalists keep their distance.

JOE CANADIAN: Neither a lumberjack, nor a fur trader, nor, in fact, a real person, Joe Canadian was, instead, a pitchman for Molson Canadian beer. His "I am Canadian'' rant became a cultural phenomenon -- memorized, repeated, parodied and loved.

JOHN CANDY: In Hollywood films, he was the loveable slob or the loser with a heart of gold. In real life, the late actor never stopped being a Canadian.

Joe Capilano: In 1906, the Squamish Indian leader led a delegation of elders to England to meet King Edward VII to talk to him about this niggling little issue that was bugging aboriginals. It was called aboriginal title.

EMILY CARR: Sure, she had a monkey on her back, but it never interfered with her art. Carr became famous painting westcoast landscapes, Indian villages and totem poles.

JIM CARREY: Mr. funny guy found his calling early in life, performing in front of classmates in elementary school in Newmarket, Ont. At 19, he packed his bags for Los Angeles. He starred in Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, The Truman Show and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. He stole our hearts.

LEONARD COHEN: Poet, singer, songwriter. "Oh bless the continuous stutter/Of the word being made into flesh.'' That's vintage Cohen. Surreal, religious, obscene, comic, ecstatic, mystical, hard to understand.

STOMPIN' TOM CONNORS: This singer-songwriter has stomped his way across the land, singing about tomatoes and potatoes, truck drivers and tobacco pickers.

JEAN COULTHARD: By the time she died at age 92, Coulthard had composed more than 350 scores in all genres.

: Author of Generation X, the defining novel of the post-baby-boom generation, he knows better than most how to describe today's lonely children of television.

GENERAL ROMEO DALLAIRE: The commander of the United Nations' peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Dallaire tried to prevent the massacre of as many as 800,000 people, but his warnings were ignored.

ROBERTSON DAVIES: An eminent man of letters, he cut a grandfatherly figure with his flowing white beard and piercing eyes. A Jungian junkie, he was famous for his trilogies and perhaps one stern bit of advice: "People who can write do, and those who don't should shut up.''

CELINE DION: Near, far, wherever you are, you can hear her. What a voice. People who know nothing else about Canada, know this Grammy-winning singer is one of ours.

UJJAL DOSANJH: When the immigrant Sikh from India's Punjab won the leadership of the B.C. NDP, he was the first premier from a visible minority to take power in any Canadian province.

TOMMY DOUGLAS: The Baptist minister led the first socialist government in Canada as premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, and was a founder of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, which later became the New Democratic Party.

ARTHUR ERICKS0N: So he's not great with money, he designed some of B.C.'s greatest buildings -- Simon Fraser University, UBC Museum of Anthropology and Robson Street Law Courts.

ROB FEENIE: If the road to happiness runs through a good restaurant, then the owner/chef of Lumiere restaurant has paved the way.

DAVID FOSTER: His work as a composer and producer is apparently not enough for the Victoria native, who after studying at Pepperdine University in the next few years, may feel educated enough to run for political office in B.C.

MICHAEL J. FOX: The boy from Burnaby made it big on the sets of Back to the Future and Spin City. Parkinson's disease has slowed some of his spinning, but he's still going strong as a powerful fundraiser for the disease.

TERRY FOX: His name has become synonymous with heroism in this country. Terry Fox Runs worldwide have raised more than $270 million for cancer research.

NORTHROP FRYE: In ivory towers everywhere, this literary critic and university professor is regarded as a man who knows a lot. But if you're looking for some light summer reading, don't pick up his Fearful Symmetry or Anatomy of Criticism.

JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH: The economist dared to question conventional wisdom, like the sacrosanct notion that unbridled capitalism is God's gift to humanity.

MARC GARNEAU: Time in space: 677 hours. Number of space flights: three. Number of orbits around the Earth: too many to count.

CHIEF DAN GEORGE: Actor, public speaker, chief of Squamish Band of Burrard Inlet. Framed by his snow-white locks, he was the Indian Hollywood loved. Little Big Man, Harry and Tonto -- he starred in these and lots more.

JOE GOSNELL: The president of the Nisga'a Tribal Council possessed a singular drive to bring a modern treaty home to his people. The Nisga'a treaty ushered in the most far-reaching form of aboriginal self-government in North America.

GLENN GOULD: The pianist revolutionized perceptions of Bach with his personal, non-academic way of playing that continues to fascinate musicians today. He was both a health nut and recluse who died at age 50, a tragic genius.

GRAHAM GREENE: He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Dances with Wolves and he won a Grammy last year for his part in a spoken-word album for children. Oh, and he's been honoured in this country, too.

NANCY GREENE-RAINE: Canada's Female Athlete of the Century and Olympic gold medal slalom champion in 1968 now wants to turn Sun Peaks into a skiing resort.

WAYNE GRETZKY: He was perhaps the greatest hockey player ever to lace up a pair of skates, and the worst to ever appear on The Young and the Restless.

THE GROUP OF SEVEN: Landscape artists Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and F.H. Varley count as seven on this list. Their famous friend Tom Thomson died three years before the group was formed.

THE GUESS WHO: Winnipeg rockers Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Garry Peterson, Bill Wallace and Donnie McDougall hit the charts with American Woman and These Eyes. They received honorary doctorates of music from Brandon University.

PETER GZOWSKI: Er, um, ah -- What can you say about a broadcaster so beloved by his listeners that author Mordecai Richler once called him everyone's favourite uncle? His soothing, affable voice brought a nation together when he hosted CBC radio's flagship Morningside for 15 years ending in 1997.

CHRIS HANEY AND SCOTT ABBOTT: Quick, what is the tallest bridge in Canada? Over a couple of beers in Montreal, the former photographer and ex-sports writer cooked up Trivial Pursuit, a monstrously successful board game, in 1981.

RICK HANSEN: The Man in Motion rolled to fame in his wheelchair, circling the globe over two years to raise $20 million for spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sports.

TARA SINGH HAYER: The outspoken editor of the Surrey-based Indo-Canadian Times was assassinated in November 1998, a decade after being paralysed in another attempt on his life.

PAUL HENDERSON: Moscow. September 28, 1972. Phil Esposito gets the puck behind the net. "Paul Henderson has scored for Canada.'' 'Nuff said.

BEN HEPPNER: UBC grad and world opera star who has played the world's most famous concert halls and racked up a pile of awards, including the 1998 Grammy for best opera recording.

GORDIE HOWE: From Floral, Sask., Mr. Hockey was such an amazing player, the Abbotsford school district recently decided to name a middle school after him and his wife, Colleen -- though we prefer to think of it as Elbows Elementary.

JOHN HUMPHREY: The Montreal lawyer who died in 1995 was the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- one of the most influential documents in modern history.

BRUCE HUTCHISON: "How did one of those ink-stained wretches make the list?,'' you ask. Well, for one thing, he was an outstanding journalist and author who helped define the national identity. For another, ink-stained wretches put this list together in the first place.

DANIEL IGALI: The Canadian and B.C. Athlete of the Year, Igali won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

JOSHUA JACKSON: His character Pacey Witter may have lost Joey Potter to his arch rival Dawson Leery, but the Vancouver actor will return to Dawson's Creek this fall a better man and a high school graduate.

SIMON JACKSON: Environmentalist and teenager, he campaigned to save the habitat of the white Kermode or Spirit bear, while most kids were just trying to save their allowance.

PETER JENNINGS: Never heard of him? Here's a hint: The ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings. Born in Canada, he's been in the U.S. so long he says Zee, instead of Zed.

NORMAN JEWISON: For more than three decades, Jewison has directed and produced some of filmdom's sharpest commentaries. Unforgettable images from his films include Topol singing "If I Was a Rich Man'' in Fiddler on the Roof and Cher slapping Nicolas Cage telling him to "Snap out of it!'' in Moonstruck.

DOUGLAS JUNG: First Canadian of Chinese heritage to be elected an MP. First Chinese Canadian veteran to receive a university education under the auspices of Veteran's Affairs after the Second World War. First Chinese Canadian lawyer to appear before the B.C. Court of Appeal.

KAREN KAIN: We love her for different reasons. For her artistry, her grace, and for getting our little sisters out of the house to ballet lessons every Saturday morning.

DIANA KRALL: Sultry, swinging jazz singer and pianist, Krall grew up in Nanaimo before making it big in the U.S.

DAVID LAM: Canada's first Chinese Lieutenant-Governor may not have invented tolerance and multiculturalism, but he became the embodiment to later generations of immigrants of what could be accomplished with hard work and kindness.

k.d. lang: The Alberta-born chanteuse chose sports over drinking, girls over boys, veggies over meat, and a successful singing career over the kind of mundane jobs the rest of us have.

SILKEN LAUMANN: Nothing to sneeze at, this Mississauga-born rower personifies grit and determination. She received a leg injury two months before the 1992 Olympics and still came back to win a bronze medal.

MARGARET LAURENCE: At age seven, she started writing stories. Beautiful stories, including The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire Dwellers, The Diviners.

JULIA LEVY: From watching tadpoles grow in her childhood basement to co-discovering photosensitizer anti-cancer drugs, scientist and QLT founder Levy has spent a lifetime trying to understand the human body's failings.

GORDON LIGHTFOOT: If you can ever get the SCTV parody out of your mind -- "Gordon Lightfoot sings every song ever recorded'' -- sit back and listen to one of Canada's best singer-songwriters belt out The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

NELLIE McCLUNG: Suffragist, legislator and author, McClung wrote best-selling novels, advanced the feminist cause and served in the Alberta legislature in the 1920s. Her story inspired feminists of the 1960s, though it's unclear whether she anticipated that whole burning bra thing.

SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD: The father of Confederation and Canada's first prime minister, Macdonald led the Conservative Party for 24 years from 1867 to 1891, dying while still in the office.

TODD McFARLANE: In his quest to conquer evil, comic-book multimillionaire McFarlane has spawned a new generation of artists who have joined his publishing company. Booted from the Blue Jays farm team in Medicine Hat, McFarlane can take his $3-million Mark McGwire home-run record ball and go home.

PAT AND EDITH McGEER: The husband and wife brain researchers and professors emeritus at UBC are pioneers in the field of Alzheimer's research. Pat is also a former cabinet minister.

LEWIS MACKENZIE: The handsome general led the United Nations peace mission to war-torn Bosnia in the early '90s. After retiring, he went from leading columns to writing them.

SARAH McLACHLAN: The Grammy-award winning West Vancouver singer-songwriter and founder of the all-female Lilith Fair is at work on her fifth album.

BEVERLEY McLACHLIN: First female chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, first female chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court, first woman appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

MARSHALL McLUHAN: A communication theorist and English professor at the University of Toronto, McLuhan studied mass media and coined the phrase, "the medium is the message,'' which is interesting, but way too deep to be explained in this list.

AGNES MACPHAIL: She became the first woman MP in 1921 and helped found the Elizabeth Fry Society. When she toured Kingston Penitentiary, she was told ladies were not allowed inside. "I'm no lady. I'm an MP,'' she said.

KAREN MAGNUSSEN: As a young North Vancouverite, she won the world figure skating championship in 1973. She could out-soar, out-spin and out-skate everybody out there. Go figure.

MAQUINNA: In 1778, Chief Maquinna, the leader among the Moachat people at Friendly Cove, did the friendly thing of greeting the first white men landing on Vancouver Island. Thus sparking the start of traffic jams, suburban malls and white socks.

LEN MARCHAND: Canada's first native to be elected to the House of Commons, Marchand was also the first native to serve in the cabinet in the Environment portfolio. He was appointed Senator in 1984.

RICK MERCER: Is there anything we love more than poking fun at Americans? The star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes got George W. Bush to talk about Prime Minister Jean "Poutine.'' For that, he earns a permanent spot on this list.

JONI MITCHELL: With her long, stringy blonde hair and acoustic guitar she became the consummate folkie and darling of the coffee-house set.

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY: Prince Edward Island author who wrote a lot of novels about this girl called Anne, with an 'e'. Lived in a place called Green Gables.

GREG MOORE: The Maple Ridge racing ace became the youngest race winner in CART history at age 22, establishing himself as one of the top drivers on the circuit. He died at age 24 in 1999 when he crashed into a wall at the California Speedway.

FARLEY MOWAT: Beloved yarn-spinner, he writes about the North, about snow, about whales and deer and all that good Canadian stuff. A mere 14 million copies of his books have been sold.

EARL MULDOE: Better known as Delgamuukw, the artist successfully sued B.C. in a case that recognized the legitimacy of aboriginal title in Canadian law.

ALICE MUNRO: This short story writer is so good at picking up local dialects, you could swear she has been there, done that. At other times, her stories are so real, she makes you believe she is not just telling you; she is writing about you.

ANNE MURRAY: For years, it wasn't cool to like Murray. But she invites you into a song, as though inviting you to draw near the fire. We love her. We love Snowbird. Admit it.

DAVE MURRAY: Unofficial leader of the Crazy Canucks, that group of daredevil skiers that took the European media by storm in the late 1970s when they kept winning on the slopes. When he died at age 37 of skin cancer in 1990, the country lost an athlete and a pretty amazing guy.

STEVE NASH: How many Victoria boys ever make it big in the National Basketball Association, play for Canada at the Olympics and are rumoured to be a love interest of one of the Spice Girls?

PETER C. NEWMAN: Hats off to the author of The Canadian Establishment, who came to Canada as a refugee in 1940 and proceeded to learn more about us than we knew about ourselves.

NORTHERN DANCER: The racehorse owned by Edward Plunkett Taylor was the first Canadian-bred thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby in 1964.

MICHAEL ONDAATJE: The English Patient was a book and subsequently a movie to die for. Hollywood thanked him for his literary gift. So do we.

BOBBY ORR: Television set: $200. Armchair: $50. Beer and chips: $10. Watching Orr play hockey: Priceless.

DURAI PAL PANDIA: A civil rights activist and lawyer, Pandia is credited with mustering the political support that got Sikhs and other immigrants from India the right to vote in 1947.

JIMMY PATTISON: B.C.'s consummate entrepreneur got his start hawking used cars for a living. And, believe it or not, he's generous, operating one the largest charitable foundations in Canada.

LESTER B. PEARSON: Liberal prime minister was smart (educated at the University of Oxford) and peaceful (awarded the Nobel Peace Prize).

OSCAR PETERSON: The pianist left a significant mark on the world jazz scene.

ROSS REBAGLIATI: Winner of snowboarding's first gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics. The brash bad boy of the snowboarding set managed to hang onto his medal even when it was discovered that he -- gasp -- had inhaled marijuana at a party.

JUDY REBICK: Activist, broadcaster and magazine columnist, Rebick led the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, founded the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics and generally drove REAL Women to distraction.

BILL REID: A Haida sculptor and CBC broadcaster, he was credited with the resurgence of Northwest Coast Indian art. His last work, the monumental bronze Spirit of Haida Gwaii, is at Vancouver International Airport.

STAN ROGERS: Is it really a party until someone belts out a few a cappella verses of Northwest Passage or Barrett's Privateers? We think not.

WILLIAM SHATNER: For a long, long time to come in syndication, Captain James Tiberius Kirk will banter with McCoy, make Spock reveal human emotions, and watch helplessly as the officer in the red uniform gets killed.

CAROL SHIELDS: Birth, life, love, work, death. That is the grist for a Shields novel. In her Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Stone Diaries, she explained women. In Larry's Party, she explained men.

MICHAEL SMITH: Awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1993 for his groundbreaking work in reprogramming segments of DNA. He later became director of the B.C. Cancer Agency's Genome Sequence Centre to draw genetic attention to a disease that would sadly, ironically, be responsible for his death at age 68 last year.

MARTHA STURDY: Designer creates art from steel, tables from resin and jewellery from metals, selling her pieces to celebrities from J.K. Rowling to Calvin Klein.

DONALD SUTHERLAND: His movies ranged from the abysmal to the sublime, with smashing performances in Klute, Bethune and Ordinary People. A vociferous anti-Vietnam war activist, his big breakthrough came in 1970 when he became Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H*, the movie.

DAVID SUZUKI: Scientist, activist, writer and television personality, Suzuki started on the tube in the 1960s as the long-haired, quasi-hippie host of Suzuki on Science.

KEN TAYLOR: As the Canadian ambassador in Iran in 1979, Taylor successfully helped U.S. Embassy staffers escape the country by posing as Canadians.

BRIAN TOBIN: Politician and former premier of Newfoundland, Tobin became a hero in that province for saving the turbot fishery from the Spaniards.

ALEX TREBEK: Who is the host of the popular game show, Jeopardy, and the guy who can be oh-so patronizing to people when they get the wrong answer?

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: His passionate eulogy for his father vaulted the 29-year-old schoolteacher into the public spotlight last year.

PIERRE TRUDEAU: The prime minister from 1968-79 and 1980-84, he patriated the Canadian Constitution with an entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting individual, minority language and education rights. His death sent an entire nation into mourning.

SHANIA TWAIN: The country and western star has been honoured by her hometown of Timmins, Ont., with the opening of the Shania Twain Centre, a museum featuring Shaniabilia, including some of her skimpy animal print outfits.

JEAN VANIER: Spiritual leader and author, the son of Governor-General George-Phileas Vanier established homes for the handicapped in Canada and around the world.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: He looks more like a bratty, bleached college kid. But his father was a racer. It was in his blood. So the imp, the rebel, the kid from Iberville, Que., yowled his way to the world championship of Formula One racing in 1997.

AL WAXMAN: Hey, King. Al Waxman starred in more than 1,000 television shows, movies and theatre productions, but was best known for his role as television's King of Kensington. He died at the age of 65.

NEIL YOUNG: The guy bringing up the rear in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Toronto-born rocker founded Buffalo Springfield and turned out a pile of best-selling albums to earn a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sources: The Canadian Encylopedia, The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, Canadian Who's Who, Internet, Vancouver Sun files.

Published on: 2004-08-05 (26763 reads)

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