Canuck Cuties for 150 Years: 55 Canadian Crushes for Canada Day
Canada celebrates 150 years of nationhood today. On the 1st of July 1867, the British North America Act was signed, joining the British colonies of the provinces now known as Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into a recognized kingdom within the British Empire, the so-called Dominion of Canada. Other territories and colonies trickled in through the years – the last province to join was Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949.
So, in celebration of Canada’s big day, I’ve decided to expand on a quip that many Canadians have said and will yet say in their lives, namely, “He’s Canadian, you know.” Because what better way to celebrate than gushing about our favorite Canadian crushes?
Canadians do love to gush about things Canadian. Sharing the world’s longest unprotected border with the world’s greatest superpower has given Canadians something of an inferiority complex, generally speaking. Often lumped into America, Canadians spend much time trying to distinguish themselves from Americans, trying to define themselves in contrast to their southern neighbor (and if I was using Canadian spelling, that would be neighbour with a ‘u’, just so you know).
So, Canadians excel at Canadian trivia, at letting you know just what important stuff Canada has contributed to this planet. Canadians burned down the White House in 1812. Canadians introduced American football to Americans. It was in Canada that the first recorded baseball game was ever played. It was a humble Canadian (well, he was technically Scottish) who first traversed the North American continent, years before Lewis and Clark. Peanut butter? Canadian. Insulin? Canadian. AM radio? Canadian. And on and on it goes.
And, in seeking to distinguish themselves, Canadians love to point out famous people, often unknowingly assumed to be Americans, who are, more accurately, Canadians.
So here it is, my list of 55 Canadian crushes – all men, all actors, all beautiful – who are Canadian. Just so you know.
Happy Canada Day, Canada!
Canuck Cuties for 150 Years: 55 Canadian Crushes for Canada Day
(In Alphabetical Order)
1. Stephen Amell
A for Amell and A for Arrow, yes, the Green Arrow himself is Canadian.
Born and raised in Canada’s largest metropolis, Toronto, Ontario, Stephen Amell plays the titular character on the hit TV series Arrow.
Before landing the role of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, which has launched him into major heartthrob status, Amell had guest roles and recurring roles on many shows. He won a Gemini Award – a Canadian Emmy – for his guest performance on the Canadian TV series ReGenesis. And, if you look really close, he’s in the romantic period piece, Closing the Ring.
RELATED: Arrow Season 4 Green Arrow Recap – Olicity Bliss, a New Villain Rises, and Then That Ending
2. Steve Bacic
Originally stemming from Croatia, Steve Bacic was raised in Windsor, Ontario. He moved to Canada’s west coast, to Vancouver, British Columbia, after university and various odd jobs, to purse an acting career.
He has since been a regular guest-starring face on many a Canadian-filmed production, including 21 Jump Street, The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Smallville, Republic of Doyle, When Calls the Heart, Arrow, to name a few. Bacic starred in Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and is a regular on the Hallmark Channel, playing the hubby of Lori Loughlin on the Garage Sale Mystery series.
3. Adam Beach
Born in Ashern, Manitoba, Adam Beach spent his early years on a First Nation reservation at Lake Manitoba. Beach belongs to the Saulteaux First Nation. Tragedy struck when he was just eight years old – his very pregnant mother was killed by a drunk driver, and two months later his father was found drowned. He and his two brothers were then raised by family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was there he caught the acting bug, eventually dropping out of school to pursue his ambitions.
Beach has had a myriad of big and small roles on the big and small screens through the years. He was the titular character in Disney’s Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale. His breakout role, though, was in the critically acclaimed Smoke Signals. Beach has played Jim Chee in the adaptations of Tony Hillerman’s popular mysteries. He was Ira Hayes in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, starred in John Woo’s Windtalkers with Nicholas Cage, joined the cast of the popular series Law & Order: SVU for a season, and was most recently seen as the villainous Slipknot in Suicide Squad.
4. Gil Bellows
Best known and remembered for his leading role as Billy Thomas on the hit TV series Ally McBeal, Gil Bellows has had a long career on the screen. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bellows moved to Los Angeles to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
His breakthrough role came in the critically acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption. He rose to fame as Ally’s ex on Ally McBeal. Bellows can currently be seen in the Amazon Prime Video series Patriot, which he also produces.
5. Yannick Bisson
Yannick Bisson has won international acclaim as Detective William Murdoch in the popular and long-running period crime series, Murdoch Mysteries. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Bisson spent his teen years in Toronto, Ontario, where he was encouraged to try his hand at acting.
His breakthrough role came in 1984 in Hockey Night, a critically acclaimed Canadian film starring fellow Canucks Megan Follows and Rick Moranis. The success led to many roles – leading, supporting and recurring – on many Canadian shows, eventually breaking into the American market with roles in Disney and Lifetime programs. But for the last 10 years, he’s been Murdoch. The show has just been renewed for an 11th season and remains one of the CBC’s most highly rated shows.
Bisson is married to his high school sweetheart. They have three daughters.
6. Dylan Bruce
Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dylan Bruce eventually attended the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating with a degree in economics and drama. His modelling career started in Seattle, and upon graduation, he headed to Hollywood, like many a hopeful actor before him.
Bruce landed a role on the daytime soap, As the World Turns. He’s had a number of guesting and recurring roles on such shows as Arrow, CSI, The Sopranos, Joey and American Gothic, to name a few. Bruce starred in the Canadian sci-fi thriller series, Orphan Black, and is not an unknown pretty face in Lifetime and Hallmark movies.
7. Lucas Bryant
A familiar face on the Canadian screen, Lucas Bryant was born to American parents in Elmira, Ontario. He studied acting at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, and has had guest appearances and recurring roles on many Canadian productions.
His big breakthrough came in 2010, when he landed a lead role in Syfy’s Haven, a series based upon a Stephen King novel. His handsome face is also regularly seen in Hallmark and Lifetime romances.
8. Raymond Burr
Perry Mason is from “the true north strong and free.” Long before becoming a household name as Perry Mason, Raymond Burr was born in New Westminster, British Columbia. Following his parents’ divorce, he was then raised in California. There, he became involved in radio, theater and film.
An icon of Hollywood’s film noir in the 40s and 50s, Burr was the leading bad guy in many films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Now considered one of the greatest TV actors of all time, Raymond Burr found his television niche first with Perry Mason and later with Ironside, both of which garnered him many nominations and many awards, including two Emmy Awards. He kept working right up until his death of cancer in 1993. He was 76 years old.
9. Jim Carrey
A natural mimic, Jim Carrey was born and raised in Ontario. He did the stand-up comedy circuit for many years, peddling his slapstick, comedic impressions, until his big breakthrough in 1994 with a total of three blockbusters in one year: Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura Pet Detective and The Mask.
He’s won two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, and has received many nominations. He also starred, alongside Kate Winslet, in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is often critically heralded as one of the best rom-com-dramas in the 21st century. Yeah, he is a genuine movie star.
10. Tom Cavanagh
Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Tom Cavanagh spent his early years in Ghana before returning to Canada in his teens. He attended high school in Lennoxville, Quebec, and went on to graduate from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While studying, he played hockey and varsity basketball and began to take an interest in the theater.
He started in commercials and did some work on Broadway before landing a recurring role on the hit show Providence. That role led to a starring and memorable role in Ed, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination and a TV Guide Award. Cavanagh can now regularly be seen on The Flash.
11. Hayden Christensen
Darth Vader is Canadian!
Before landing the role of Anakin Skywalker (aka. Darth Vader) in the Star Wars prequels and turning to the dark side, Hayden Christensen was born on Canada’s west coast in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Thornhill, Ontario, where he played hockey and tennis competitively. He made his acting debut at the age of 12, but it was his role as Anakin Skywalker that won him renown (and scorn) internationally.
He currently lives on a farm in Ontario with his family.
12. Jonathan Crombie
Ah, Gilbert Blythe – no list of Canadian crushes would be complete without Jonathan Crombie. He played Anne Shirley’s nemesis and kindred spirit and true love in the classic 80s miniseries Anne of Green Gables, and females, young and old alike, were enamored with that beautiful man. For many, he remains the heartthrob over all heartthrobs.
Before attaining heartthrob status, Crombie was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, son of a well-known politician David Crombie, who moved from mayor of Toronto to a ministerial position in Canada’s federal government. He had no previous acting experience when he auditioned and landed the role of Gil in Anne of Green Gables. Crombie went on to reprise the role a few times, had lots of guest appearances on various shows, did much theater work, voiced the cartoon character Benjamin Bear for many, many years. And then he suddenly died, much, much too young, in 2015 of a brain hemorrhage. He was 48 years old.
13. Roger Cross
Originally from Jamaica, Roger Cross’ family immigrated to Canada when he was 11 years old, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. There, he eventually studied aviation and worked as a professional pilot before catching the acting bug.
Cross has had a steady career in film and television, often playing solid, dependable, good guys – officers, agents, soldiers, etc. He is best known for his role in 24, where he played CTU agent Curtis Manning for three seasons. He’s had a little stint on Arrow, was a lead in Continuum, and can currently be seen in the sci-fi series Dark Matter.
14. James Doohan
“Beam me up, Scotty!”
No, the irascible, sarcastic chief engineer of the cult classic series Star Trek was not Scottish; he was Canadian. James Doohan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, raised in Sarnia, Ontario and served his country during World War II. He landed on Juno Beach on D-Day and was hit by six rounds of friendly fire. Luckily, he survived, although his right middle finger was amputated.
After the war, he got into radio broadcasting, which led into television, where he had many minor roles. He eventually landed the role of Montgomery Scott in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), a role that came to define his career and life thereafter. Despite its cancellation, Star Trek picked up a massive cult following, which eventually led to films and spin-offs and remakes and reboots and the massive pop cultural behemoth that is the Star Trek franchise. And Scotty is about as iconic as they get.
James Doohan passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.
15. Nathan Fillion
One Life to Live was Nathan Fillion’s first big break, which garnered him an Emmy nomination. He went on to have a supporting role in Two Guys and a Girl with that fellow Canuck, Ryan Reynolds. He played the wrong Private Ryan in the Spielberg blockbuster Saving Private Ryan. And he’s had a long-running cooperation with Joss Whedon, guesting on Buffy, starring in Whedon’s series Firefly, and films Serenity and Much Ado About Nothing. He also had a stint on Desperate Housewives. Fillion has just recently completed an eight-season run as the titular character in ABC’s, Castle.
Before all the screen successes, Nathan Fillion was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.
16. Michael J. Fox
The epitome of boy-next-door cuteness and an 80s teen idol, Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta. With a father in the armed forces, as well as a police officer, Fox moved around a lot in his youth. The Fox family finally settled in Burnaby, British Columbia during Fox’s teen years. There, he discovered acting.
By 18, he had relocated to Los Angeles. He had a couple of roles in some forgettable films before landing the role of Alex P. Keaton in the smash 80s TV series that was Family Ties. At its height of popularity, upwards of one-third of Americans were watching it weekly. It was a role that launched his career, made him a household name and garnered him three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Fox was the first Teen Wolf. He starred in the now classic film trilogy Back to the Future, as well as many other films. He returned to the small screen in ABC’s Spin City, winning three Golden Globes and an Emmy for his portrayal of Mike Flaherty.
It was during his Spin City run that Fox announced his life-altering illness, Parkinson’s disease. He has semi-retired from acting, written numerous books, and has become a vocal advocate for Parkinson’s research. Fox was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010, one of the highest honors in Canada. He’s been married to the same woman, Tracy Pollan (whom he met on the set of Family Ties), for nearly 30 years; they have four children.
17. Rick Fox
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Rick Fox is the son of a former Olympic high jumper and pentathlete Dianne Gerace and Ulrik Fox. His father stems from the Bahamas, and the family moved there when Fox was young. A gifted athlete, Fox excelled at basketball and, after playing for the University of North Carolina, was drafted by the Boston Celtics, where he played for six seasons. He finished his professional NBA career with the LA Lakers.
Throughout his basketball career, Fox maintained an acting career as well. He was in Spike Lee’s He Got Game, landed a role in HBO’s Oz, had a stint on One Tree Hill and many other guest appearances and recurring roles. He can currently be seen in Greenleaf.
18. Brendan Fraser
With Canadian parents in the foreign service, Brendan Fraser was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and subsequently moved around a lot, including sojourns in California, Seattle, Switzerland and Holland. Fraser attended a private boarding school in Toronto, Ontario.
After graduating from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, he headed to Hollywood, where his first big breaks came in Encino Man and School Ties. He’s gone on to have leading and supporting roles in many comedies and fantasies, including George of the Jungle, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bedazzled, Blast from the Past, and, of course, the popular The Mummy trilogy.
Fraser speaks fluent French, is an accomplished amateur photographer and is the father of three boys.