Of course Canada has world-class cities, full of culture and lots of opportunities to get noticed. But as the following celebs prove, you definitely don’t have to be from a big city to make a big-time impact.
Céline Dion — Charlemagne, Quebec
The Québecois chanteuse, now a fixture on the Las Vegas Strip, was the youngest of 14 children born to Thérèse and Adhémar Dion in Charlemagne, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. Although her childhood was marked by poverty, Dion describes it as “happy,” with music a central part of her growing up. In July 2000 the town built a monument to Dion, which has since been removed because of renovations.
Sidney Crosby — Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
The youngest captain in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup, Sidney Crosby grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Having started shooting pucks in his basement at age two and learning to skate at age three, Crosby got noticed early on by minor hockey leagues around Halifax, giving his first newspaper interview at age seven.
James Cameron — Kapuskasing, Ontario
The three-time Oscar award-winning director of Titanic, The Terminator and Avatar—who also happens to be a deep-sea explorer and environmentalist—was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, and grew up in Chippawa, close to Niagara Falls. His father, an electrical engineer, moved the family to California when Cameron was 17.
Frederick Banting — Alliston, Ontario
Frederick Banting was one half of “Banting and Best,” the researchers who, along with John James Rickard Macleod, discovered the use of insulin to help control diabetes. Banting went to high school in Alliston before enrolling at the University of Toronto.
Norman Bethune — Gravenhurst, Ontario
Arguably the most famous Canadian in China, Norman Bethune was an army doctor during the second Sino-Japanese war who, through his work, helped bring modern medicine to rural China. Born in Gravenhurst in 1890, Bethune attended high school in Orillia and later studied at the University of Toronto.
Pamela Anderson — Ladysmith, British Columbia
Pamela Anderson—actress, model and animal activist—was born in Ladysmith, BC, a small town on the east coast of Vancouver Island. As the first baby born in Canada on July 1, 1967, she was the country’s “Centennial Baby,” starting a lifetime of attention from the media.
Evangeline Lilly — Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
The somewhat confusingly named Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, 25 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, is the hometown of actor Evangeline Lilly, best known for her role as Kate Austen on the TV series Lost. Raised in British Columbia, Lilly was discovered in Kelowna by a Ford Modeling agency agent.
Shania Twain — Timmins, Ontario
Born in Windsor but raised in Timmins, country-pop superstar Shania Twain—whose birth name was Eileen Edwards—learned to hunt and chop wood while growing up, and later worked for her stepfather’s tree planting business. Twain got her start singing in Timmins bars at the age of eight, later working at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville to help support her siblings following her mother and stepfather’s deaths in a car accident.