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Torontonians show up in films, television, music, and literature that’s famous the world over, and their scientific, architectural, and political accomplishments have had a global impact. How many people on this list did you know were from Toronto?

  • Margaret Atwood (b. 1939): Canada’s most famous literary luminary is best known for her futuristic novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been turned into a hugely successful small-screen series (filmed mostly in Toronto). Her body of work includes The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, and Oryx and Crake.
  • Jim Balsillie (b. 1961) and Mike Lazaridis (b. 1961): Co-founders of Research in Motion, the firm in nearby Waterloo, Ontario, that invented the once-ubiquitous BlackBerry, the wireless handheld device. Both are billionaires.
  • Sir Frederick Banting (1891–1941): Banting was the co-discoverer of insulin at the University of Toronto; in 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his life-saving research. He also distinguished himself as a captain in the Army Medical Corps in World War I and, later in life, as an artist.
  • Samantha Bee (b. 1969): The bawdy comedienne was a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before starting her own show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
  • John Candy (1950–1994): The much-loved funnyman and Toronto native got his start in comedy with the local Second City troupe, playing a succession of crazy characters on “SCTV.” In Hollywood, he made a succession of popular films that included Only the Lonely, Uncle Buck, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He was also a co-owner of the Toronto Argonauts football team.
  • Jim Carrey (b. 1962): Before striking it rich in Hollywood with movies such as The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, The Truman Show, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Carrey lit up the stage at Toronto comedy clubs.
  • Michael Cera (b. 1988): Hollywood’s awkward straight man was born and raised in the suburb of Brampton, Ontario. His films include Superbad, Juno, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and he appeared in the cult-hit television series Arrested Development.
  • David Cronenberg (b. 1943): This director knows how to shock audiences—witness his 1996 film Crash, which explored violent injury fetishes and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His eerie body of work includes The Fly, The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, and A History of Violence.
  • Deadmau5 (b. 1981): The mouse ear–sporting EDM star Joel Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, is one of the few Toronto celebs who still call T.O. home. He can be seen driving around Toronto in his fleet of luxury cars. His Purrari, a Ferrari custom wrapped with Nyan cat, makes him particularly easy to spot.
  • Drake (b. 1986): Maybe Aubrey Drake Graham shouldn’t be on this list. He likely is the only famous person Toronto has produced who people actually realize is from Toronto. Drake is Toronto’s number-one cheerleader (he’s at most Raptors games) and has so much sway, he created a new nickname for Toronto overnight when he dropped the album Views from the 6, the cover of which features the pop star sitting forlornly atop the CN Tower.
  • Frank Gehry (b. 1929): Arguably the world’s most famous living architect, Gehry put Bilbao, Spain, on the map with the swooping titanium shape of its Guggenheim Museum. In a more subdued way, Gehry refashioned the Art Gallery of Ontario to fit within the context of its residential neighborhood, where he grew up.
  • Norman Jewison (b. 1926): This multiple-award-winning director found fame south of the border making films that include Fiddler on the Roof, The Cincinnati Kid, Jesus Christ Superstar, Agnes of God, and Moonstruck. In 1986, the Toronto native established the Canadian Centre for Film Studies in his hometown.
  • k-os (b. 1972): His real name is Kevin Brereton, but he’s better known as k-os in his work as a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer. He frequently references places and events in Toronto in his songs.
  • K’naan (b. 1978): This Somalia-born poet, rapper, and singer gained global exposure for writing “Wavin’ Flag”—the anthem became synonymous with the 2010 FIFA World Cup of Soccer. K’naan (known off-stage as Keinan Abdi Warsame) continues to win over fans with songs about the immigrant experience in Canada.
  • Meghan Markle (b. 1981): Yes, she’s American, but the Duchess of Sussex calls Toronto her second home. Before Prince Harry popped the question, she lived in the Annex for 7 years while working as an actress on the Toronto-filmed series Suits. She visits regularly, since she’s close friends with Canadian “royalty" Ben and Jessica Mulroney, whose children were among the bridesmaids and pageboys at the royal wedding.
  • Rachel McAdams (b. 1978): Before wrenching our hearts in The Notebook, this A-lister honed her acting chops at York University.
  • Marshall McLuhan (1911–80): The man best known for coining the phrases “the medium is the message” and “the global village” was a professor of English and the director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. His seminal works include The Gutenberg Galaxy, Understanding Media, and War and Peace in the Global Village.
  • Lorne Michaels (b. 1944): Ever wonder why Saturday Night Live has featured so many Canadian performers? That may have had something to do with the fact that the show’s creator was born and raised in Toronto. Michaels has also produced SNL-alum movies such as Wayne’s World and Baby Mama, and TV shows including 30 Rock.
  • Mike Myers (b. 1963): Myers became a celebrity when he starred on Saturday Night Live from 1989 to 1994, playing a series of characters that included metal-head rocker Wayne Campbell and German aesthete Dieter. On the big screen, Myers has struck gold writing and starring in such films as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers (and their respective sequels).
  • Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943): Ondaatje is perhaps best known for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. Born in Sri Lanka, he earned his B.A. from the University of Toronto and taught English literature at Toronto’s York University from 1971 to 1988. His acclaimed body of work includes Running in the Family, In the Skin of a Lion, and Anil’s Ghost.
  • Mary Pickford (1893–1979): Known in the Jazz Age as “America’s Sweetheart,” this Academy Award–winning actress was born and raised in Toronto. While she made some memorable films, including Little Lord Fauntleroy and Coquette, her most important role was of movie magnate: In 1919, Pickford, her husband Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin founded the United Artists film studio.
  • Christopher Plummer (b. 1929): He’s usually remembered as the dashing Baron Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, but this versatile actor has played every role imaginable in a film career spanning more than 50 years. Born in Toronto, the Shakespearean-trained Plummer has returned to his roots many times at the nearby Stratford Festival.
  • Joe Shuster (1914–92): Poor Joe Shuster—if only he and his Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel had known what a success their cartoon character would be one day. If they had, they wouldn’t have sold the Superman rights to D.C. Comics for a pittance in 1940. Shuster had been a newspaper boy for the Toronto Star, and in the early Superman strips, Clark Kent worked for the Daily Star (later rechristened the Daily Planet). Toronto purportedly served as the model for the city of Metropolis.
  • The Weeknd (b. 1990): When not making tabloid headlines for feuding with Justin Bieber, hip-hop artist The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) is busy taking over the charts and winning Grammys (he’s banked three so far). The Scarborough native was groomed by Drake, who was in the audience at The Weeknd’s first live performance, held at Toronto’s Mod Club in 2011.
  • Neil Young (b. 1945): Before skyrocketing to superstardom with Buffalo Springfield, Young played Yorkville’s Riverboat Coffee House—a stage that had seen its share of big names including Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Although he was born in Toronto, Omemee (the town Young grew up in) takes center stage in his oeuvre.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.