When looking at influential people in today’s world, and in history, it soon becomes quite evident that there are many who either live in Canada, or have Canadian roots. Some have since passed, while some are actively playing a role in the global community, using their influence to make the world a better place. We take a look at the 10 most important Canadians ever.
No 1 – Alexander Graham Bell
Technically, Mr Bell was born in Scotland, but in his heart, he was Canadian. As a prominent scientist and inventor, Alexander did most of his research and work in Canada. It is only right then that the Canadians claim him. If you have forgotten why this famous scientist is on the list, he was the first person to invent a working telephone. He paved the way for what we hold in our pockets today, and technically, we can thank him for making it possible for us to chat to friends whenever we choose, play casino games on the move, send emails and surf the web, all from our smartphones!
No 2 – Celine Dion
This one is not a difficult guess, as Miss Dion is possibly one of the most famous Canadians in modern history. Aside from her powerful ballads, her influential music and her family struggles, Celine is one of the biggest ambassadors for Canada, promoting a message of positivity, hope and peace. There are few people around the world who have not been influenced by her music or struggles in some way.
No 3 – Chris Hadfield
Being an astronaut should always win you some street credit. For Chris Hadfield, being a Canadian astronaut and a popular public figure has earned him a spot on our list. Not only has Chris furthered the scientific space program; he has also influenced popular culture, meshing together the scientific and media world. If you are looking for an example, it was Chris who performed a cover of David Bowie’s epic Space Oddity while he was floating in zero gravity.
No 4 – Margaret Attwood
Born in Ottawa in 1939, Margaret Attwood is one of the world’s most influential poets and writers. Most people will know her from her novels such as the Blind Assassin, for which she won the Booker Prize. But Margaret was also an inventor, environmental activist, poet and literary critic.
No 5 – Clara Hughes
Clara Hughes is a name that comes up in the sporting world as someone who has achieved what no one else could. No Canadian citizen can hear her name and not become emotionally invested. Her greatest claim to fame is being the only person on the planet to win an Olympic medal at the Winter and Summer games. She is also opened the world’s eyes to the struggles that those with depression and mental illness suffer from.
No 6 – Wayne Gretzky
Our list cannot be complete without the “Great One”. For anyone who does not follow sport or has been hiding under a rock for the past few decades, Wayne Gretzky is possibly the best Ice Hockey player of all time. He is credited with scoring the most goals and the most assists in NHL history.
No 7 – Terry Fox
Terry may not be known to a lot of people around the world, but he is one of the most influential Canadians of all time. Being diagnosed with Cancer at a young age, Terry had his right leg amputated, but refused to let his disability stop him. He won multiple championships for wheelchair basketball and he ran across the entire country to raise funds for Cancer research.
No 8 – David Suzuki
There are few people who are as passionate and involved in climate change as David Suzuki. Born in Vancouver, David is one of the world’s leading environmental activists. He is known for producing environmental television shows and putting pressure on governments to stop the destruction of our natural resources.
No 9 – Sir Frederick Banting
Born in Allison Ontario in 1891, Sir Frederick Banting was a prominent scientist, physician and painter. While his artwork is now widely known, Banting’s main claim to fame is discovering insulin and using it for diabetic treatments. He subsequently won the Nobel Prize and was knighted by King George V.
No 10 – Lorne Michaels
We can all be forgiven for thinking Lorne Michaels is American, given that he lived in New York for most of his life. Born in Canada, Lorne created Saturday Night Live and is responsible for launching the careers of people like Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, all of whom have brought a lot of laugher to our lives.