10 Great Canadians

Terry Fox Statue In Front of the Parliament (Ottawa)

Terry Fox Statue In Front of the Parliament (Ottawa)

Welcome to my new series, the “Canadian List of Ten”! Ten weeks, ten posts, ten lists and one hundred new Canadian things for you, from food to language, from city to weather.

There are great Canadians in all fields: sports, science, arts, social sciences… Thousands of Canadians from all backgrounds and all origins helped improve this world, one way or another, through the centuries.

Today, I invite you to get to know ten of them. Like all lists, this one is subjective — I had to make a choice among all the great Canadians out there. But I’m waiting to hear from you: who should be added to the list?

So, in no particular order, here is the list of 10 great Canadians.I’m sure you know at least a few, and I know you will be impressed by some of their achievements.

  1. Terry Fox: he was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer treatment activist. He became famous for the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which Fox ran at the age of 21 years old with one prosthetic leg. He started his run in the Maritimes, through Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. He was forced to stop because of his health and died one year later. Canada celebrated his young hero and the marathon of hope is still ran every year to raise money for cancer research.
  2. Norman Bethune: he was a Canadian physician and medical innovator. Bethune is best known for his service in war time medical units with the Chinese Communists during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He is still viewed as a hero in China. He died in China right before the the beginning of WWII.
  3. Pierre Trudeau: he was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968, to June 4, 1979, and from March 3, 1980, to June 30, 1984. He is still a controversial figure today and always arise passionate reactions, both very positive or extremely negative. He is famous for establishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, promoting Canada’s multiculturalist policy and implementing the official bilingualism politics.
  4. Margaret Atwood: she is a Canadian author, poet, critic, feminist and social campaigner. She is most famous for her novels, but also for her poetry. She is also involve in politics and spoke against the Conservative government.
  5. Louise Arbour: she is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She indicted then President Slobodan Milošević for war crimes, among other state leaders.
  6. David Suzuki: he is a Japanese Canadian science broadcaster and environmental activist. Since the mid-1970s, Suzuki has been known for his TV and radio series and books about nature and the environment. He has been a long time activist to reverse global climate change and patiently educate people throughout the world.
  7. Alexander Graham Bell: he was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Although he was born in Scotland, he moved to Canada as a young man. His interests were very varied and he is also credited as the inventor of the metal detector.
  8. Kenojuak Ashevak: this Inuit artist is regarded as one of the most notable pioneers of modern Inuit art. She designed several drawings for Canadian stamps and coins. She is most famous for her drawings, prints and sculptures and she is one of the ambassadors of Inuit art around the world.
  9. Frederick Banting: he was a Canadian medical scientist, doctor and Nobel laureate noted as one of the co-discoverers of insulin. In the 1920, the Parliament of Canada granted him a life annuity to work on his research. His discovery is estimated to have saved over 16 million lives, worldwide.
  10. Julie Payette: she is a Canadian engineer and a Canadian Space Agency astronaut. She went to space twice and she is now Chief Astronaut of CSA.

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite writers. She is amazing, her stories are fascinating and disturbing, and her writing style is so beautiful, powerful, exact…
    .-= Seb´s last blog ..Star Bear! =-.

  2. @Nigel Babu – Yes, he was quite an amazing young man!

    @Gabriel – It is, really! Some Canadiana we have here 🙂

    @Agnes – Thank you Agnes!

    @RennyBA’s Terella – I learn the same way about Norway when I head to your blog 😉

    @DianeCA – He did leave an amazing legacy!

    @khengsiong – yes, the run is the one he started in his fight against cancer. Bell was actually Scottish, moved to Canada and also lived int he USA I believe.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – No dumb American! I didn’t know much about Canadian myself before I moved there. I still don’t know that much about America history actually, because we don’t learn it at school.

    @Seraphine – I don’t even know him… gotta check that!

    @Shantanu – Canada does have a lot of singers! I just wanted to show other personalities 😉

    @Beth – You know what, I almost added Don Cherry. He is hilarious (at least, I find!).

    @Seb – Really? I have to read her books again, it’s been a while.

  3. I agree…I really think Don Cherry need to be on that list. Not sure what Beth means by just kidding. He is exactly what I think of when I think of great Canadian figures and personalities.

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