The Great White North has a lot more to offer than maple syrup, ice hockey, and good manners. In fact, a whole host of celebrities called Canada their home before they migrated elsewhere. To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, here is a rundown of five influential Canadian celebrities, what we can learn from them, and how we can emulate them.
Clara Hughes holds the record for being the only person to win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Navigating the cold from an early age, the Winnipegger competed in both speed skating and cycling in order to complete the feat. Hughes is now training for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongyang, South Korea. In the charitable realm, the Olympian is probably most influential as a spokesperson for the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign inspiring young people to talk about mental illness and break the stigma.
Daniel has won six World Series of Poker, and two World Poker Tours, not to mention his high finishes in several other tournaments. In the world of poker, Negreanu is known for his hand-reading skills and his ability to bluff – his strategies are even analyzed on online poker sites like 888poker. Outside of the felt, he is a huge philanthropist, donating and helping raise money for worthwhile causes including founding the Big Swing event for children with special needs. Negreanu started his illustrious poker career from nothing, and his years of practice enabled him to achieve greatness both professionally and charitably.
Wait a minute before you scroll down. Justin Bieber is in fact Canadian. And he is in fact influential. As well as penning an armada of hits and of being one of music’s most fascinating evolutions, Bieber is also extremely altruistic. Bieber is a supporter of Pencils of Promise, a charity that helps bring schools to developing countries. He also gained a star on the Philippines’ Walk of Fame for his fundraising efforts following Typhoon Haiyan. If you want to hit the notes like Bieber, the Sing Harmonies app allows you to tune your scales and arpeggios.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Although he was born in California, the Rock actually has Canadian citizenship due to his wrestler father, Rocky Johnson (and also where he got his wrestling name). The Rock went from being a Canadian pro football player, to a wrestler, to an actor, and even a singer in the 2016 Disney hit Moana. He started the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation to help terminally ill children, and donated money to renovate his alma mater, the University of Miami’s football facilities. To follow in the Rock’s footsteps would be to take many different paths, but the most influential is the way in which he is able to give back.
An unfamiliar fact to most, the Christmas crooner is in fact a Canuck. Michael Buble is often hailed as the modern-day Frank Sinatra due to his powerful voice, but behind the baritone heartthrob’s singing skills lays his philanthropic work. His most prominent charitable donation is the $50,000 he promised to help heal in the wake of the Victoria bushfires.
Celebrities hold great power, and it’s always great when they use this power to give back. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s important to remember that the country got to where it is through help and kindness to others and through giving back.