Mr. Dressup was one of Canada’s most beloved and longest-running children’s television series. The program starred Ernie Coombs as the jovial Mr. Dressup and ran for 29 years (1967–96) and more than 4,000 episodes. A precursor to the popular American series, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Dressup was influential in tailoring children’s programming towards developing the child’s emotional and logical intelligence. The series won three Gemini Awards and earned Coombs an appointment to the Order of Canada. A 2017 crowd-sourced online vote unofficially declared Mr. Dressup Canada’s most memorable television program.
Richard Vincent Mercer, OC, satirist, comedian, screenwriter, actor, humanitarian (born 17 Oct 1969 in St. John’s, NL). Rick Mercer has parlayed his acerbic wit and voracious interest in politics into a career as one Canada’s foremost political and social commentators. Described by Maclean's magazine as “one of Canada’s most bankable television commodities,” he has combined his “mutually parasitic” relationship with politicians, his ability to connect with ordinary Canadians and a mischievous, court jester perspective to become the satirical conscience of Canadian politics and culture. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has also excelled as a humanitarian through his involvement with numerous charitable organizations. He has received ten honorary degrees, 18 Gemini Awards, ten Canadian Screen Awards, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, among many other honours.
Anna Helene Paquin, actor (born 24 July 1982 in Winnipeg). Anna Paquin is best known for winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano (1993) at the age of 11, and for her Golden Globe-winning performance as Sookie Stackhouse in the long-running HBO fantasy-horror series True Blood (2008–14). Born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she has enjoyed a global profile thanks to her role as Rogue in the X-Men movies while also earning acclaim for her work in such independent films as 25th Hour (2002), The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Margaret (2011). In 2017, she starred in the CBC drama series Bellevue (2017-) and Alias Grace (2017), and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.1
Ken Finkleman, screenwriter, director, actor, producer (born 1946 in Winnipeg, Manitoba). Ken Finkleman is a maverick auteur renowned for the caustic humour, bitter irony and deadpan satire embodied by his television alter ego George Findlay, a linking character he has portrayed in seven television series. The winner of six Gemini Awards and an Emmy Award, Finkleman is best known for The Newsroom, the iconoclastic comedy series he created, wrote, produced and starred in. Popular and critically acclaimed during three runs (1996–97, 2003–04, 2004–05) and a TV movie (Escape from the Newsroom, 2002) on CBC Television and PBS, the show is regarded as one of the best media satires ever produced..
Margaret Alexis Fitzsimmons Smith, actor (born 8 June 1921 in Penticton, BC; died 9 June 1993 in Los Angeles, California). Alexis Smith was a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age, sharing the screen with some of the era’s most celebrated performers, such as Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Cary Grant. She took a hiatus from Hollywood for a decade before winning a Tony Award in 1971 for her performance in Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical, Follies. Smith appeared in such television series as The Love Boat, Dallas and Cheers, and such films as The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), the Canadian tax shelter thriller The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993).
Ryan Thomas Gosling, actor, musician, producer, director (born 12 November 1980 in London, ON). Ryan Gosling started out as a child actor before giving a breakthrough performance in the Sundance-winning indie drama The Believer in 2001. Capable of playing characters that are utterly creepy yet somehow magnetic and attractive, he has amassed a gallery of intense performances that matches the early work of Robert De Niro and Gary Oldman. An A-list Hollywood star, he has proven equally adept at comedy (Lars and the Real Girl, Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Nice Guys, The Big Short) and drama ¬(The Notebook, Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, The Ides of March). He has received two Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe in 2017 for his lead role in the award-winning musical La La Land.
Dan George, OC, Tsleil-Waututh actor, poet, public speaker (born 24 July 1899 on the Burrard Indian Reserve No. 3 in BC; died 23 September 1981 in North Vancouver, BC). By his film roles and personal appearances, Dan George helped improve the popular image of Indigenous people, often represented in stereotypical ways.
Tatiana Gabrielle Maslany, actor (born 22 September 1985 in Regina, Saskatchewan). Versatile film and television actor Tatiana Maslany is perhaps best known for her multiple performances as various clones in the hit sci-fi series Orphan Black (2013–17). In 2016, she became the first Canadian actor to win a Primetime Emmy Award for a Canadian television series. She has also won five Canadian Screen Awards, two Gemini Awards, two ACTRA Awards and numerous other honours.
Wendy Jane Crewson, actor (born 9 May 1956 in Hamilton, ON). One of Canadian television’s best-known and most honoured actors, Wendy Crewson has won multiple Gemini Awards for her work in Canadian TV series and TV movies. She has also enjoyed a prolific film career and has acted opposite such Hollywood stars as Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rachel McAdams, Ellen Page and Arnold Schwarzenegger. An outspoken advocate for Canadian film and television, she has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and received the Gemini Humanitarian Award, ACTRA’s Award of Excellence, and the Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement in Canadian television.
Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom (David Joseph Manners), actor, singer, writer (born 30 April 1902 in Halifax, NS; died 23 December 1998 in Santa Barbara, California). David Manners was a popular Hollywood leading man of the 1930s. His dapper good looks, soft but expressive voice and sophisticated bearing helped make him a top box-office draw. He starred opposite such legendary figures as Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert and Carole Lombard, but is perhaps best remembered for his roles in the classic horror movies Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932) and The Black Cat (1934). Manners was also a successful novelist and had a long career on Broadway.
Isadore Borsuk (a.k.a. Bobby Breen), actor, singer (born 4 November 1928 in Montréal, QC; died 19 September 2016 in Pompano Beach, Florida). Boy soprano Bobby Breen was one of Hollywood’s most popular child stars of the 1930s. His cherubic appearance, angelic voice and innocent personality earned him a reputation as “the boy Shirley Temple.” After his Hollywood career ended at age 12, he spent his adult years performing in nightclubs, playing piano and running a talent agency. His cult status was secured when his picture was included on the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
Rachel Anne McAdams, actor (born 17 November 1978 in London,ON). Perhaps best known as a leading lady in such Hollywood romances as The Notebook (2004), The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) and The Vow (2012), Rachel McAdams has developed a reputation for what the New York Times calls “her winsome manner, her serious acting chops and a no-diva approach to her work.” After graduating with a BFA from York University in 2001, McAdams made a meteoric rise to stardom, going from a Gemini Award-winning role in the Canadian TV series Slings & Arrows (2003) to her breakthrough Hollywood performance in the hit high school comedy Mean Girls (2004). She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2014, and received Screen Actors Guild and Oscar nominations for her supporting performance in the Oscar-winning Spotlight (2015).
Jillian Noel Hennessy, actor, singer, musician (born 25 November 1968 in Edmonton, AB). Equal parts brassy and brainy, Jill Hennessy is a sultry, whip-smart actor who is best known for her roles in the American television series Law & Order and Crossing Jordan. She has also appeared in films and released two albums as a singer-songwriter. She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2007.