famous people toronto

The 10 most famous people from Toronto

Celebrities from Toronto have successfully risen to the very top of the pop culture heap. We can bang on endlessly about whether or not we're a "world-class city" (whatever that means), but we can at least take comfort in the fact that we've been able to produce world-renowned names in the fields of music, acting, design, comedy, and Hindenburg-calibre public embarrassments.

Of course, some of Toronto's most notable sons are world-renowned, while others are just Canadian-famous (or, even worse, Toronto-famous). After some internal debate - would they be just as likely to know this person in Paris as they would at home? - we rounded up the 10 biggest household names who were either born in the GTA or spent a significant portion of their formative years here.

Honourable mentions go to stars like Will Arnett, Rachel McAdams, Nina Dobrev, Howie Mandel and David Cronenberg, and dozens of others. We're sorry there wasn't room on the list, but you guys have legions of fans, and probably some really nice houses, so it all works out.

Here are our picks for the 10 most famous people from Toronto.

When was the last time Toronto had a bona fide international hip-hop superstar? (Aside from Snow, obviously.) As a child, Aubrey Graham lived on Weston Road and in Forest Hill, attended Forest Hill Collegiate and Vaughan Road Academy, and ate enough Dutch Dreams peanut butter chocolate ice cream that the shop later renamed the flavour after him.

Keanu Reeves
Before he was Neo or Ted "Theodore" Logan, Keanu Reeves lived in Beirut, New York and Sydney before his family settled in Toronto. He attended four Toronto high schools in five years, including De La Salle College and Etobicoke School for the Arts (who, at one point, expelled him).

Kiefer Sutherland
The veteran actor, best known for his starring turn in 24, moved to Toronto at age nine from California and attended a whopping nine elementary and high schools over the course of his youth. (Bonus Canadian fact: He's the grandson of Tommy Douglas.)

Margaret Atwood
Atwood, arguably Toronto's greatest contribution to the field of literature (and first-ever contributor to the Future Library) grew up between the city, Ottawa and Quebec before settling in Toronto during high school. She's lived in the Annex since the mid-'80s.

Lorne Michaels
Little wonder that so many SCTV stars showed up on Saturday Night Live; even though the show is quintessential New York content, showrunner Michaels was born in raised in Toronto, attended FHCI, and studied English at U of T.

Christopher Plummer
You probably know him as Captain von Trapp, but the legendary Canadian actor's career has been going strong for decades - in 2011, he became the oldest actor to ever win an Academy Award (for Beginners). Plummer was born in Toronto, though he spent much of his childhood growing up in Quebec.

When he's not touring the world, the mouse-eared DJ (aka Joel Zimmerman) lives downtown, and his fleet of luxury cars occasionally make appearances around the city (including a McLaren and the Nyan Cat-themed, dearly-departed Purrari).

Frank Gehry
Gehry, one of the world's greatest architects, was born in Toronto in 1929, and his grandfather's Queen West hardware store was a launching pad for his earliest interests in construction and architecture. He moved to California as a young man and lives there to this day, but has since given back to his hometown through the AGO and an upcoming development from Mirvish.

Jim Carrey
The comedian grew up inside and around the GTA, with stints in Scarborough and North York, and came up in the Toronto comedy scene in the late '70s. Carrey moved to LA by the time he was 21, but apparently, he still loves the Leafs.

Rob Ford
Fame lasts 15 minutes, to borrow a phrase, but infamy lasts far longer. Thanks to an infinitely-publicized crack-cocaine scandal, topped off with a few perfect soundbites ("in one of my drunken stupors", that charming line involving his wife), Ford appeared on Kimmel, was parodied on Saturday Night Live, and made daily headlines in papers around the world - how many people from Toronto can say that?

Who would you put on this list? Let us know in the comments.

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