Who Is The Greatest Canadian?

We Canadians seem to be sensitive about our patriotisim, making a point about how different we are from Americans (understandably, due to the influence of Amercian culture on our’s via television, movies, and commercialism). The Greatest Canadian is a CBC show meant to decide, well, the greatest Canadian. This is so subjective it’s silly, but it IS a great history learning opportunity.

I haven’t seen the the show yet, but it’s peeked my interest now; although I didn’t see Mr. Dressup (Ernie Coombs) on the list.

(via Larocque and Roll and Darren Barefoot)

9 Replies to “Who Is The Greatest Canadian?”

  1. What are you talking about? Mr. Dressup was on the list! Not the top 10, though, because he wasn’t actually a Canadian citizen, but he’s there.

    I watched the whole first 2-hour show, and it was a good history lesson. I don’t know a thing about Canadian history and I’m not proud of that. There were at least 10 historical figures on the list I’d never heard of before, and even the ones I did know, I didn’t know what the hell they did. (E.g., The most I know about Louis Riel is that he rode a horse, and I only know that from a Rheostatics song.) History is one of the most important things we can teach child (and adults); an understanding of history would give more meaning and purpose to everything we do in our lives.

    Wanye Gretzy was in the top 10 — which I think is dumb. But I was glad to see David Suzuki up there, though I’ll probably vote for Trudeau.

    (I think I spelled every one of those last names wrong.)

  2. What really riled up a co-worker and I this morning was the homage paid to recent pop culture sensations (a la Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain) and even more worthy candidates were left off the list (a la Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Carr, Louise Arbour, Mary Pickford, etc.)

    Note also – the complete lack of women on the list. Of the six who made the top 50-10, three are singers and another ranks high on my Who? list (Mary Maxwell – married the founder of the B’nai faith. Again, who?) Only two – Nellie McClung and Laura Secord – were historically significant figures. I find it hard to accept that there aren’t any more great Canadian women, not even in the top ten, when what’s-his-face, the DJ from Winnipeg, can get on the list. Stupid democratic process!

  3. Excellent point: where are the women? Unfortunately, most of the notable Canadian women (not including modern fads like Avril and company) are not well known:

  4. There were a huge amount of women missing from the list, which might mean most of the votes were made over the internet by mostly-male computer geeks or PC-savy teenagers.

    I wouldn’t vote for Margaret Atwood, I think she’s dry and over-rated, but I’m still surprised she didn’t make the top 50.

  5. Choosing ‘The Greatest” anything is foremost a value judgement, and will always be divisive…

    A better question is: Who is The Most Embarrassing Canadian?

    Visit to nominate an embarrassing Canadian, and to vote for your favorite!

    Why tear the nation apart quibbling over greatness…let’s unite the nation in self-deprecation.

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  7. As a Canadian who has never watched more than five consecutive minutes of North American hockey, I am pretty surprised to see that Wayne Gretzky made the top ten. I feel that the greatest Canadian should exhibit qualities not present in just any person. For this reason, I would choose Terry Fox. To me he personifies strength of will, and though the accomplishments of the other nine candidates do impress me, they donít leave me in awe.

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