10 Canadians I Would Rather Canada be Known for

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Yup I ended that title with a preposition, but let us move on and focus on the fact that in the past few weeks Rob Ford mania has taken over our TVs, newspapers and news feeds and its driving 99% of the Canadian population crazy. The scandal and media circus surrounding good ol’Robbie has cast Canada under a negative light, not that pulling out of agreements like the Kyoto Protocol was helping its case already. International broadcasting agencies and channels such CNN and ABC have even grown interested in this debacle. However, it is important to keep in mind that despite the fact that the country has made quite a few questionable choices in recent history, one can not deny that Canada did at some point hold a relatively good humanitarian record. Throughout its 146 years of existence, Canada harboured a few other notable citizens that are more worthy of putting Canada on the map than Rob Ford. Therefore, I present to you a list of 10 Canadians (in no specific order) that should be remembered and recognized for their greatness and contributions.

  • Fredrick Grant Banting

If discovering Insulin does not earn you a spot on this list, then maybe winning a Nobel Prize in medicine would. Sir. Fredrick Banting was a medical scientist, doctor, painter and the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of Physiology and Medicine.  As the co-discoverer of insulin he shared the Nobel Prize money with his colleague Dr. Charles Best (What a good guy!).

  • Jack Layton

One of the greatest (in my opinion) politicians Canada has ever seen. His vision for a more equal, fair and just society brought hope to many. The open letter that he left behind after passing away due to cancer touched the hearts of countless Canadians regardless of their political opinions. His letter left kind words for his friends and foes, brought hope to cancer patients, encouraged young Canadians to become the leaders of tomorrow, and preached love, hope and optimism.

  • Thomas Clement Douglas (Tommy Douglas)

A Scottish born Canadian who became the father of universal healthcare. As a politician, and premier of Saskatchewan, he introduced the first single payer universal health care program in North America. He also lobbied for a Canada wide pension plan and bargained rights for civil servants.

  • Alexander Graham Bell

He maybe Scottish born but he did call Canada home at some point (and held a Canadian citizenship). This great inventor needs no introduction as he brought to the world the great gadget now simply known as the telephone. Not only was he an inventor, he  was also a teacher of the deaf and a scientist.

  • Terry Fox

What Canadian has not participated in a Terry Fox run? This man was a great symbol of resilience and determination.  A Canadian Athlete and humanitarian who embarked on a cross Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research, while suffering from cancer himself. Despite the fact that he was unable to complete his run due to losing his battle with cancer, he left behind a lasting worldwide legacy.  The annual Terry Fox Run, has grown to involve over 60 countries, and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research. Over $500 million Canadian Dollars have been raised in his name.

  • Nellie Letitia McClung

Because without Nellie where would women in Canada be? Nellie was part of the “Famous Five” who launched the “Person’s Case” and fought for women’s right to have a seat and a say in the Senate. She also lobbied for making divorce laws more equitable, mother’s allowances, property rights for women, and medical and dental care for schoolchildren.

  • Chris Hadfield

It does not take a Canadian to know Chris Hadfield. A simple Google or YouTube search will result in tens of videos of Hadfield doing pretty much ANYTHING in space. As one of the first astronaut to bring space to Facebook and Twitter, the world could not help but fall in love with him. The fact that he did video chats with school kids while is space and is currently participating in Movember makes him that much cooler.

  • David Suzuki

David Suzuki is one of the world’s best known environmentalists. He is behind “The Nature of Things” magazine and multiple environmental TV series, radio shows and books. He is a strong and powerful climate change activist who is not afraid to stick it to the government and the world for their lack of action to protect the environment. He is co founder of the David Suzuki Foundation that advocates for environmental sustainability, clean energy, protection of oceans and the fight against climate change.

  •  Roméo Dallaire

Lieutenant-General Roméo Antonius Dallaire is one of the most highly regarded Canadians. I mean, he had the honour of carrying the Olympics flag during the Winter Olympics of 2010, that’s a big deal! As the former head of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Dallaire witnessed the unspeakable horrors of genocide. Yet, he defied UN orders to withdraw his mission and did everything in his power to protect the Tutsis and moderate Hutus from the genocide brought on by extremist Hutus. It is said that if the UN had listened to Dallaire’s pleas to send more troops, it could have stopped the slaughter of thousands of Rwandans. 

  • Pierre Trudeau

This might be a bit of a controversial one. Despite being both one of the most admired and despised Canadian politicians, he remains to be one of Canada’s most charismatic and haunting leaders. How charismatic was he? Well, he inspired something known as the “Trudeaumania” (look it up!). I mean, John Lennon met the leader and had this to say about him: “He is a beautiful person. If all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace.”.

Who makes your top 10 list of greatest Canadians? feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.