By: Natasha Tar
Some real-life Canadian figures disappoint us. They make empty promises, do bad things, and make us regular beaver-loving poutine-eaters doubt what we’re supposedly “standing on guard” for. However, in the fictional world there are plenty of Canadian icons to be proud of. Here are just a few:
Created by Canadian graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley for his Scott Pilgrim series, Scott is a polite, parka-wearing fellow. Scott’s story takes place in Toronto, where he starts out as a between-jobs goof but matures through the power of love and facing his past mistakes. He’s proof that all of us have the power to grow into “real” responsible adults. The series was adapted into the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, staring the lovable (and also Canadian!) Michael Cera as Scott.
A relatively new DC Comics character, Equinox is a Cree teenager who discovers her powers of flight, earth manipulation, and ice control. She hails from Moose Factory, Ontario, and her story is part of the Justice League United series. Her character not only draws a spotlight to the Cree culture, but to life in an isolated town. Writer Jeff Lemire got most of his inspiration and research from Moose Factory, speaking with residents and students about their experiences so the comic wouldn’t end up like the many past and problematic attempts at Indigenous superheroes.
Maybe we shouldn’t be proud of him for outstanding morals, but Deadpool is funny and can really kick ass. Although in the comics he’s definitely more sadistic, the Deadpool movies have shown him to be loving and protective to the people closest to him. Vancouverite Ryan Reynolds plays his character in the movies, in which Deadpool jokingly claims he’s from Regina, Saskatchewan. Fun fact: after he said that, Regina residents petitioned for there to be a statue of Deadpool in their city; mayor Michael Fougere said, “Nope.”
Orphan Black is a science fiction/thriller TV series about clones. Sounds cool, right? What makes it cooler is that every single clone is played by one woman: Saskatchewan-born Tatiana Maslany. You really have to see it to believe how she incredibly transforms into several distinctively different Canadian characters through both make-up and acting. Though the show’s characters are talented and diverse, Maslany should take the praise here for personifying them and, according to Vanity Fair, changing make-up and outfits up to four times a day.
When you think “Canadian X-Men,” I’m guessing that the Albertan Wolverine would instantly come to mind. Who you may not know about is Northstar, the French-Canadian X-Man who used his super speed to win skiing competitions, among other things. Northstar also happens to be Marvel’s first openly gay superhero, although he wasn’t able to come out for over a decade due to, you guessed it, homophobia in the comic industry. Northstar eventually went on to marry his partner in Astonishing X-Men, yet another first for mainstream comics.
What? Winnie-the-Pooh is Canadian? This was my reaction when I found out my childhood icon’s name “Winnie” was actually short for “Winnipeg.” Winnie is based off a real-life orphan bear cub who was bought by a soldier, Harry Colebourn. Colebourn named the bear “Winnie” after his hometown and cared for the bear until he decided to give it to the zoo. This is where writer A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin met the bear, and went on to make him famous. Winnie-the-Pooh has charmed generations of kids, and some have even claimed that Winnie and his friends represent different mental disorders, which could be helpful when teaching kids about them.