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10 Ottawa Born or Raised Celebrities

If you look up “famous people from Ottawa” on Google you’ll be brought to Wikipedia or IMDB with the names of people who are fairly unknown to the world, even to the Ottawa-born.  However, you might just be surprised by some of the names that came up on these pages.


10.  Dan Akroyd

Okay, so you probably knew this one already; it’s one of those “dad facts” that got whipped out every time you watched The Ghostbusters as a kid, and whose dad didn’t love the Blues Brothers, anyway?  Dan Akroyd attended St. Pius X and St. Patrick High School and even studied at Carleton U… ew… but dropped out before getting that little piece of paper that promises you a real job.  He then performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs around Canada and ran an after-hours club in Toronto.  However, Saturday Night Live was his claim to fame where he worked as a writer and actor for the comedy sketch show. 

Fun Fact: Dan Akroyd has webbed toes.

9.  Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette is a famous alt-pop/grunge singer and you probably heard your parents say that she was from Ottawa, but whether you believed them or not is a different story.   However, Morissette was definitely born in Canada’s capital and even attended Immaculata High School and the Glebe Collegiate Institute before moving to Toronto and then to Los Angeles.

Isn’t it a little ironic that her most famous song, Ironic, doesn’t contain any proper examples of irony at all?

 7.  Princess Margriet of the Netherlands

Unfortunately, her Ottawa birth is deemed de facto because the maternity ward of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was temporarily declared as international territory by our government for her birth, but technically speaking, a Princess was born in Ottawa. 

Think about it, you might have been born in the hospital that Princess Margriet and her mother, Queen Juliana, graced with their very royal presence.


6.  Keshia Chanté

I bet you didn’t even know she was born in Canada at all.  She was indeed born in Ottawa and attended St. Peter Catholic High School in Orleans before moving to the Toronto area where she was signed to a record deal.  Seeing her name on Wikipedia’s list of Canadian celebrities was really surprising since I forgot this early-2000’s singer even existed.

5.  Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams was born in Kingston but lived in Ottawa in his teen years before dropping out of Colonel By Secondary School.  He bought his first guitar at the age of 14 after saving up his money from his dishwasher job.  Bryan Adams was the first headliner to ever play at the Palladium, which is now known as the Canadian Tire Centre.


4.  Tom Cruise

Born in Syracuse, NY, actor, writer, producer and scientologist, Tom Cruise, spent some of his younger days in the Beacon Hill area of Ottawa.  Tom Cruise attended Henry Munro Middle School for grade 6 before moving back to the States when his parents separated.

So, if you attended Henry Munro you might have sat at a desk that Cruise once might have jumped onto to declare to the world his love for some poor girl.

3.  Jay Baruchel

Jay Baruchel is so obviously Canadian; he was raised in Montreal, but did you know he was born in Ottawa?  If you’re waiting for nostalgia to kick-in, here’s a little something: he hosted Popular Mechanics for Kids with Elisha Cuthbert, another Canadian actress, and even appeared in the Are You Afraid of the Dark YTV series, before moving on to bigger and better projects like How to Train Your Dragon.

2.  Sandra Oh 

Oh, Sandra! … I feel like I already knew she was Canadian.  She was born in Ottawa and was raised on Camwood Crescent in Nepean.  She was a very involved student at Sir Robert Borden High School, where she founded the BASE Environmental club and was Student Council President.  Later and despite her parents’ advice, she rejected a 4-year journalism scholarship at Carleton to pursue her love for acting at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, before playing her renowned role on Grey’s Anatomy.


1.  Matthew Perry

Perry was born in Massachusetts, but his mother was a Canadian journalist and former press secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and was therefore raised in Ottawa after his parents’ divorce.  He studied at Rockcliffe Park Public School and attended Asbury College before moving to LA to pursue his passion in acting, and to eventually become Chandler Bing in the American TV series Friends.

Stephanie lives with her parents and is currently studying English Literature and German Language at the University of Ottawa. She enjoys stalking the aisles of cramped and unorganized bookstoores, watching Doctor Who, and listening to The Beatles. You can follow her on Twitter @englitsteph and find her writerly Tumblr at www.pen-scratches.tumblr.com .
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