A few little facts about my home country:
- Canada is the 2nd largest Land Mass country is the world - second only to Russia
- There are more people living in California than in all of Canada
- 90% of all Canadians live within 100 miles (or 161 KM) of the US Border. I'm gonna guess it has a lot to do with how friggin cold it is the more northern you get.
- Canada is responsible for Wayne Gretzky, Sydney Crosby (did you see how I led with hockey players? That is also very Canadian of me), Jim Carey, Seth Rogen, Celine Dion, Anne of Green Gables. Rachel McAdams, Michael J Fox, Peter Jennings, James Cameron, William Shatner, Michael Buble, Justin Bieber, Ryan Reynolds (you're welcome) and Ryan Gosling (you're extremely welcome).
- Officially our national sport is Lacrosse - unofficially everyone knows it's Hockey. Bet ya didn't know that one!
I am proud to be Canadian. I love hockey, maple syrup and apologize constantly. I know the words to O Canada in English AND French, I adore the fact that I don't pay when I go to the doctor, I have season tickets to the Vancouver Canucks (thats hockey) and when you ask me if I know your friend Mark from Toronto, the truth is I just might :)
When I started off in my acting career I was told the dream was LA. Get some credits and get out of here as soon as possible. Make sure to lose your Canadian accent and never say eh again.
And I did that.
I was in LA and I tried to Americanize myself as much as possible (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with being American - I love Americans and love America - I've had more American boyfriends than I have Canadian and - well you get the point....) and it was fine and was working and I had my eye on the prize.
But I couldn't stop being me. I dragged my friends to hockey games (this was pre LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup so tickets were dirt cheap), I would have Thanksgiving Dinner in October and talked fondly of my homeland. I tried to stop but it just seemed wrong. I also tried to turn my nose down at the Canadian Film Industry, because people had told me time and time again that it wasn't worth my time, no one cares, we don't make good content, etc. And I bought into it. Almost.
I've been back in Vancouver for almost 3 years now and my opinion of this country and more importantly this industry has changed significantly since I moved to LA.
I am Canadian. It's a fact, it's part of who I am and to deny that part of me is to not be my truly authentic self. I am proud of where I come from, I'm proud of my British ancestors who took a journey on a boat across the ocean to start a new life in Canada, who build a life for themselves on farms in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Yes I learn my American Accent (its pronounced SAR-Y not SOOOORY), and I adore being on the sets of shows like Once Upon a Time and Arrow. I love big Hollywood films and the magic of the movies will always be first and foremost associated with the incredible talents that run Hollywood. But I also love Downton Abby and Sherlock Holmes - and that's what I want for this country. Canada has the talent and the capabilities to be creating the kind of content that is not only consumed by a Canadian audience (which lets admit is pretty small) but by a global audience.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. Right now the 2 biggest summer shows on ABC (which they have put in their prime Thursday night time slot) are Motive - which is SET and shot in Vancouver and Rookie Blue - which is SET and shot in Toronto (neither of which I have been on, or even auditioned for, but that's another story....). And the Vancouver set show Continuum is a huge hit over in the UK and is getting some real attention with an American audience as well.
It's also important to note the kind of funding available to Canadian artists. Tax credits, government grants and Telefilm funding are just some of the ways we can tap into resources and have access to money and opportunities our struggling filmmaker friends to the south just don't have. It's A Disaster was fully funded by private investors and I saw how difficult that was to do when you don't have any other avenue or forms of help. This country loves the arts, we celebrate the arts and that's something to remember - and be proud of.
I guess I'm feeling a tad patriotic, what with this being Canada day and all, but I am proud of who I am - of all the things that make me me. It doesn't matter where you're from or what you being in, don't let anyone tell you to be something other than yourself. In this industry everyone tries to conform to they way they think they should be, but let me tell you if you were raised in a fishing village in Maine or on an old plantation in the south, those things are part of who you are - so embrace them, love them and show the world that you are happy with who you are.
And I will leave you with Tom Brokaw and this awesome story he did on Canada during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. There have never been greater allies or a better friendship than that of the US & Canada :)
HAPPY CANADA DAY!