Share on Facebook

Great Canadian Quotes

Quirky comments, expert advice and bon mots from eminently quotable Canadians.

1 / 12
NDP MP Jagmeet SinghPhoto: DayOwl/ShutterStock

“I felt that if people are going to stare at me, I might as well give the something to look at.”

                                             – NDP MP Jagmeet Singh, on why he wears colourful turbans, in GQ

“The most important thing in my job is to write down what you believe in and to use money to amplify your moral and ethical perspective.” – Facebook billionaire turned venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, in The Globe and Mail

“I want to be defined by every single day I spent in pursuit of my goals rather than the one lone day I stood on the podium.” – Olympic wrestler Erica Wiebe, on CBC’s Player’s Own Voice

“The most famous term on the show, hands down, is chapared shot. We don’t have a word for slapshot in our language, so we took the word that means a slap to the face and added on shot at the end.” – Sikh NHL announcer Harnarayan Singh to The Players’ Tribune

“The first question when dealing with opiate-dependent human beings should be not ‘why the addiction?’ but ‘why the pain?'” – Retired physician and addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté to CBC News

“Focus on what you love about yourself, because in our society, we’re taught to look [a certain way]. Focus on the things that make you confident.” – Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell, in Hello! Canada

“I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my heart. Our voices were finally heard and listened to. Our pain was acknowledged.” – Marcia Brown Martel, Sixties Scoop survivor, following an Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruling that found the federal government breached its duty of care toward children removed from their homes during the Scoop

“The only major media coverage surrounding the Canadian film industry, year after year, is the same narrative: What’s wrong with the Canadian film industry?… It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Canadians are only hearing about how terrible Canadian films are, I’m not surprised by the lack of interest that they have in our work.” – Filmmaker Kevan Funk, on the Toronto International Film Festival blog

“I realized people either saw me as the guy from the shampoo commercial who went to the Olympics or the Olympian who did the shampoo commercial. So I stopped running from that and embraced it.” – Olympic cyclist Curt Harnett

“The border for me loomed like this enormous picket line.” – Author Linwood Barclay on why he cancelled his U.S. book tour after the election of Donald Trump

“I can’t describe the feeling of having a whole school of kids waving flags and singing songs for you. Your heart flutters a little bit when you see it.” – Canadian-born Icelandic first lady Eliza Reid, on her life post-election

Check out 70 More Great Canadian Quotes!

2 / 12
Canadian figure skater Patrick ChanPhoto: Osadchi/ShutterStock

“When you’re 17, 16, you just get on the ice and do your job. There’s now ‘What if this, what if that…’ Go out, just do your job… But as you get older, that feeling tends to get old. You start thinking externally.”

                                              – Figure skater Patrick Chan

“History will not look well upon those who, in the winter of 2017, played to the reasonable-minded middle while seeking the wisdom of the toxic far right.” – Leah McLaren in The Globe and Mail

“When we’re confronted with information that contradicts what we think and feel, the reaction isn’t to kind of sit back and consider it. The reaction is often to double down on our existing beliefs.” – BuzzFeed News media editor Craig Silverman, on NPR’s Fresh Air

“Rebooting your brain is serious work. It is not just flicking the switch on your computer. You have to go back and do some reprogramming, and it is not easy.” – Kenneth Irving, former CEO of Irving Oil, on his struggle with mental health issues

“Dad always said there are three areas where you have to fight: someone insults your girl or your family or runs your goalie. You have to fight. That’s how we were raised.” – Jared Keeso, actor and co-creator of the sitcom Letterkenny

“The only way to change the law is to break the law.” – Pot activist Jodie Emery, in Flare

“The roles that I’m offered now that I’m in my 30s are a lot of fun. At this age, characters can have different lived experiences. It’s very stimulating to know that people want to see me in different worlds.” – Actor Karine Vanasse, star of the TV show Cardinal

“I think democracy depends on a sense of what I call ‘citizen efficacy’ in a large number of people—a sense that there’s somewhere you can go, some levers you can push, some votes you can make. And that revivifies democracy.” – Philosopher Charles Taylor on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition

“Let’s go from today to be a real society, united. The same way we are united today in our sorrow and in our pain, let us start today to be united in our dreams, our hopes and our plans for the future.” – Imam Hassan Guillet, speaking in February 2017 at the service for three of the six men shot dead at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre

“I never imagined a day would come when I would look at my mosque and wonder if it was safe to go inside. I need my mosque to go back to what it was before the Quebec shootings: a place where my community and I organize, cajole and negotiate with one another, despite the differences of our skin colours, religious outlooks and heat tolerance.” – Little Mosque on the Prairie creator Zarqa Nawaz, in The Globe and Mail

“At the very root of this was my desire to make paintings that could be history paintings, in a sense. Many of these chapters of Canadian history are not found in our art history. There were no paintings that showed the dispossession of Indigenous people from their land… There were no paintings that showed the removal of children from our communities.” – Artist Kent Monkman, on his show Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience on CBC Radio’s Unreserved

3 / 12
Canadian jazz musician Diana KrallPhoto: ShutterStock

“In all the chaos that’s going on, we need a little love and romance.

-Jazz Pianist and Singer Diana Krall on CBC’s Radio’s q

“I know less now than I ever did about how life is supposed to go. It’s relaxing.” -Musician Leslie Feist in an interview with the The New York Times

[One time] my young daughter said, “Mama, I’m white on the outside but Indian on the inside. My bones are brown.” [It] was at once heartwarming and heartbreaking-Piya Chattopadhyay, host of CBC Radio’s Out in the Open, in an essay on the complexity of racial identity

“I would like it to be understood…that all our human economic achievements have been done by ordinary people, not by exceptionally educated people, or by elites or by supernatural forces, for heaven’s sake.” -Late great urbanist Jane Jacobs, in Jane Jacobs: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

“Right from the beginning, I made a commitment to myself that when my children started school I would stop putting myself in front of the camera.” -Galen Weston Jr., to The Globe and Mail, on why he’s transitioning away from being the face of the Loblaws brand

“My father, though he had inter-national acclaim, always reminded me that he got his start in Canada.” -Adam Cohen, son of Leonard Cohen, accepting a Juno for his father’s final album

“People tend to forget that there have always been those who are deniers of history and they deny history for their own reasons. They deny, perhaps, because they’re slow-minded and dim-witted, but more importantly I think it’s because they believe in a certain delusion about our history that they are unwilling to give up.” -Senator Murray Sinclair, responding to fellow Senator Lynn Beyak’s comments about residential schools

“My kid is wasting his childhood doing quadratic equations. I have no reason to support this. Teach them how to do my taxes.” -Author and social media influencer Kelly Oxford on Twitter

“I’m really just a lucky old farm boy… All I ever wanted to do was stick around for a while, but as time went by, I decided I’d play 20 years.” -Gordie Howe 

“I’ve had so many expressions from parents about how my music was special to their children, particularly children with autism. Often they [are] saying, “My autistic child, I don’t know why, but your music talks to him or her and just gets right inside them.” -Beloved children’s entertainer Fred Penner, in Today’s Parent

“Writing saved me. It’s kind of a meditation. You’re in the moment. You’re in the word. You’re in the sentence. I could kind of forget my pain when I was writing.” -Novelist Barbara Gowdy, on how writing her novel Little Sister helped her deal with chronic back pain

“As a recording artist, you’re in a unique position. You have a tangible record of the evolution of your own thinking—I have time capsules of my mind from various stages of my life.” -Musician Sarah Slean on CBC Radio’s q

“It takes me as long to find the right file for an email attachment as it used to to write a letter longhand and send it through Canada Post.” -Stand-up comedian Steve Patterson 

“We’ll be really good neighbours, but sharing the same fridge is not a great thing for us and the rest of Canada. We’d rather have our own place.” -New Bloc Québécois leader Martine Ouellet talking about the party’s commitment to separatism on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition. 

“You can’t go on your whole life longing to do something and never having the guts to do it.” -Comedian Mary Walsh on CBC Radio’s q

“I think there are unsavoury aspects to populism. And I think one needs to deplore those, but I think one needs to focus more on the root causes of that alienation, rather than fixating on just the negative eccentricities of it.” -Preston Manning, on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition

 

Want to keep reading? Check out our Features page

4 / 12
Canadian Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq

“I don’t ever want to be a Kraft cheese slice of music. Overly processed, preconceived to placate the masses, bland and as chem­ical as possible just so it can be bought.”

Canadian Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq, in Now Magazine

“You see how things really work when they start not to work.” – Tiff Macklem, dean of the Rotman School of Management, in U of T Magazine

“As Inuit, our history has been recorded for 4,000 years. We’ve been living up there, hunting and gathering. Basically, that’s what we’re trying to protect: our way of life.” – Jerry Natanine, former mayor of Clyde River, Nunavut, on the community’s fight against seismic testing in Baffin Bay

“Impossible is an attitude. Impossible can be accomplished.” – Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, in U of T Magazine

“I had some of the greatest times anybody ever had walking this earth with Levon. And something happened over time that he became bitter and angry. I felt terrible about that, but I didn’t know how to fix it, so I had to walk away.” – The Band’s Robbie Robertson, on CBC Radio’s q

“The precision of language, married with facts, is the most effective weapon the journalist has to hold people to account. This is never more keenly felt than at times of polarized debate.” – David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail

“Only a third of [health] problems are solved in primary care. The other two-thirds are solved at home, and that’s where we need to go. The hospitals that figure this out will win.” – Dr. Mike Evans, creator of Evans Health Lab, on why encouraging people to adopt healthier habits is the best road to a healthier population, in Maclean’s

“When showering, I like to face the spray, head down, with a hand on the wall, like an athlete who’s been kicked out of a game. Intense!” – Comedian Debra DiGiovanni, on Twitter

“I wanted to write a story that tells the stories we never hear, about overwhelmed social workers, immigrants who can never seem to break out of working poverty and women and children who really aren’t in control of their own lives.” – Author Jen Sookfong Lee on her novel The Conjoined

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to be satisfied with your work. I remember, once, reading about Ray Bradbury. He said that he would go down to his library if he couldn’t sleep, pull out one of his works, read it and think, that was good. Then he’d put it back and be able to go back to bed. That man is the luckiest bastard imaginable!” – Giller Prize–winning author André Alexis, in The Globe and Mail

“If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it.” – Poet Anne Carson, in the Guardian

“Anyone can yell or throw pans. But if you take five minutes and talk to somebody, you’ll get respect and you’ll get the best out of them.” – Chef and television host Matty Matheson, in Canadian Business

“I think I’ve had success because I’ve been able to step away, refresh and have something new to say each time.” – Musician and social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, in Canadian Business 

“It’s not like I get up in the morning and think, Gee, I’m really going to annoy people today. I guess that’s just part of my charm. – Journalist Christie Blatchford, in Toronto Life 

“My philosophy is that you cannot have it all. You have to just be gentle and kind to yourself.”  – Host of ET Canada Cheryl Hickey, in Hello! Magazine

“If you use your art as an instrument of change and you use it with honesty and integrity, you can spread the word of love, of peace, of hope.” – Actor and singer Tom Jackson, on CBC Radio’s Unreserved 

“I like biting off more than I can chew. Once I get something to the point that it’s ‘operating with excellence,’ as I like to call it, then I look for opportunities to expand.” – Businessman and television host Scott McGillivray, in Canadian Business

 

Looking for more inspiration? Learn about other Great Canadians

5 / 12
Astronaut Chris HadfieldPhoto: Shutterstock

“I was very much, like any little kid, afraid of the dark.”

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, in conversation about his children’s book, The Darkest Dark 

“I met Coco Chanel on my second trip to France, and at first she wouldn’t speak with me. But then she looked at my pictures and said suddenly that she could speak perfect English.” – Photographer Douglas Kirkland, in The Globe and Mail

“I love, love, love what I do. I don’t need to be this big, huge superstar that’s on the side of every bus and on every billboard in New York. Maybe this comes with age, but I know what I can do and what I’m good at. I’ve finally found out at age 47 where I fit in.” – Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, in The Globe and Mail 

“In cultural terms and in film and television terms, I live in an occupied country. When I walk out of my home, I look up, and nine times out of 10, I look into the eyes of an American film star.” – Actor Eric Peterson, on CBC Radio’s q 

“You need a token self out there—that self is the one that people hate or love. That’s the self that people feel they own. But you don’t put your real self out there—that would be far too painful and difficult.” – Sacha Trudeau, on what he learned from watching his late father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau

“I wanted to create a sensation in fiction that you get when you’re online and you fall down a rabbit hole and you’re like, What the hell just happened? And you fall down another rabbit hole.” – Douglas Coupland, to The Globe and Mail, on his new book, Bit Rot 

“I went to Loblaws yesterday and an old gentleman came up and said, “Oh, it’s you! You’re one of the original Canadian actors.” I said, ‘Well I didn’t go to auditions with John A. Macdonald!’” – Actor Gordon Pinsent, in Zoomer Magazine

“For me the task is to tap every young Canadian on the shoulder, offering the prospect of learning at the post-secondary level.” – Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, on his belief that all Canadians should have a chance to attend university, in the National Post

“I am a mother of four, a wife, an Olympic athlete, a writer, a speaker, a change-maker. I am also someone who has experienced mental illness. I hope that we have the imagination to define one another in our complexity.” – Silken Laumann, in the Huffington Post

“My journey through the hockey world was a roller coaster, and there were times when I was left bitter. [My wife] Kina has taught me balance. She has taught me how to let go of negative feelings. Since the time I started playing pro hockey until today, my life is as good as it’s ever been.” – Former NHL player Eric Lindros, in a speech he delivered after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

“If you control the seed, you control the food system. And you control people, ultimately.” – Farmer Terry Boehm, in The Globe and Mail, responding to the proposed merger of conglomerates Bayer and Monsanto

Comedy is a pretty cold field. It’s very mathematical. In some ways, emotions can get in the way of comedy.”  – Actor and comedian Scott Thompson, in consequenceofsound.net

“When we were kids, asking someone if they had an innie or an outie was making conversation. Back then it was like asking,  ‘So, what do you do?’ ” – Jonathan Goldstein, Twitter

“There is a crack ineverything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Musician and poet Leonard Cohen, from his album The Future

“Our parents were terrified of cancer when we were younger. My generation is afraid of Alzheimer’s.” – Canadian Politician Lisa Raitt, youtube.com 

“I don’t cook often. But when I do, I always have cereal.” – Actress Laura Vandervoort, Twitter

“My parents are quite reserved in English but funny and boisterous in their mother tongues. Some of my best memories are of my mom sitting with her sisters and laughing and talking all night.” – Novelist Madeleine Thien, in the Guardian

 

Want to read more about great Canadians? Check out our full one-on one interview with Astronaut Chris Hadfield!

6 / 12
Celine DionPhoto: Shutterstock

“I don’t care about comfort. When you start thinking about comfort, you’re getting old. And I’m just getting started.”

Céline Dion, on whether she’d choose fashion over comfort, in Vogue

“If men don’t call out men when we are being sexist, then we are not a part of the solution, and the problem persists.” – Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden, in a Huffington Post blog post

“I always felt like I was wearing men’s clothes into court to administer men’s laws.” – Retired Ontario Superior Court judge Marie Corbett, on CBC’s The Current

“The next time you think political correctness has “gone too far,” ask yourself if maybe you are the one saying unproductive, small-minded or stupid things. Just as important, we all need to remember that nothing is ever correct until we argue the point—and usually not even then.” – Philosopher and professor Mark Kingwell, in The Globe and Mail

“I don’t accept produce arriving from outside of the country. It’s not possible for me. That’s a rule in the kitchen. All of my chefs say, “If people bring in something like that, it’s the last day they work.” – Renowned Quebec chef Normand Laprise, in The Globe and Mail

“I remember [my dad] picked me up from the airport after my first husband had declared that he wanted a divorce. I was so broken. I got into the car and my dad had … some Kleenex and a note that said “common ground, common values, common goals.” He told me that those were central to a good relationship.” – Actress and producer Jennifer Podemski, in an interview with the website She Does the City

“When I came out publicly in 1988 as Canada’s first openly gay MP, it was still legal to fire us from our jobs, deny access to basic services, throw us out of our homes, promote hatred and violence and deny any recognition of our relationships and families, solely because of who we loved.” – Former NDP MP Svend Robinson, in The Globe and Mail

“As someone who believes strongly in public broadcasting, leaving the CBC’s flagship will not be easy. But what’s important is that The National of the future will continue to reflect our world, our country and our people.” – Peter Mansbridge, announcing his upcoming retirement as anchor of The National 

“I left science because I believed more strongly in the larger truths that literature provides. It’s not that I don’t believe the truths of science, I just didn’t want to spend my life obsessing over data.” – Former primatologist-in-training Andrew Westoll on becoming an author

“The reality for black people now, in this moment in time in the world, is: whether you fight or not, you die anyway. So I’m going to fight. I think that fear is always a part of change, and I think fear is what makes people resist change, and I think we have to confront that fear head-on.” – Janaya Khan, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, in Maclean’s

“There is something particular about Canada, with its atmosphere of benevolent neglect, of letting people alone, that makes it possible for those who arrive with nothing to sense that they can belong and be part of something they can help to construct.” – Adrienne Clarkson, in The Globe and Mail

“Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.” – Scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, to Global News

“You think you’re going to reach a certain age and become this wise person on the mount. That’s true to a point, but you’re still trying to figure it out.” – Actress Kim Cattrall, in Chatelaine

“If I have a choice between looking something up and making it up, I’ll make it up every time.” – Novelist W.P. Kinsella, in Quotes.com

“There’s an immense joy in getting to tell women’s stories that we don’t normally see.” – Actress Tatiana Maslany, to The Globe and Mail

“I’m the person who’s seen all the Lord of the Rings movies and can tell you that in one scene, one of the characters has a wristwatch on.” – Author Margaret Atwood, in New York Magazine

“This suggestion that some immigrants are ‘anti-Canadian’ does not represent our Conservative Party or our Canada.” – Politician Michael Chong, to CBC News

 

Looking for more inspiration? Read these12 Extraordinary Real Life Stories About the Kindness of Strangers!

7 / 12
Chief Justice Beverley MclachlanPhoto: Shutterstock

“Like every other human institutional endeavour, justice is an ongoing process. It is never done, never fully achieved. Each decade, each year, each month, indeed each day, brings new challenges.”

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

“I’ve seen so many headlines … about the cost of the [Missing and Murdered Indigenous women] inquiry, and how it’s “higher than expected.” I wonder if the media will comment in the same way about the cost of Canada’s 150th birthday cele­brations we will be bombarded with in 2017.” – Cree activist Erica Violet Lee, in Vice

Style is the way we express who we are without speaking.” – Fashion Police co-host Brad Goreski, in Hello!

“Whistle-blowers must be encouraged, protected and given recognition for their courage. In corrupt situations, whistle-blowers—even if they’re participants—are the best sources of information.” – Richard Pound, founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency

“I’m happy that I captured them, so I can get a better sleep.” – Torontonian Roberto Vazquez, after he caught all 142 available Pokémon in the augmented reality game Pokémon Go

“It is one of the profound ironies of Canada—and one that no one even thinks about: although we praise multiculturalism and have even placed the idea in the Constitution, we are the most integrationist country in the Western world.” – Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson, in his final column

“I really don’t understand why we’ve decided that feeding patients and students terrible food is okay.” – Chef and activist Joshna Maharaj, on CBC Radio’s q

“The best way to get a good sleep at night is to think that you belong in a society that’s steadily and smoothly moving forward, but that’s not human history.”
Writer Malcolm Gladwell, on Revisionist History, his new podcast

“Women are hilarious. They’re dirty. They’re smart. They’re irreverent. But you don’t really see that on television.” – Baroness von Sketch Show co-creator Jennifer Whalen

“Canada is a trading nation. It started with furs, wood, resources…. But because of local politics, we have more difficulty selling goods and services between our own provinces and territories than we do to and from the United States.” – Former MP Martha Hall Findlay, in The Walrus

“You never know where life will take you. I studied mime in Paris in the mid-1970s, then I moved to St. John’s, N.L., and got a job in radio! If you think you know where you’re going, you have another thing coming.” – Jeanne Beker, in Canadian Living

“It can seem as if we are living in a world where fact, truth and evidence no longer exert the rational pull they once did.” – Philosopher Mark Kingwell, in The Globe and Mail

“My mom is my everything. When times get tough, she is always only a phone call away. She helps me get over the hump. I wish I could be with her all the time.” –
Olympian Andre De Grasse, to The Globe and Mail

“If you ever feel like you’re amazing and in control, have some children.” – Comedian Seán Cullen, on Twitter

“I love being a Member of Parliament. I don’t love politics. I don’t love being the leader of the Green Party. It’s not really something I’d recommend to a good friend. It’s not fun.” – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, to The Globe and Mail

“I’ve always believed that the canoe is so important that there would be no Canadian history [without it]—no canoe, no Canada.” – Author Roy MacGregor, to CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter

“I have always been fascinated by people and by behaviour. I spend a lot of time just staring, watching people on the street.” – Actress Emily VanCamp, in Sharp

“All your songs are like your kids. You don’t really play favourites. When it’s finished, you send it out into the world.” – Musician Sylvia Tyson, in Maclean’s

 

Looking for more inspiration ? Here’s what 5 Famous Canadians Say Canada Means to Them!

8 / 12
Full Frontal's Samantha BeePhoto: Shutterstock

“Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our f!*&ing problems.”

Samantha Bee, responding to the shooting at the Orlando gay club Pulse, on her show Full Frontal

“I’m not saying I didn’t work hard in the gym as a ski racer, because I did. But cycling really has taken it to a new level. The workload that is required to be the best in the world is different.” – Georgia Simmerling, the first Canadian athlete to compete in three different Olympic sports

“Riding a bike is faster than walking and slower than driving a car; it’s just right.” – Broadcaster Sook-Yin Lee, to CBC Books

“Playing the accordion did not make me a chick magnet.” – Actor and comedian Eugene Levy, in US Weekly

“Architecture is not about putting up a pretty structure; it’s about making contributions to humanity. You have to think in terms of inclusion.… If I were a 32-year-old German, how would I feel? How about a Middle Eastern woman with a baby in a buggy—how does she feel? You make yourself into a crowd of people.” – Architect Raymond Moriyama, in Maclean’s 

“I describe myself as an unhyphenated conservative.” – Politician Jason Kenney, to CBC News

“I regret not having my children earlier, so I could have had more. Either more children or more time with them in this life.” – Musician Chantal Kreviazuk, in Toronto Life

“I miss the point a lot and end up asking a lot of dumb questions. That keeps my ego in check.” – Actor Ari Millen, in Toronto Life

“I always tell people, when you’re hosting a dinner party for a group, cook what you’re comfortable with and you’ll never fail.” – Chef Rob Feenie, in the Globe and Mail

“Don’t be so self-conscious about your Angry-Baby-from-The Simpsons eyebrows. They’ll get you a wonderful job one day.” – Actress Annie Murphy on the advice she’d give her younger self

“We work together. We have to share a face, an identity. We have to sleep next to each other on a bus.… So the fact that we even enjoy each other is a miracle.” – Tegan Quin, half of the twin-sister musical duo Tegan and Sara

“I’m single with no kids, except the 163,000-plus that I’m honoured to work with on equity issues.” – Gitxsan activist Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

“I have never held a Canadian writer as a model…because the theme and the style of Canadian literature are irrelevant to my work…. I am alone, singular, peculiar and foreign to the establishment that governs and controls Canadian literature.” – The late Bajan-Canadian writer Austin Clarke, in his memoir, ’Membering 

“I’m a farm girl—I’m much more comfortable on a farm than I am a streetcar!” – The Social’s Melissa Grelo, in Hello!

“Even if you have a strong vision, you’ll have moments at 3 a.m. when you question yourself. So you need people who believe in you.” – Indigo Books and Music CEO Heather Reisman, in Canadian Business

“The worst piece of advice young people get is, ‘Do this one day, but for now you need two years in this job or it’ll look bad on your resumé.’ You’re not building your life for resumé readers. Just get going. You’ll figure it out.” – CBC Dragon Michele Romanow, in Canadian Business

 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these 13 Reasons Its Great To Live in Canada!

9 / 12
Xavier DolanPhoto: Shutterstock

“Everything we do in life, we do to be loved, to be accepted. I will make films my whole life, loved or not.”

Filmmaker Xavier Dolan, to the Globe and Mail

“What I learned early on was that you had to be a little crazy to survive in the NHL. In my first NHL game, I had three teeth knocked out. From then on, if someone wanted to hit me in the mouth, they’d have to come through some lumber to get there.” – Former Hockey player Gordie Howe, in the Toronto Star

“I don’t like the [phrase] ‘moving on’ because you never move on: you just adapt. And you, in some ways, just survive. And you change.” – TV host, designer and writer Steven Sabados, to CBC News

“A great song’s greatest attribute is how it hints at more.” – Musician Gord Downie, in Maclean’s

Canadian stories are everyone’s stories. They’re universal.” – Actor and director Jason Priestley, to CBC Radio’s q

“I can act like an extrovert, but that’s a performance. It takes a lot out of me.” – Retired Ballet Dancer Karen Kain, in Toronto Life

“I really don’t like being on television. I find it intimidating, discomforting. It makes me uneasy. It is not natural to be talking to a piece of machinery. But the money is very good.” – Renowned television journalist Morley Safer, who passed away last May at the age of 84

“A basic income is a simpler and more transparent approach to fighting poverty than our current patchwork of social programs.” – Senator Art Eggleton, in the Huffington Post

“I’d love to live my current age in, like, 50 years. I’d love to see what kind of technology we would have at our disposal. I’ve seen so much change in my lifetime that I want to be part of more.” – Pop singer Lights, in Toronto Life

“I was standing next to an African-American woman and I said to her, “So what is this neighbourhood like?” I was thinking I have some level of connection to her because my skin is brown. But she looked me up and down and said, ‘You wouldn’t last one minute here.’”- Reporter Ian Hanomansing on covering the 1992 L.A. riots, in the new book That’s Why I’m a Journalist

“In these…economically narcissistic, ideologically polarized and rhetor­ically tempestuous times, in a world that too often feels like it’s spinning out of control, we need a legal profession that worries about what that world looks and feels like to those who are vulnerable.” – Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella, in a convocation speech delivered at Yale Law School

“I think when someone’s dying there’s this level of urgency that makes you want to capture everything.” – Trey Anthony, comedian and creator of Da Kink in My Hair, discussing family ties and the death of her grandmother on CBC Radio q

“I knew there were a lot of guys there. Yes, it’s the military, but it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be accepted because I’m a woman.” – Col. Jennie Carignan, Canada’s first female combat general, on enlisting in the army in 1986

“I want to make people realize how opera is important in their lives.” – Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in The Guardian, upon being named director of the New York Metropolitan Opera

“I used to treat my phone like a lover—I would go to bed with it and wake up cradling it in my arms. Now I wake up, I do some breathing in bed and then I focus on setting my intention for the day.” – Traci Melchor, host of CTV’s The Social, on building healthy habits, in the Globe and Mail

“A story is about moving from one state to another, a movement that, in more interesting fiction, is psycho­logical, involving a growth of awareness, a gathering of insight about what it means to be human.” – The late novelist Carol Shields, in the book Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing

“Migrant workers pay taxes for the services Canadians enjoy, but we don’t get full health care, employment insurance, pensions or social benefits such as subsidized housing or education.” – Teta Bayan, migrant worker, in the Globe and Mail

“When I was young, I often used to think, What a pity that Canada had a rather boring history. I wondered why we didn’t have revolutions and civil wars and invasions like proper countries did. Now that I’m more sensible, I realize how lucky we are to have had this very peaceful evolution.” – Historian Margaret MacMillan, on CBC Radio’s Ideas

 

Looking for more inspiration? Read about the Canadians who are turning the country’s least bike-friendly city in a cyclist’s haven!

10 / 12
Actress Catherine O'HaraPhoto: Shutterstock

“Even before you’ve earned it, treat yourself and your career with the level of respect that you hope to one day deserve.”

Actress Catherine O’Hara, in Canadian Business

“The nice thing about the selfie is that you’re the director of the shot….I want to learn how to love the selfie. I think it would be empowering.” – Writer Mona Awad, in Elle

“As a reporter at CITY-TV, I got to go to all the 100th birthday parties, and if I learned anything, it was that I don’t want to live forever.” – Television and radio host Dini Petty, to the Toronto Star

“I used to play baseball only for myself. Now I play baseball for my family.” –Baseball player Michael Saunders, to Sportsnet

“We need to move beyond our comfort zones, whatever they might be. When we are surrounded by safety and the known, it’s natural for us to not be our largest selves.” – Writer Alissa York, in Hazlitt

“One time I was in a casting meeting, and my shoe flew into the casting director’s face. She ducked. I remember her saying, ‘Well, I won’t forget you.’” – Model Coco Rocha, in Canadian Business

“I love singing gibberish. I feel like I make much more sense with gibberish than with words. I’m talking, even if you don’t understand me.”  – Singer Mary Margaret O’Hara, in the Globe and Mail 

“She wasn’t surprised at all to see people saying “What would Jane Jacobs have thought?” But what Jane Jacobs would have thought was, Think for yourself.” – Jim Jacobs, son of the iconic urbanist, in Curbed 

“Changing only two words…gives Canada an inclusive anthem that respects who we were and what we have become as a country.” – MP Mauril Bélanger at the second reading of his bill to make Canada’s national anthem gender-neutral. The bill passed in the House of Commons in June “Attawapiskat is a lightning rod for the debate in regard to the plight of Canada and its original peoples. Attawapiskat is a microcosm of intergenerational trauma. And Attawapiskat, the home of those people I love, is the spear’s tip in the battle over how we will move forward as a nation.” – Novelist Joseph Boyden, in Maclean’s  

“I found this stack of fashion magazines my mom had left around. I was looking at the shoots, and I wanted to read about the fashion designers. So I got a dictionary…and that’s really how I learned the language.” – Designer Jason Wu, artistic director of Hugo Boss’s womenswear line, on teaching himself English through fashion after moving to Canada from Taiwan at age nine

“I cannot in good conscience perform in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation.” – Bryan Adams on cancelling his concert in Mississippi to protest new anti-gay legislation, on Instagram

“No one expects the town they grew up in to someday disappear.” – Nils Edenloff, lead singer-guitarist of the band Rural Alberta Advantage, on the fires in Fort McMurray

If you were always happy, you’d suck. You wouldn’t force yourself into doing things differently. – Musician deadmau5, a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman

“Having a baby when you’re in a wheelchair is absolutely possible. You need to be a bit more organ­ized, do a bit more research and be a bit more structured, maybe. But life can still be very normal for both the parent and the child.” – Senator and Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc, on Ici Radio-Canada 

“This is killing me as a Newfoundlander…. We will be the only province that taxes books, and we’re shutting all the libraries down, and we have one of the highest illiteracy rates in the country.” – Rick Mercer on Newfoundland’s plans to close more than half the province’s libraries, on CBC Radio’s Because News

“I’m wondering if we’re well served by a conventional wisdom that’s reduced the voter to a simple-minded consumer who’s only out for herself. Could it be that the voter is actually hungry to be treated as a citizen?”  – Journalist and former NDP candidate Linda McQuaig, in the Toronto Star

“We will introduce legislation in spring 2017 that ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals…. As with all other drugs, we want to look at it—I will be looking at it—through the lens of public health.”  – Canada’s health minister, Jane Philpott, on the federal government’s plans to legalize marijuana by 2018

 

Looking for more inspiration? Read How One Family Fled the Soviet Union and Found Freedom in Canada.

11 / 12
Actor-comedian Seth RogenPhoto: Shutterstock

“When I was 16 I moved to L.A. I asked my grandmother if she had any advice. I’ll never forget her answer: “Give those sons of b*****s hell.”

– Actor and comedian Seth Rogen

Reading is an activity that causes the brain to wonder again.… Whenever I finish a book, I put it down and the world seems to explode with new meanings. On some level, literature assumes that every reader is a child. – Novelist Heather O’Neill, on the literary website The Millions

I wish I could believe that nothing should ever, ever be censored under any circumstances. I don’t think I do believe that, though. – Poet Dennis Lee, in January Magazine

I refuse to become tough. – Singer-songwriter Emily Haines

While most people like the notion of free time, actually having to deal with it is horrible. It’s a deal with the devil. At least when they’re employed they don’t have to do deal with the free fall, the nothingness of free time. – Artist and author Douglas Coupland, in The Guardian 

I think people mistake yelling really loudly for comedy. – Actor and comedian Jason Jones, in the online publication IndieWire 

I was asked to do some jokes, both in French and in English. Of course, when I was making jokes in French, I was making fun of the anglos and vice versa. And I was expecting to have the crowd laughing—your turn to laugh, my turn to laugh—but that’s not what happened. Everybody laughed at all of the jokes. – Bon Cop Bad Cop actor Patrick Huard remembering the moment, while presenting at the Genie Awards, that he got the idea for a bilingual comedy

I’m the kind of guy who would have kids before getting married. The first thing would be kids. Marriage is scary to me, man. – Musician The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye

“Follow your heart,” they say, “and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I don’t know who it is that feels this way, but it’s certainly not me. The way I see it, following your heart is the hardest thing you can do. – Olympic cyclist Monique Sullivan, on CBC Sports

It is time to remind ourselves why we developed such a passionate and, we thought, unshakable commitment to democracy and human rights, to remember the three lessons we were supposed to have learned from the concentration camps of Europe: indifference is injustice’s incubator; it’s not just what you stand for, it’s what you stand up for; and we can never forget how the world looks to those who are vulnerable. – Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella, in a commencement speech at Brandeis University

I try to live up to what I’m paid to do. – Nashville Predators defenceman P.K. Subban, in the National Post

I think real leadership is being yourself and having an apt willingness to do whatever job is in front of you, regardless of your position. – Chef Hugh Acheson, to Eater.com

Science is one of the few institutions remaining that seeks the truth. – Author and science journalist Bob McDonald

For Native people, art and culture are not separate. The art of West Coast carvers is inseparable from their heritage. Same with Inuit sculpture and Cree beading. Anything that infringes upon our art can be considered a direct threat to our culture. So, understandably, Indigenous people react. – First Nations playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, in The Globe and Mail 

People are very nice when they see me. They ask me, “How come they don’t make movies like they used to?” – Actor and comedian Rick Moranis

I’ve never had that need to be the ringmaster with the whip. When you have everything working beautifully, get out of the way. – Director David Cronenberg, in Canadian Business

Curling fans are very knowledgeable and respectful, but when they are cheering for their home team, things can sometimes change. You hear cheers for misses, the odd heckle—I personally think it is great. – Curler Brad Gushue, on CBC Sports

I’ve never been bored a day in my life. – Singer-songwriter Jann Arden

 

Looking for more inspiration? 10 Celebrities Reveal the Great Canadians Who Inspired Them

12 / 12
Former Governor General David JohnstonPhoto: Shutterstock

“The wonderful thing about this country is that we don’t shy away from debate and discussion.”

Former governor general David Johnston

I have an expression: if you’re always right, you’re wrong. Because you’ve never taken that step off that might be a little different. – Issy Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons hotel chain, in The Globe and Mail

I do not owe it to never have a snarky comment to anybody. I do not owe it to people to have a frontal lobotomy. – Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, responding to criticism for publicly criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump

Getting pregnant is the only celebratory life event you can’t immediately celebrate. – Television personality, Jessi Cruickshank

I definitely fell in love with this seal … all of a sudden here’s a top predator, and not only are you getting to see it, it’s interacting with you, it’s trying to force-feed you penguins, it’s trying to take care of you. It’s a very, very humbling thing. – Photographer and biologist Paul Nicklen on the relationship he built with a leopard seal, on NPR

I think people think that because I’ve had success that I’m confident 100 per cent of the time. But I’m not always confident. – Love It or List It’s Jillian Harris, in Hello! Canada

With social media, people assume your life is perfect from pictures, but there are so many challenges. We don’t sleep a lot, we hope to God that we’re doing this parenting thing right and we’re constantly asking ourselves whether all of this work is worth it. We’re very lucky, but it’s definitely not perfection. – Jessica Mulroney, in Toronto Life

There are millions of people in the world …who are stateless or in hiding or are undocumented … To categorize a person as “illegal” is thoroughly offensive to the concept of humanity. – Author Lawrence Hill

I love the feeling of being part of a collective spirit. One of my all-time favourite quotes is: “When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we,’ even illness becomes wellness.”– Actress, writer and producer Jennifer Podemski, in The Globe and Mail

Understanding someone artistically is one of the most powerful things you can be involved in. – Musician Kevin Drew, to Pitchfork

I think democracy depends on a sense of what I call “citizen efficacy” in a large number of people—a sense that there’s somewhere you can go, some levers you can push, some votes you can make, and that revivifies democracy. – Philosopher Charles Taylor, on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition

Every day you have to reset the clock. Things happen … Don’t accumulate it. – Singer/Songwriter Céline Dion

Landed in Newfoundland and was taken by someone I’d never met to someone else I’d never met’s house for lobster and rum. That’s hospitality! Or kidnapping. – Comedian DeeAnne Smith, on Twitter

When I was teaching at a university, a fellow faculty member shot a question at me during a staff meeting: when did I plan on getting pregnant? On other occasions, I was asked how I wanted to be treated: as a woman or as a scientist. Later, when I asked a university official why I was being paid in the bottom 10th percentile, I was told it was because I was a woman. – Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan on the gender gap in science, in The Globe and Mail

Soccer for me started as a way of connecting to people. It wasn’t about the sport. It was the connection. – Canadian Soccer Goalkeeper, Karina LeBlanc

Part of my working theory on comedy—and maybe just all art—is that it’s supposed to feel like an inside joke, but you’re supposed to try to get everyone to feel like they’re in on the inside joke. – Twitter celebrity Jonathan Sun, author of the book Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too

We complicate things too much. Just cook with the season using fresh ingredients and don’t get intimidated by it. – Chef Lynn Crawford