Though those of us who live and work in Scarborough don’t like to boast, we should proudly celebrate the many individuals from our community who have attained national and international fame. Some pretty big names come from our humble community! And though Scarborough was absorbed into the City of Toronto in 1998, there is still a distinct feeling of community pride that can be felt throughout the former city.
With this idea of community pride in mind, let’s look at some Scarborough-natives who have become household names, international sports and music stars, and celebrities throughout the past few decades. Here we go!
1) Natalie Spooner
Olympic gold medal hockey player, contestant (and runner-up!) on the second season of The Amazing Race Canada, philanthropist, all around cool person – is there anything this girl can’t do? As you may know, Natalie was born and raised in our very own Scarborough, where she honed her exceptional hockey skills. She is now part of the Toronto Furies women’s hockey team, playing Forward. Natalie also enjoys giving back to the community, and has been involved over the last few years with Scarborough’s youth girl’s hockey team, the Scarborough Sharks.
2) Mike Myers
International man of mystery, Austin Powers… er I mean Mike Myers, is also a proud Scarborough native. You may know him from his many blockbuster films, including Shrek and Wayne’s World, or from television favourites like Saturday Night Live and SCTV. Myers was born in Scarborough to English parents, and graduated from Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute. He’s never been shy about his love of his home city and of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Go Leafs Go, baby!
3) The Weeknd
In case you’ve been living under a rock (which I admit, I was for a while…) you’ve probably heard of The Weeknd. But did you know that this talented musician was from Scarborough? Mind = blown. The artist, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, went to West Hill Collegiate Institute. He’s so popular right now that his most recent single went to #1 on the billboard charts, taking the top spot from… his last single! Talk about awesome. Apparently, his newest album is the second most successful new album of the year, only superseded by Drake. Which is pretty cool, when you think about it, since they both hail from the 6ix! (sorry I had to)
4) Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy is a legend in the car racing world, (known by monicker, “The Chome Horn,” or “The Thrill from West Hill“) who just happens to hail from our own Scarborough! Tracy has competed in several racing series, including IndyCar and NASCAR. He is the only Canadian driver to claim victory twice at the Honda Indy in Toronto (1993 and 2003)! Though he has since retired from the exciting sport, our hometown-hero doesn’t seem to have plans to leave the racing industry for good – last year, he was hired by NBCSN to be a television commentator on the IndyCar series.
5) The Barenaked Ladies
No list of famous Scarberians is complete without mentioning the Barenaked Ladies. Founding members of the band, Ed Robertson and Steven Page, formed a close personal and musical friendship while working at Scarborough Music Camp in the 80s. Eventually, the duo began performing, and adopted the rather intriguing name of “Barenaked Ladies,” the result of an inside joke. Members to the band came and went over the years, but the core duo remained intact until 2009, when Robertson departed the band after 20 years. Through Page and bandmate Jim Creeggan, the Scarborough roots of the band continue to the present day.
6) Kardinal Offishall
Rapper and producer Kardinal Offishall has been an important member of the music industry in Canada since the 90s. Did I mention he was born in Scarborough? His music tends to have reggae influences, a vestige of his upbringing by his Jamaican parents. Kardi, as he is sometimes known, was a prominent member of rap crew “The Circle” along with another Scarborough native, Choclair. For a number of years in the early millennium, he had a collaborative partnership with singer Akon, which produced many well-known hits (such as the 2007 jam, “Dangerous”). He seems like a pretty cool guy, and a great advocate for the Canadian music scene. Just don’t compare him to Drake…
7) Eric McCormack
Eric McCormack is most famous for portraying Will Truman on the critically acclaimed and well loved sitcom Will and Grace, and just so happens to have been born and raised in Scarborough! McCormack, like fellow thespian Mike Myers, attended the Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, where he fell in love with acting. Looks like this dashing actor has Scarborough to thank for his successful career! ( or at least, I like to think so…)
8) Fefe Dobson
You may remember when, in 2003, Scarborough’s own Fefe Dobson crashed onto the international stage with a pop-rock musical style and an attitude to match. She seemed to represent the anti-thesis to industry favourites at the time, Britney Spears other similar bubble-gum pop stars. Early on, Dobson attended the New Conservatory of Music in Agincourt, where she developed her distinct vocal skills. Since her 2003 debut, she has been consistently releasing dynamic and gritty music that goes against the established grain, which, in my opinion, should make all of Scarborough proud!
9) David Furnish
Though he is most widely known as the partner, and other half, of music legend Elton John, Scarborough-native David Furnish has accomplished some pretty awesome things in his own right. An alumnus of Sir. John A. MacDonald Collegiate Institute, Furnish went on to pursue a successful career in advertising and film-making. You may have gone to see one of his films, Gnomeo and Juliet, with your kids! Despite his Canadian roots, this year he was reportedly rated as one of the top 50 best dressed British Men by GQ magazine. Furnish now lives in England, home of his partner Elton John.