1.The biggest summer movies of 2013 have Canadian DNA: Aside from the Canadian-packed comedy This is the End, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was filmed in Toronto. The Wolverine features everyone’s favourite mutant Canuck. Kick-Ass 2features the dark return of Jim Carrey of Newmarket, Ont. And really, Star Trek Into Darkness would be just a glimmer in J.J. Abrams’s eye if it weren’t for William Shatner, native of Côte Saint-Luc, Que.
2. Our opera house is tops: There’s no city in North America with an opera house to compare to the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. Jack Diamond, who built it, was promptly handpicked by Valery Gergiev to build the new Mariinsky II theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
3. The best small-screen sci-fi is secretly Canadian: Revolution may be keeping on the lights at NBC and The Walking Dead may be an American creation, but the best small-screen science fiction—the series that thrill both critics and audiences—are secretly Canadian. Continuum, Lost Girl, Haven and Orphan Black are all capturing both record ratings and critics’ notoriously fickle hearts—and all are filmed here, funded by our networks and starring a host of talented Canadian actors (albeit some of whom are masked in layers of monster makeup).
4. Our broadcast TV doesn’t have to treat adults like children: Maybe it’s because Americans are such sensitive folk, or it’s our ill-defined role as cultural bridge between the U.S. and Europe, but Canadian TV regularly gets away with showing things broadcast networks south of the border can’t: nipples, F-bombs and the like. WhenThe Sopranos aired unedited on CTV, executive producer David Chase said that could never happen on U.S. network TV: “It’s just not possible, we have rules against that.”
5. We’re funnier: Hollywood and American network television have known it for decades. Wayne and Shuster, Lorne Michaels, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey—all examples of our comedy supremacy. And a new generation of Canadian comics is keeping the tradition alive. Vancouver slacker Seth Rogen has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable comedians, along with Brampton, Ont.’sMichael Cera and Montreal’s Jay Baruchel (all three star in this summer’s apocalyptic comedy This is the End).
6.We’re better at special effects: While demand for blockbuster visual effects in movies skyrockets, California’s special effects industry is collapsing. Why? They can’t keep up with Canada (or Britain or Asia or New Zealand, but that’s beside the point). In Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg, visual effects artists have been taking over the design of explosions, gore and CGI monsters as our technical schools pump out skilled graduates, and movie studios outsource to take advantage of Canada’s generous tax breaks.
7. Hollywood is taking advice from . . . Quebec? Not content with ripping off their own ideas, Hollywood is now so desperate for fresh-ish material that it’s turning to the biggest and brightest Quebec auteurs for help. Montrealer Ken Scott is currently remaking his 2011 Québécois hit Starbuck, this time called Delivery Man and starring Vince Vaughn. Scott is so in demand that he was originally hired to direct the English-language remake of Jean-François Pouliot’s comedy La grande séduction, now being filmed by fellow Canadian Don McKellar, and starring B.C. native Taylor Kitsch.
8. Canadian musicians rule the charts: Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber,Carly Rae Jepsen—and those are just the mildly tolerable pop stars Canada has produced recently. This year will also see releases from Arcade Fire, the Weakerthansand the reunited critical darlings, Death from Above 1979. Our filmmakers are wilder: David Lynch, eat your heart out. Canadian movies are wilder and weirder–necrophilia in Kissed, David Cronenberg’s car-crash fetishism and twin gynecologists, and Atom Egoyan’s films about father-daughter incest, a schoolgirl stripper, and a wife who hires a young hooker to test her husband. Our filmmakers are more worldly, too: Unlike Americans, who wait for the rest of the world to learn English, Canadians get Oscar nominations for foreign-language films, and not just ones in French—Deepa Mehta’s Hindi-language Water was nominated in 2007.
9. We know our art: When museums want to tour their blockbuster exhibits, they know to stop here first. From the Picasso show at the AGO to Sebastião Salgado’s work at the ROM, Canada is the stop for top-tier North American premieres.
10.Our festivals rule: TIFF is by far North America’s most important film festival, and the world’s second-biggest after Cannes.Hot Docs is North America’s biggest documentary festival. Contact is the continent’s biggest photography festival. Just For Laughs is the biggest comedy festival. Montreal’sJazz Festival is still the largest, with the most free concerts, the largest purpose-built downtown outdoor concert space and the most audacious programming. And Toronto’s Caribana is the continent’s biggest Caribbean carnival.