Dads are an ever-evolving tribe. For many, they are the the men who teach us to kick a soccer ball or ride a bike, forbid us from dating dangerous boys who drive motorcycles, and trust us with their beloved cars. If Father's Day cards have got it right, they also like to barbecue, they have a favourite chair, they like to tinker with things and they love to tell bad jokes.
But increasingly, the modern-day Canadian dad is defying his traditional role by doing more than just flip burgers. He's more involved in raising his kids, from doing the diaper-changing to the cooking to the homework helping. And it's a good thing too -- studies suggest a father's rejection of his kids can have the biggest impact on their development and well-being. In Canada, dear old dad is taking more parental leave, and he's also starting to experience some of the same double-duty stress that moms have felt for years.
So just who is Canada's dad? At his best, he's a reflection of our country's dynamic population: multicultural, ambitious, creative, egalitarian and compassionate. Our by-no-means exhaustive survey of the nation's prominent dads reveals he's a also style maven, a superstar, a comedian, a hockey great, a hero and a humanitarian. He's not Ryan Gosling yet, but one can always hope.
In celebration of Father's Day this year, we bring you a sampling of Canadian fathers we love (apart from our own, that is). Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter. Happy Father's Day, Pops!
With files from Lisa Yeung
Canada's king of stand-up comedy pulls no punches when it comes to his own dad, often sending audiences into fits of uncontrollable laughter with hilarious imitations of his Indian father. He recently became a father himself to Crystianna Marie, who was born prematurely and spent two months in the hospital. Luckily Peters' adorable daughter caught up quickly (he called her a 'heifer' at 9 pounds), and as this photo shows, he likes to incorporate her into his comedy. In 2011, she even made a cameo in his very first Christmas special.
Why We Love Him: Don't let his evil persona Dr. Snow a la Hunger Games fool you; the accomplished actor is also a caring father of five (to Kiefer, Rachel, Rossif, Angus and Roeg). A constant support system for his celebrity son Kiefer, Donald proudly described him as an "astonishingly good" actor at the unveiling of Keifer's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Canadian Bald Guy
Why We Love Him: This dad blogger, who defines himself by his shiny bald head, has four children with the love of his life. None are biologically shared, and he maintains a long distance relationship with his partner, giving a modern take on what it means to parent. His posts reflect a joie de vivre and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Did we mention he used to have hair?
Why We Love Him:Born in Ashern, Manitoba, actor Adam Beach is known for his roles in such blockbuster hits as Smoke Signals, Texas Ranger and Cowboys & Aliens. But he doesn't let fame get to his head; Beach is a devoted dad to his three children (Noah, 16, Luke, 18 and Phoenix, 4) and told Native Peoples magazine that when he's not being a father, he dedicates his free time to helping younger generations of first nations people in need of aid.
Michael J. Fox
Why We Love Him: The beloved Michael J. Fox has won three Emmys, been awarded with Freedom of the City (from the city of Burnaby, BC) and has been a tireless advocate for Parkinson's disease research. He and his wife Tracy have four children, and Fox has said that his own diagnosis of the disease has made him a better father and overall human being.
Why We Love Him: This father of four and former NHL player currently resides in Calgary with his wife, where he once played for the Flames. His impressive hockey career ended in 2003 due to struggles with addiction, which Fleury has revealed were as a result of past sexual abuse at the hand of his coach. In 2009, he documented his experiences in a best-selling autobiography, and has since become an advocate and activist for survivors of child sexual abuse.
One of the world's finest turntablists and also an accomplished cartoonist, Eric San aka Kid Koala has taken fans on the most imaginative musical journeys with his impressive DJ skills. His recent foray into fatherhood with the birth of his daughter Maple inspired him to create Space Cadet, a wordless graphic novel with its own soundtrack about a guardian robot and his daughter. And even though he says she doesn't like his music, Maple is still cool with his hectic tour schedule and even likes touring with him.
Dr. Dave Williams
Why We Love Him: While most people know him as the astronaut who made two groundbreaking treks into space, few know him as low-key father of two. His amazing kid ethos was confirmed when he told Canadian Medicine News that he tries to encourage children to follow their dreams wherever they may take them.
Why We Love Him:: This Canadian is an accomplished academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Strongly encouraged by his father, he is outspoken about passing lessons learned about hard work to his own children and grandchildren. And it may have paid off: his daughters Severn and Sarika share his passion for environmental activism, and the latter joins him on CBC's The Suzuki Diaries, where they explore sustainability issues across the country.
Why We Love Him: Family ties played an important role in the career of Canadian fashion designer and entrepreneur Joe Mimran; he grew up to the sound of a sewing machine. Later, with brother Saul, he launched the Alfred Sung collection, then went on to develop the minimalist style of Club Monaco and the popular fast-fashion brand Joe Fresh. He's not only made time to be an active dad for his four children, he's also been a mentor for his niece and nephew, Tamara and Jordin, as they launch a fashion line of their own.
Why We Love Him: After losing to Rob Ford in last year's mayoral election in Toronto, murmurs about gay fatherhood surfaced as a potential reason for Smitherman's loss. But this doesn't stop the politician from beaming about his growing family and children. In October 2011, The Star reported that he and his partner, Christopher Peloso, were adopting their second child, a little girl. Smitherman's commitment to family was highlighted even as he was defeated by Ford on election night. He told reporters: "What's next for me? You've seen what's next for me: his name is Michael and he's 23 months old."
Why We Love Him: This 32-year old father of three has harnessed his own dark memories of his absent father and is attempting to break the cycle. Tackling the unspoken topic of black fatherhood, Hay founded the Black Daddies Club to provide other like-minded fathers with parenting resources and support. By turning apathy into action, he is changing the face of fathers across the country.
Why We Love Him: Founder and executive chairman of Canada's top luxury men's wear store, Harry is an active philanthropist. Close to his family (4 children and 7 grandchildren), Harry works closely with his eldest son, Larry, who continues to grow his father's empire. Larry speaks proudly of his legendary father, toting him as an important mentor in his life.
Why We Love Him: This father of four pairs his commitment to environmental stewardship with parenting. His cool factor resides in the fact that he has been personally trained by Al Gore and David Suzuki to deliver a slideshow similar to the one in An Inconvenient Truth.
Why We Love Him: A champion of free speech and human rights, this widowed father of four and cyber guru established The Citizen Lab to combat internet surveillance and censorship. His firewall penetrating tool allows people in China and other countries to access websites through their mobile phones.
The hockey world lost one of its greats when Herb Carnegie passed away in March 2012. The Jamaican-born, Toronto-raised hockey player is generally acknowledged as the mighty talent who should have been the first black player in the NHL, but when offered a contract that paid him less than white players, Carnegie returned to play for Quebec leagues. His daughter recalls a time when Carnegie went awol mid-season just so he could return home to his family. After his hockey career, he created the Future Aces, a foundation to help empower youth through academics and sports, and was an active philanthropist.
Why We Love Him: This Scottish-Canadian improve comic genius has had a profound influence over his son, Luke, an avid fan of movies and music who has starred in several television series. Colin expresses fatherly praise for his son on his Twitter account, tweeting "Watch out Vedder" alongside a YouTube video of Luke and a friend singing a rendition of Hallelujah.
Why We Love Him: An admirable husband, businessman, and father, David Eddie chronicles his misadventures with all the grace and good humour one would expect of a Canadian dad. He provides honest and constructive lessons on life, both in his Globe and Mail advice column, and his recent book Damage Control. In his blog, he often shares his adoration for his children (in his last post, he was busy preparing for his son Adam's 8th birthday).
Why We Love Him: Decades after capturing world stage on his famous Man in Motion World Tour, Rick Hansen continues to inspire others living with disabilities. He has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for spinal cord research in his role as president and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation and he is an inspirational force for his three daughters, Emma, Alana, and Rebecca.
Why We Love Him: One of AOL Canada's own, Spinner.ca's Josh Ostroff is a pop-culture connoisseur. A storied journalist whose passions encompass music, television and politics, he's devoted dad who chronicles life with his adorable son, Emile, and wife Carrie for Toronto weekly The Grid and The Huffington Post Canada, giving a voice to involved fathers everywhere.
Why We Love Him: PEI-born Michael Smith is one of Canada's best-known and best-loved chefs. While he inspires families all across North America to create a healthy food lifestyle on air and now on the web (In 2011, he launched his own web series, Food Country), his favourite pastime is being an at-home dad with his family.