12 Of The Coolest People Who Hail From Edmonton

The Big E is home to some pretty influential people.

With a population of over one million, it's no surprise that Edmonton, Alta. is the birthplace of some pretty influential people. In fact, two of the most outstanding Edmontonians in Canadian history are women's rights activists Nellie McClung and Emily Murphy.

These two women were part of The Famous Five, an Alberta group who fought for women to be recognized as "persons" under Canadian law. While the Supreme Court of Canada originally dismissed their petition, the group appealed to the British Privy Council — the country's highest court at the time — and won the case in 1929.

Besides McClung and Murphy, there are plenty of other cool Canadians who hail from Edmonton. From Tommy Chong to k.d. lang, here are 12 other Canucks who were born or raised in The Big E.

The day job: Retired actor/activist

The backstory: Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, but moved to Burnaby, B.C. with his family at the age of 10. Although he was first known as an actor and most notably starred as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future," he's now made a name for himself as an activist. After he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the '90s, he created the Michael J. Fox Foundation to not only raise awareness of the disease, but to help find a cure.

The day job: Singer/songwriter

The backstory: Ruth B might only be 22 years old, but she's already made her mark on the music scene. The Edmontonian got her big break after she began sharing six-second covers on Vine in 2013. Two years later, she signed with Columbia Records, the same label that works with big stars like Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams and Adele. With hits like "Lost Boy" and "Superficial Love," it's no wonder Ruth B was named Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards.

The day job: Novelist

The backstory: W. P. Kinsella is known for penning the famous Canadian novel Shoeless Joe, which was adapted into the hit 1989 film "Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner. According to the National Post, Kinsella wrote nearly 30 books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry over the course of his life, often about baseball and Canada's First Nations. Kinsella, who died in 2016, was an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of British Columbia.

The day job: Comedian/actor

The backstory: You'll recognize this goofball as Leo from "That '70s Show" or as one half of the Grammy Award-winning comedy duo Cheech & Chong. The 79-year-old actor was born in Edmonton, but later moved to Calgary with his family. Today, Chong is known as a famed advocate for marijuana use.

The day job: Actress

The backstory: Olivia Cheng is a broadcast journalist-turned-actress. Before getting her big acting break on the Netflix series "Marco Polo," the 38-year-old worked as a journalist and ET Canada correspondent. She also appeared in minor roles on shows like "Fringe," "Supernatural" and "The Flash."

The day job: Professional hockey player

The backstory: Dion Phaneuf is an NHL defenseman for the Ottawa Senators. The 32-year-old formerly played for the Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is married to fellow Albertan Elisha Cuthbert (she's from Calgary) and is the cousin of Quebec figure skating champion Cynthia Phaneuf.

The day job: Author

The backstory: Kit Pearson, nee Kathleen Margaret Pearson, is an award-winning author from Edmonton. She is best known for her young adult novels, including A Handful of Time (1987), The Sky Is Falling (1989), and Awake and Dreaming (1996), which won the Governor General's Award. Pearson was honoured with the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence in 2014.

The day job: Actor/producer

The backstory: Nathan Fillion is one of the most famous Edmontonians. Although he is currently known for his lead role on the ABC series "Castle," he has starred in a number of other films and TV shows such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly." He's also done voiceover work for video games, such as Halo 3.

The day job: Singer/songwriter

The backstory: k.d. lang is an award-winning pop and country singer who hails from The Big E. Throughout her over 30-year music career, lang has won a number of Juno and Grammy Awards and collaborated with well-known artists such as Elton John and Tony Bennett. One of the 55-year-old's most notable performances was when she sang "Hallelujah" by fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The day job: Dancer/choreographer

The backstory: Stacey Tookey was born and raised in Edmonton, but later moved to B.C. to study dance. If her name sounds familiar, it's likely because you've seen her choreography on the Canadian and American reality series "So You Think You Can Dance." Additionally, Tookey was the director of the So You Think You Can Dance Canada Tour in 2009 and was the choreographer for Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" music video.

The day job: Retired professional ice hockey player

The backstory: Mike Comrie played in the NHL for 13 years. During his career, he played for a number of teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers. The 36-year-old famously tied the knot with Hilary Duff in 2010, but the two divorced five years later. The couple has one son together.

The day job: Singer/songwriter

The backstory: Kreesha Turner was born in Edmonton, but was raised in both Canada and Jamaica. The singer began her music career at 23 and won a Canadian Radio Music Award for Best Solo Artist in 2009. Now 32, Turner is known for her singles "Don't Call Me Baby" and "Bounce with Me," and is currently working on her third album.

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