From television, to films, to music, several Canadian celebrities had a very successful year in 2021, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a look at some Canadian celebrities who made headlines this year.


Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu starred in the Marvel Studios film “Shang-Chi” which was released over the U.S. Labor Day day weekend breaking the existing record with an estimated US$71.4 million in ticket sales.

Liu -- an actor and a stuntman -- was born in China and immigrated to Canada at the age of five. Liu is also known for his role as Jung Kim on the popular Canadian television series “Kim’s Convenience.”

“Shang-Chi” was well received by film critics and Marvel fans, garnering a 91 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film also made history as the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature an Asian lead, and a mostly Asian cast.

Liu starred alongside actors Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina and Tony Leung in the action film.

On Monday, it was announced a sequel to Shang-Chi is in the works.

“Flopped so hard we got a sequel!!” Liu wrote on Twitter.


Toronto-born rapper Drake dropped his long-anticipated album “Certified Lover Boy” on Sept. 3.

The album broke Apple Music and Spotify 2021 records for biggest streaming debut in a single day.

“Certified Lover Boy” opened at number one on Billboard’s chart, and opened with the equivalent of 613,000 sales in the U.S., marking the biggest debut week album of 2021.

The album received two Grammy nominations. “Certified Lover Boy” received a nomination for Best Rap Album, while the song “Way 2 Sexy” was nominated for Best Rap Performance.

However, Drake has since withdrawn his album from the nominations.


French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve fulfilled many science-fiction fans’ wishes in 2021, with the release of the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 book “Dune.”

The long-awaited film, released in Canada in October, adapts the first half of Herbert’s epic, and stars actors Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa.

“Dune” was released in a hybrid manner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and debuted with US$40.1 million in ticket sales in North America.

The film was well received by sci-fi film fans and fans of the book. Villeneuve’s adaptation has been given an 83 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

What’s more, a sequel titled “Dune: Part II,” is set to be released in 2023.


Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds was given the Governor General’s Performing Arts award in 2021.

In a video posted to social media, former Barenaked Ladies band member Steven Page performed an original song titled ‘Canada Love You Back,’ to thank the “Deadpool” actor for his work supporting Canadian charities and causes.

Reynolds, originally from Vancouver, B.C., could be seen tearing up in a response video posted to social media.

In a tweet, Reynolds thanked Page and Governor General Mary Simon, saying he was “so beyond touched” after receiving the award, adding that he is a “wreck.”


Canadian actress Catherine O’Hara was also given the Governor General’s Performing Arts award in 2021.

In a video posted to social media, Noah Reid performed a piano cover of the song “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell.

In the video, Reid donned several colourful wigs as an ode to O’Hara’s character on the hit television show “Schitt’s Creek.”

In the video reacting to the award, O’Hara can be seen crying, and laughing.

“Wow, beautiful,” O’Hara can be heard saying in the video. “Thank you.”


O’Hara’s Canadian co-stars from the hit comedy series “Schitt’s Creek,” also had a big year in 2021.

Actor, writer, director and comedian, Dan Levy, made headlines after hosting Saturday Night Live in February.

What’s more, Dan, alongside his father and fellow Canadian actor Eugene Levy, also co-authored a book in 2021 detailing their time creating and starring on “Schitt’s Creek.”

The coffee table book titled “Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek,” was released in October, and is described as a “celebration” of the comedy series which captured the attention of millions over it’s six season run.


Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh was named one of People Magazine’s “People of the Year” in 2021.

Oh was born near Ottawa, in Nepean, Ont. Her parents are Korean immigrants.

The “Killing Eve” star told People that being asked to be on the cover is a “great privilege.”

“Because it normalizes things for my nephews and nieces,” she told the publication. “Hopefully they’re not missing something that I feel like I was always missing.”

She is best known for her role on the television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” on which she played Dr. Christina Yang.

Oh will appear on the cover of People Magazine on Dec. 13.

With files from The Associated Press