They don’t call it Hollywood North for nothing!
Vancouver has a very happening movie and TV industry, with many productions filming in the area, and other shows that return year after year to film their next instalment. It is also home to some pretty big stars that love reppin’ their hometown, and some still enjoy visiting the Vancouver area to this day.
Here are 18 famous actors that are originally from Vancouver.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Ryan Reynolds attended Kitsilano Secondary School in his younger days, and then Kwantlen Polytechnic University before dropping out to move to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Reynolds still holds a certain pride for his hometown, going by “VancityReynolds” on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts. He is known for his roles like National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Just Friends, Green Lantern, Deadpool and Deadpool 2, along with being married to Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively.
Michael J. Fox
You may remember him best as a young Marty McFly from the Back to the Future films, or maybe you remember him more recently on The Good Wife. Michael J. Fox was originally born in Edmonton, AB, but moved to Burnaby, BC, with his family because of his father’s job as a police officer. He attended Burnaby Central Secondary school in his younger days and even has a theatre named after him as part of Burnaby South Secondary.
Sarah Chalke was born in Ottawa, ON, and later moved to North Vancouver with her family where she was raised and attended Handsworth Secondary School. Chalke has been in the industry almost 30 years and has a long list of notable roles under her belt. From her longtime role on Scrubs, to Roseanne, to How I Met Your Mother, and most recently Netflix’s Firefly Lane alongside Katherine Heigl, among many others.
“I don’t want to wait, for our lives to be over…” *sigh* who could forget good ol’ Pacey from Dawson’s Creek?!
Going by “VancityJax” on Instagram and Twitter, Joshua Jackson was raised in Vancouver and got his start starring in The Mighty Ducks films as Charlie Conway. Jackson also starred in films like Cruel Intentions, and One Week, along with television series like Fringe, The Affair, and most recently the miniseries Little Fires Everywhere.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Cobie Smulders is best known for her longtime role as Robin Scherbatsky on How I Met Your Mother. The sitcom and her co-stars often poked fun at her for being a Canadian in many of the show’s episodes. Recently, Smulders and fellow HIMYM co-star Neil Patrick Harris reunited in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, in which Smulders snagged the role of the Mother. She has also been in movies like Safe Haven, Results, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back alongside Tom Cruise.
Jason Priestley was born and raised in North Vancouver and attended Argyle Secondary School in his younger days. Known as a teen idol, Priestley rose to fame at a young age playing Brandon Welsh on the hit Fox show Beverly Hills, 90210 — which ran for 10 seasons. Back in 2019, he was asked to reprise his role for the BH90210 reboot that also filmed in his hometown of North Vancouver, but unfortunately was cancelled after one season.
You may remember Pamela Anderson best from her stint on Baywatch back in the day, or perhaps you saw her in Playboy magazine once upon a time, and who could forget that time she was married to Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe? But did you know that Anderson was actually born in Ladysmith, BC? She grew up on Vancouver Island and after finishing school moved to Vancouver where she worked as a fitness instructor, before going off to pursue a career in modelling and acting.
Seth Rogen is a Vancouver native and the star still comes to visit frequently — he is known for being spotted at many local coffee shops over the years. Rogen wanted to pursue comedy from a very young age, and he grew up performing stand-up as a teenager. From there, he dropped out of high school when he landed his first gig on Freaks and Geeks while living in Vancouver.
These days, Rogen is busy working on new movies, more specifically directing and producing, with his team at Point Grey Pictures, which is named after Vancouver’s Point Grey Secondary School.
Jessica Lowndes is best known for her role as the beautiful drama starter Adriana Tate-Duncan on the remake of 90210. Lowndes started her career at only 16 years old when she moved to LA, but before that she was actually born and raised in Vancouver. She often visits the area and has been spotted many times in the city with her friends and family — and she’s usually willing to stop and snap a pic with her fans too!
This Canadian cutie started acting at just 13 years old and was born in Vancouver, before moving to Markham, ON, where he was raised. Some of you may remember Christensen as a child on television shows like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? One of his most notable roles that gave him international recognition was as Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He has also starred in movies like Awake alongside Jessica Alba, Life as a House, and Jumper, among others.
Originally from Burnaby, BC, Carrie-Anne Moss got her first big break after landing the lead role of Trinity in The Matrix trilogy alongside Canadian actor Keanu Reeves, which she credits as jump-starting her career. She is also known for her roles in movies like Chocolat, Disturbia, Silent Hill: Revelation, and as Jeri in the Marvel series Jessica Jones on Netflix.
Born and raised in the Vancouver area, Jessica Lucas has had a variety of television roles over the years. From starring in the reboot of Melrose Place, to The Murders, to Gotham, along with movies like The Covenant, Evil Dead, That Awkward Moment, and Cloverfield. Lucas started pursuing acting at only seven years old, and spent time honing her craft at the Children’s Arts Theatre School in Toronto, ON, before moving into the spotlight.
Serinda Swan lived in West Vancouver once upon a time, where her father was a theatre director and her mother was an actress. Swan was often taken to different sets with her parents, where her love for acting officially began. She has acted in a variety of roles over the years — she appeared in a few episodes of Smallville, as one of the lead roles in Breakout Kings and Graceland, and now she plays Jenny on CBC’s The Coroner.
You may remember him as Mickey Milkovich, aka Ian Gallagher’s love interest, from Shameless, or maybe you remember his voice as Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel. Born in Vancouver, Noel Fisher started acting at only 14 years old and got his start on the television movie The Sheldon Kennedy Story.
Another Shameless star, Justin Chatwin played Emmy Rossum’s love interest in the beginning of the series. Chatwin is originally from Nanaimo, BC, and later moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia. From there, he moved to LA to further pursue his acting career, and apparently at one point he even lived with his Shameless co-star Noel Fisher in a small apartment. Chatwin has also starred in the CBS series American Gothic, along with Doctor Who, and Netflix’s Another Life.
Emily Bett Rickards
Actress Emily Bett Rickards was born and raised in the Vancouver area, and attended the Vancouver Film School for acting. Believe it or not, Rickards got her first glimpse of the spotlight when she appeared in Canadian band Nickelback’s video for the song “Never Gonna Be Alone” and after a few small parts she eventually landed the role of Felicity on Arrow. From there she also made appearances in Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.
Vancouver native Alexander Ludwig started his career in acting at the age of eight, when he appeared in a Harry Potter toy commercial — how cute! He continued to act, starring in movies like Air Bud: World Pup, and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising before landing his most recognizable role as Cato in The Hunger Games. From there he snagged the role of Bjorn on the History Channel series Vikings from 2014-2020.
Originally born in Los Angeles, Grace Park moved with her family as a toddler to Vancouver and grew up in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood. She studied at the University of British Columbia and has her degree in psychology, before going on to pursue acting. Park got her start later in life when she began acting at 25 years old. She has been in series like Battlestar Galactica, Hawaii Five-O, The Border, and ABC’s A Million Little Things, which was just renewed for a fourth season.