I recently read Mike Myers: Canada. You may know him as Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World on Saturday Night Live or Austin Powers, Dr. Evil or Shrek from his life in film.
The proud Canadian who often wears a Toronto Maple Leaf jersey has made many of us laugh for decades. He spent his first 20 years in Ontario before moving to the U.S.
“Fame is a real experience,” he wrote. “But it’s not a Canadian experience. And nothing about growing up in Canada prepares you for a public life.”
Myers, 54, says he learned that fame has no intrinsic value and he is grateful for what being famous has brought him. He adores Canada.
“My American friends once accused me of enjoying being Canadian. Guilty as charged.”
In discussing Canada, on its 150th birthday, Myers mentions how we are obsessed with statistics.
“Well, seven out of ten Canadians are obsessed with statistics. And of those seven, 25 per cent of them…you get my point.”
We also love lists and Myers informs his readers that Canada invented time zones, the telephone, the first steamship, Pablum, insulin, the chocolate bar, Greenpeace, lacrosse, IMAX film, the green garbage bag, the snowblower and of course Trivial Pursuit.
He also notes that Canadians love it when other countries mention Canada.
“I still get excited when I hear Carly Simon’s 1972 song You’re So Vain when she says, ‘Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.’ My brothers and I would cheer when she mentioned Nova Scotia. I guess we thought this song was about us, didn’t we, didn’t we?”
The youngest of three boys writes that America is comfortable with achievement while we aren’t. He says Canadians are at a disadvantage when it comes to describing their childhood.
“English people have Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Mary Poppins or even Bend It Like Beckham. Americans have…anything by Disney. Canadians, on the other hand, got nothin’. Therefore, when I try to describe my Canadian childhood, I often feel like I’m describing a dream I had.
“Try explaining to a non-Canadian The Friendly Giant. Or Mr. Dressup. Or Danny Gallivan. Or Howie Meeker. Or Stompin’ Tom. Or Don Cherry. Or Lanny McDonald. Or Eddie Shack. Or Cherry Lolas. Or the Food Building. Or the PNE, Or Le bonhomme de neige. Or Luba. Newfoundland. Or Lotta Hitschmanova. Or the Roughriders, and then, of course, the Rough Riders. Or St. Johns and St. John. It was all a dream…Or was it?”
Myers’ dad, Eric, loved comedy and made Mike’s friends tell a joke or a funny story whenever they came over to the family home in Scarborough. Eric was a die hard Liverpool fan but after moving to Canada, saw hockey as an “improvement” on soccer.
Fame has allowed Myers to get up close and personal with Wayne Gretzky, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Lorne Michaels, Barack Obama, Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau and Phil Hartman, just to name a few.
He has not let fame change him, but rather give him a deeper appreciation for being Canadian. He gets a charge when people greet him when he’s back home in Canada.
“I’ll be on the street and a fellow Canadian will say, ‘Mike…Kamloops!’ And that’s it. Nothing else has to be said. I love that!”
On the last page, Myers wishes the country a happy birthday and says “without you, I’d be nothing.”
He writes: “I’m so confident in Canada’s future. We know ourselves now. I can’t wait for my kids, who are American, to be old enough to be proud that their old man comes from that cool country to the north that has tried harder that any other country in the history of the world to get it right…Canada may not have put a man on the moon, but it’s been awfully nice to the man on earth. And perhaps that will be Canada’s greatest legacy.”
—-Kevin Mitchell is the sports editor and newsroom funnyman at the Vernon Morning Star.