10 films and TV shows worth watching this Canada Day

By Kathryn Kyte

It’s almost time to shout from the hilltops, for our beloved day of national pride is upon us. Canada Day celebrates the best our country has to offer – from food to events to painting our faces like children again just because we can. In honour of this joyous occasion, and in case you’re looking to get even more thankful for being Canadian, we rounded up some of the best in TV and film that this country has offered over the years. From comedies and dramas to iconic TV shows that circle back to the ‘60s – they’re all here.

So let Eugene and Dan Levy, Jared Keeso, Alison Pill, Simu Liu and even the littlest hobo help you celebrate our great nation this weekend!

Goon

(Available via Netflix)

This hockey comedy boasts a ton of Canadian actors including Alison Pill and Kim Coates, not to mention it was co-written by one of the country’s finest talents (and Ottawa natives) Jay Baruchel. Jay also stars as Pat, who is the curse-heavy pal of Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a roughhousing semi-pro hockey player that uses his fists to win. If TheMighty Ducks joined forces with Fubar (another lauded Canadian film) and had a baby, Goon would be it. The film was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards.

Degrassi

(Available via Amazon and Netflix)

We’ll never tire of gushing about this Canadian classic and thanks to Drake, we got to do just that a few weeks ago. On television there was The Kids of Degrassi , Degrassi Junior High,Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class, all premised on teenage life and the joys and hardships that ensue. We laughed, we cried – Degrassi was a show that taught Canadians so many social skills without them even knowing. In total, the franchise received nearly 40 awards, including 28 Gemini wins. Enough said.

Letterkenny

(Available via Crave TV )

Set in ghost town Letterkenny, Ontario, this comedy puts small-town living on the map. Letterkenny is premised on two guys who drink, spit and milk cows while yelling obscenities at “hockey bros” on the regular with creator and award-winning actor Jared Keeso at the helm. Season five comes out on June 29, just in time for all the Canadian celebrations, so put on some overalls, grab a brewski and pitter patter get at ‘er.

Schitt’s Creek

(Available via CBC)

Photo: Courtesy of CBC

Another small-town Canadian comedy, Schitt’s Creek is a sitcom brought to you by the homegrown father-son team that is Eugene and Dan Levy. Premised on the once rich Rose family losing all their money and having to reside in the middle-of-nowhere town that was bought as a joke, Schitt’s Creek proves that even the snobbiest of souls can slow down and assimilate into simpler living ... sort of. The show also brought us the great tagline “I’m into the wine, not the label” which is an innuendo to celebrating diversity, particularly within the LGBQT community. Since debuting, the show has been recognized with over 50 nominations including multiple Canadian Screen Award wins and Dan Levy's recent MTV Movie & TV Awards nod for best comedic performance. His onscreen boyfriend, Noah Reid, also made Hello! Canada’s Most Beautiful list for 2018.

The Littlest Hobo

(Available via Amazon)

Photo: © Everett Collection/CP

We can’t overlook the sheer brilliance of a TV show based on a compassionate dog that helps people. It was a cornerstone of Canadian programming and although it ended in 1985, it was long syndicated for the viewing pleasure of generations. Just mentioning the “Maybe Tomorrow” theme song should get that nostalgia stirred up. Now just try getting that tune out of your head.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop

(Available via Netflix)

Photo: © Paul Chiasson/CP

Here’s a rivalry we can get behind. Even more than a decade since its initial release, the dark comedy about two cops from neighbouring provinces who are forced to solve a murder together is a cultural classic peppered with hilarity and Canadian stereotypes. It’s one of the highest-grossing Canadian films ever (domestically), bringing in more than $12 million, and the 2006 film nabbed a couple Genie Awards, too, including Best Motion Picture.

Ready or Not

(Available via YouTube)

Photo: © Insight Production Company Ltd./Everett Collection/CP

This ‘90s show, centred on the happenings of BFF’s Busy and Amanda, is a Canadian teen drama that featured an all-Canadian title cast. It also had an appearance or two by a guy named Ryan Gosling , you may have heard of him. The dramedy had storylines on everything from interracial dating to holding down first jobs to bullying, providing heartwarming half-hour episodes that were relatable.

Are you Afraid of the Dark?

(Available via Amazon)

Photo: © Nickelodeon

The Canadian-American production was like a teenage version of Unsolved Mysteries with haunting stories told around a campfire by a group dubbed The Midnight Society. The anthology series was filmed in British Columbia as well as parts of Quebec, and its popularity was so great that even a board game, video game and numerous books became part of the phenomenon. If you’re a fan of stories that actually scare (that “Tale of the Door Unlocked” episode still get us freaked!) make sure to add this to your Canada Day list of treats to devour. There’s even a film adaption of the series in the works with It writer Gary Dauberman penning the screenplay. The film is set for release on October 11, 2019.

Kim’s Convenience

(Available via CBC)

Photo: Courtesy of CBC

If you haven’t had the chance to catch this show this is the perfect time to get acquainted. It may only be a few years old, but Kim’s Convenience, premised on a Korean-Canadian family run convenience store, has quickly become one of the most talked about Canadian sitcoms in recent memory. It’s also scored over 20 Canadian Screen Awards’ nominations, taking home a handful of wins including the 2018 CSA award for Best Comedy Series.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

(Available via Amazon)

Based on the graphic novels from Canada’s Bryan Lee O’Malley , this 2010 movie features homegrown Canucks like Michael Cera and Alison Pill alongside other talents like Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick and Kieran Culkin. The lead character, Scott Pilgrim, was named after a song by the same name from the Canadian band, Plumtree (you see Scott, played by Michael Cera, sporting the band’s t-shirt in the film). The movie’s soundtrack also features local music from legendary bands like Broken Social Scene and Metric. Doesn’t get more Canadian than that folks.

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