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Toronto as the cradle or launching pad of much American pop culture.

wild goose chase

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On discussions of why Toronto seems not to have a strong homegrown cultural imprint on mass media, with Drake one of the few more recent celebrities to represent and show pride in the city as is, you often hear about how celebrities get their bearings here, launch their career and move on to the US.

It seems like this goes really far back and it can be argued that in fact Toronto has more often than being known for homegrown culture, instead acted as the place of origin for a lot of what is seen as American culture because so many celebrities had gotten started here.

Some examples

- The archetypal American superhero Superman was co-created by Torontonian-born Joe Shuster in the 1920s with the Daily Planet based on the Old Toronto star building and Metropolis based on the city.

-Also in the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway, probably the most famous American author to reside here, jump-started his career here working for the Toronto Star. Thinking the city boring and lackluster and not really enjoying his years here, he moved on elsewhere (Paris etc.) where he then went on to make his fame.

- Toronto has become a city known for exporting comedians -- Second City/SCTV, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, also Samantha Bee and the Daily Show etc. in the 80s, 90s and 2000s respectively.

-TIFF has grown from being seen as too parochial, provincial and local as a film festival to being world-renowned, second only to Cannes. Famously, Hollywood (and international) movies often have their debuts at TIFF and doing well in the festival is now seen as a pathway towards the Oscars.

So, it seems like one of Toronto's major exports essentially is mass media that later becomes quintessential Americana. Anything Torontonian therefore gets stripped of local identifiers and framed as typically American.

Do you see this relationship between Toronto and American pop culture changing any time soon?
 

Johnny Au

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Maurice LaMarche, who voiced the Brain in Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, as well as various Futurama characters (and won two Emmys for best voice-over in 2011 and 2012) and a few Simpsons characters, is a Torontonian at birth.

Tara Strong is another Toronto-born voice actor of many popular cartoons such as The Powerpuff Girls (original one) and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Keanu Reeves grew up in Toronto. Alex Trebek also grew up in Toronto.
 
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mjl08

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In pop music, the Toronto influence has arguably never been bigger.

Drake, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber (SW Ontario) might be four of the five biggest male artists right now.
 

Fritter

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Not quite celebrity, but GO Transit's Bombardier double decker rail cars are now used by several commuter rail systems across North America.
 

Admiral Beez

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SkyDome (known nowadays as Rogers Centre) is the first professional sports stadium in the world with a functioning retractable roof. Since then, many other cities have them.
Actually, the model pioneered by Skydome has been mostly abandoned by late 20th century and modern day stadium designers.

https://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2015/04/10/how-do-you-fix-the-rogers-centre.html

Just a few years after the Blue Jays moved in, trends in ballpark design shifted from the colossal to the classic, beginning in 1992 with Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Nearly a quarter century later, architects continue to emulate Camden, while the Dome, known today as the Rogers Centre, stands as the proverbial white elephant, a concrete fortress that is tolerated but rarely enjoyed. It consistently ranks at or near the bottom any time Major League Baseball’s 30 parks are ranked.

Like Toronto gauge streetcar tracks, Skydome was a dead end idea.
 
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Moonflake

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In pop music, the Toronto influence has arguably never been bigger.

Drake, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber (SW Ontario) might be four of the five biggest male artists right now.
You mean: products. None of them are artists.
 

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