Famous Canadian Intellectuals & Academics

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Canadian Intellectuals & Academics

 1 
Jordan Peterson
(Clinical Psychologist)

Jordan Peterson
54
Birthdate: June 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada

Canadian clinical psychologist, writer and YouTuber, Jordan Peterson became internationally known in the 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues. He propogates his views and ideas primarily through YouTube and podcasts. He has shared many videos and podcasts that have received millions of views.

 2 
Albert Bandura
(Psychologist)

Albert Bandura
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mundare, Canada
Died: July 26, 2021

Albert Bandura is a Canadian-American psychologist who has made significant contributions to several fields of psychology, such as personality psychology, therapy, and social cognitive theory. Regarded as the greatest living psychologist, Bandura is also counted among the most influential psychologists ever. He has been honored with over 16 honorary degrees. In 2016, Albert Bandura received the National Medal of Science.

 3 
Marshall McLuhan
(Philosopher)

Marshall McLuhan
7
Birthdate: July 21, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada
Died: December 31, 1980
Canadian philosopher Herbert McLuhan revolutionized media theory with his concept of "global village." He predicted the World Wide Web three decades before its invention and is also remembered for coining the expression “the medium is the message.” His works include Understanding Media, The Gutenberg Galaxy, and The Mechanical Bride
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 4 
Steven Pinker
(Psychologist)

Steven Pinker
5
Birthdate: September 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American linguist, cognitive psychologist, and popular science author. He is also a supporter of the computational theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. His works have earned him awards from organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Humanist Association. In 2013, he was named in Prospect magazine's World Thinkers list.

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 5 
David Suzuki
(Academic, Enviromental Activist)

David Suzuki
7
Birthdate: March 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Best known for the CBC show The Nature of Things, Canadian environmental activist David Suzuki has also been a genetics and zoology professor. The UN Environment Programme Medal winner has been a major force against global warming and has written several books, such as An Introduction to Genetic Analysis.

 6 
Mark Carney
(Economist)

Mark Carney
7
Birthdate: March 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada

After his 13-year stint with Goldman Sachs, Mark Carney served as the governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. He was also part of the Canadian finance department. He is an ice-hockey lover and played the sport actively during the school and university days.

 7 
Gad Saad
(Professor of marketing at Concordia University 1994 - 2020)

Gad Saad
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanese-Canadian evolutionary-psychologist Gad Saad is best-known for applying evolutionary-psychology to marketing and consumer behaviour. He is a professor of marketing at Concordia University, an advisory fellow for the Centre for Inquiry Canada, and the Concordia University Research Chairman in Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences and Darwinian Consumption. He hosts the YouTube channel The Saad Truth and writes a blog for Psychology Today.

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 8 
Mary Ainsworth
(Psychologist)

Mary Ainsworth
5
Birthdate: December 1, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glendale, Ohio, United States
Died: March 21, 1999

American-Canadian developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth is best remembered for her contributions in developing the attachment theory. She devised the Strange situation procedure during the 1970s to observe early emotional connect and relationship between a caregiver and child. She was ranked as the 97th most cited psychologist of the 20th century in a 2002 survey of Review of General Psychology.

 9 
Emma Donoghue
(Novelist)

Emma Donoghue
4
Birthdate: October 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Alex Awards winning Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is best known for authoring award winning novels like Room and Hood. Room, an international best-seller, was adapted into a film bearing same title that not only emerged as a critical and commercial success but also garnered four Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards.

 10 
Steven Erikson
(Anthropologist, Writer)

Steven Erikson
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto

Canadian novelist Steven Erikson is best-known for authoring the widely acclaimed ten-volume epic-fantasy series Malazan Book of the Fallen. Other notable works of Erikson include The Kharkanas Trilogy, a prequel to Malazan Book of the Fallen series; the Willful Child Trilogy, a spoof on Star Trek; and The Witness Trilogy, first novel of which is planned for a November-2021 release.

 11 
Erving Goffman
(Sociologist)

Erving Goffman
6
Birthdate: June 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannville, Alberta, Canada
Died: November 20, 1982

Canadian-American sociologist, social-psychologist and writer Erving Goffman, regarded as the most influential American sociologist of the 20th century by some, is best-known for his study of symbolic interaction and development of his dramaturgical analysis. His book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was the first that treated face-to-face interaction as a subject of sociological study.

 12 
Manly Hall
(Writer, Philosopher)

Manly Hall
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Peterborough, Canada
Died: August 29, 1990

 13 
Ravi Zacharias
(Philosopher)

Ravi Zacharias
10
Birthdate: March 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Died: May 19, 2020

Born in India, Ravi Zacharias was attracted to Christianity while recovering in hospital following a suicide attempt. He moved to Canada and then to the U.S., and gained fame as a Christian apologist and as the host of Let My People Think. He was later accused of sexual abuse.

 14 

Deborah Coyne
5
Birthdate: February 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Canada

Canadian constitutional-lawyer, professor, and author Deborah Coyne, niece of second Governor of Bank of Canada James Elliott Coyne, worked for some time in Prime Minister's Office of John Turner. Her professional endeavours also include working for Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Her first child, daughter Sarah Elisabeth Coyne, was born through her relationship with former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

 15 
Northrop Frye
(Literary theorist and philosopher who was best remembered for being one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century.)

Northrop Frye
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sherbrooke, Canada
Died: January 23, 1991

Considered one of the most important literary theorists of the century, Herman Northrop Fry gained international fame with his first book, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake and later with Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Prolific writer and respected educator, he went on to write many more, concurrently championing Canadian literature and identity, receiving several honors for his contributions.

 16 
Jean Vanier
(Philosopher, Philanthropist)

Jean Vanier
5
Birthdate: September 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Geneva

A former naval officer, Jean Vanier began working for intellectually disabled people after he met some of them in Paris, eventually founding L'Arche in order to provide them with shelter and support network. Later, he also cofounded Faith and Light to help those with learning disability.  A prolific author; after his death, he was accused of sexually exploiting six women.

 17 
Rudolf Vrba
(Former biochemist became known for having escaped from the camp in April 1944, at the height of the Holocaust)

Rudolf Vrba
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Topoľčany, Slovakia
Died: March 27, 2006

 18 
Stéphane Dion
(Canadian ambassador to Germany and special envoy to the European Union since 2017)

Stéphane Dion
3
Birthdate: September 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Quebec City, Canada

Canadian diplomat, political-scientist and retired politician Stéphane Dion is the Canadian Ambassador to Germany and special envoy to the EU. He was a Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent for over two decades, and held several ministries. He also held office as Leader of Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Opposition in House of Commons.

 19 
Oswald Avery
(Biologist, Physician, Geneticist)

Oswald Avery
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1877
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Halifax
Died: February 20, 1955

A pioneer of molecular biology, Oswald Avery revolutionized science with his research on the chemical processes involved in immunology. The Canadian-American bacteriologist initially aspired to be a musician. He later proved that DNA was the basis of heredity. Though nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times, he never won it.

 20 
Stanley Coren
(Psychology professor, neuropsychological researcher and writer on the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs)

Stanley Coren
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 21 
Anne Carson
(Linguist, Poet, Translator, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic)

Anne Carson
5
Birthdate: June 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toronto

Born to a banker in Toronto, Anne Carson grew up to study Classics and later taught at institutes such as Princeton University. Her signature style consists of a mix of prose and poetry. One of her notable works, Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse, was inspired by Greek mythology.

 22 
J. Philippe Rushton
(Psychologist, Faculty, Non-fiction writer)

J. Philippe Rushton
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bournemouth
Died: October 2, 2012

 23 
Ian Stevenson
(Psychiatrist, Parapsychologist, University teacher)

Ian Stevenson
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal
Died: February 8, 2007

Canadian-American psychiatrist and University of Virginia School of Medicine professor Ian Stevenson believed he had developed his love for the paranormal from his mother, who maintained a well-stocked library on theosophy. His studies included unearthing children’s past life memories. He also penned books such as Reincarnation and Biology.

 24 
Margaret MacMillan
(Historian and professor at the University of Oxford)

Margaret MacMillan
5
Birthdate: December 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Canadian historian and Oxford professor Margaret MacMillan is the great-granddaughter of former British prime minister David Lloyd George. Best known for her works such as Peacemakers and Women of the Raj, she is also a Royal Society of Literature fellow and has earned several honorary degrees.

 25 
Vaclav Smil
(Canadian science writer)

Vaclav Smil
5
Birthdate: December 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pilsen, Czech Republic

One of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010, Czech-Canadian scientist and University of Manitoba professor Vaclav Smil perhaps developed his love for the environment while living among the Bohemian Forest in childhood. Apart from studying energy and environmental change, he also pens books such as Energy and Civilization.

 26 
Myron Scholes
(Economist)

Myron Scholes
5
Birthdate: July 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Timmins, Canada

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian-American economist Myron Scholes is best known for co-establishing the Black-Scholes options pricing model. He was associated with MIT Sloan and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business before moving to Stanford. He has served on the economic boards of companies such as Stamos Partners, too.

 27 
Arthur B. McDonald
(Physicist, University teacher)

Arthur B. McDonald
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sydney

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian physicist Arthur B. McDonald is remembered for his research on neutrino oscillations and for proving that neutrinos have mass. He spent most of his life teaching at the Princeton and Queen’s universities. He also headed a project that mass-produced low-cost ventilators to be used as COVID-19 supplies.

 28 
Michel Chossudovsky
(researcher, Author, Economist, conspiracy theorist)

Michel Chossudovsky
5
Birthdate: 1946 AD
Birthplace: Canada

The son of Russian immigrants, Canadian economist and University of Ottawa professor Michel Chossudovsky also heads the Centre for Research on Globalization. Chossudovsky is best known for his conspiracy theories. He believes both 9/11 and COVID-19 were tools of population control, and has often been accused of playing to Russian interests.

 29 
Yoshua Bengio
(Computer scientist, and Artificial intelligence researcher)

Yoshua Bengio
0
Birthdate: March 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

 30 

Sylvana Tomaselli
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

 31 
Robert Mundell
(Economist)

Robert Mundell
3
Birthdate: October 24, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingston, Canada
Died: April 4, 2021

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian economist Robert Mundell is best remembered for his work on monetary dynamics and optimum currency, which also laid the foundation for the introduction of the euro. The LSE and MIT alumnus had also taught at institutes such as Columbia University and the University of Chicago.

 32 
Nathaniel Philip Rothschild
(Financier, Economist and Banker)

Nathaniel Philip Rothschild
0
Birthdate: July 12, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

 33 
Helen Fisher
(Anthropologist)

Helen Fisher
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: United States

Best known for her research on the biological dynamics of love and sex, anthropologist Helen Fisher has also penned iconic self-help books such as Anatomy of Love and Why We Love. She has also worked with match.com, to develop a personality-based compatibility system and has been a TED speaker.

 34 

William H. McNeill
2
Birthdate: October 31, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: July 8, 2016

 35 
John McCallum
(Economist, Politician)

John McCallum
6
Birthdate: April 9, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, made headlines after being fired from duty by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which many tabloids claimed was a result of McCallum’s insensitive comments regarding a Huawei extradition case. Interestingly, he headed the arts department at McGill University when Trudeau was a student there.

 36 
Robert D. Hare
(psychologist, university teacher)

Robert D. Hare
3
Birthdate: 1934 AD
Birthplace: Calgary

 37 
Pierre Berton
(Journalist, Historian, Writer)

Pierre Berton
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Whitehorse
Died: November 30, 2004

 38 
Donald O. Hebb
(Psychologist best known for his theory of Hebbian learning, which he introduced in his classic 1949 work The Organization of Behavior)

Donald O. Hebb
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: August 20, 1985

Though born to physicians, Donald O. Hebb had initially aspired to be a novelist. He later pioneered neuropsychology by merging elements of psychology and neuroscience, and thus establishing psychology as part of bio science. His iconic work The Organization of Behavior spoke about many innovate concepts such as Hebb’s Rule.

 39 
Ian Hacking
(Philosopher, Professor)

Ian Hacking
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1936
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver

 40 
Andrej Karpathy
(Director of artificial intelligence and Autopilot Vision at Tesla)

Andrej Karpathy
0
Birthdate: October 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Košice Kosice, Slovakia

 41 
Steve Kaufmann
(Known for Polyglottism)

Steve Kaufmann
0
Birthdate: October 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sweden

 42 
John Ralston Saul
(Philosopher, Novelist, Writer)

John Ralston Saul
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottawa

 43 
S.I. Hayakawa
(Politician)

S.I. Hayakawa
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died: February 27, 1992

 44 
Robert Bourassa
(Politician, Lawyer, Non-fiction writer, Economist)

Robert Bourassa
5
Birthdate: July 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Montreal
Died: October 2, 1996

Robert Bourassa made headlines when, in 1970, he became the youngest premier of Quebec. After a crushing defeat 6 years later, following corruption scandals, he moved to Europe and the U.S., where he taught while in exile. In the mid-1980s, he reclaimed the Liberal Party leadership and became a premier again.

 45 
D. A. Carson
(Author and Theologian)

D. A. Carson
1
Birthdate: December 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

 46 
David Easton
(Political scientist, University teacher)

David Easton
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: July 19, 2014

 47 
Simon Newcomb
(Astronomer, Mathematician, Economist, Novelist, Writer, Teacher, University teacher, Science fiction writer)

Simon Newcomb
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1835
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nova Scotia
Died: July 11, 1909

Initially a herbalist’s apprentice, Simon Newcomb later deviated to mathematics and astronomy. Born to a schoolteacher, he had loved math since age 5 but wasn’t formally educated. He later joined Harvard University, taught math at the US Navy, detected locations of celestial bodies, and wrote a science-fiction novel, too.

 48 
Nadia Chaudhri
(She was a professor of psychology at Concordia University where she researched drug and alcohol abuse)

Nadia Chaudhri
0
Birthdate: January 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Karachi, Pakistan
Died: October 5, 2021

 49 
Will Kymlicka
(philosopher, university teacher)

Will Kymlicka
3
Birthdate: 1962 AD
Birthplace: London

 50 
John Howe
(illustrator)

John Howe
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vancouver