Canadian Voiceover Accent
I am a Canadian voice actor who has performed hundreds of projects for many international clients. As a Canadian voiceover actor, does this mean I speak solely with a Canadian accent? Stay tuned to find out. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, ON, Canada. Toronto is generally considered the center of Canada from a geographical perspective, and there is a multitude of accents that help to shape this area.
The GTA, or the Greater Toronto Area, where I live, is Canada’s most populated geographical area, with six million residents as of 2016. Most are born and raised here, and the most common ethnic groups are Italians, Cantonese, Punjabi, Chinese, Tagalog, and Spanish. The suburb where I grew up has mostly Canadian residents who speak with a Canadian accent. So, what is a Canadian accent? That is an interesting question.
What is a Canadian Accent?
My accent, or the general Canadian accent, is a neutral North American accent. It’s what you hear on Canadian news outlets, American news outlets like CNN or NBC, as well as reality and fiction network television shows. My accent is not considered a regional Canadian or American but a broader dialect.
I only really understood a Canadian accent once I entered the voiceover world. Now my ears have become attuned to the sound, and I can pick up accents faster and more accurately. The history behind how specific communities develop regional accents is fascinating. While I technically have a Canadian accent, most of my work is with US companies. I strive first to speak English and, secondly, to use a Neutral north American accent.
Regional Canadian Voiceover Accents
Areas of Canada where you would hear a regional accent include smaller cities or towns across the country, Quebec, and the east coast of Canada. The east coast, like Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, have their dialect, which is rooted in Ireland’s rich history. New Brunswick has a blend of English and French Accadian roots. Quebec and St. Pierre and Miquelon (a territory of France) speak predominantly French, with English as the second most common language.
Quebecers from large cities such as Montreal, Laval, and Gatineau speak fluent English with a slightly French accent, yet, smaller communities of Quebec will speak English with a thicker French accent or may not speak English at all. Quebec does an excellent job of preserving its French heritage.
The west coast, including Alberta and British Colombia, generally have a neutral north American accent, but there are certain vowels that they may express slightly differently. For example, the word land may be pronounced with a longer A. So land pronounced – /lænd may sound like Lahh-nd. That’s a tiny example of dialect variation, but it’s generally the same as in the rest of Canada. Throughout Canada you will find aboriginal peoples who speak over 70 different languages. which can be divided into 12 language families. Aboriginal people can either speak multiple languages or just English, it really depends on their location and upbringing.
Famous Canadian Voiceover Artists & Actors
Many Canadians work as on-camera actors in the US, and you would have no idea they are Canadian because they have no discernable accent. Actors such as Steve Martin, Martin Short, Jim Carrey, Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Mc Adams, Seth Rogan, and Pamela Anderson are all Canadian. Many famous Canadian singers, such as Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and Bryan Adams, have an accent but not a “stereotypical” Canadian one, as you may expect. They also speak with a neutral North American accent.
Interestingly, a new Canadian accent has popped up in the last 10-15 years. Because the Greater Toronto Area is so diverse, there is a unique accent that Millennials and Gen Z are adopting. This is the Toronto accent you can hear in rappers like Drake and Nav. Its specific tone stems from strong Jamaican, Somalian, general Caribbean, and Canadian roots.
Variety in Voiceover
Most of my voiceover is in a neutral North American accent, and I sometimes perform work with an accent. The ability to recognize and perform accents comes from growing up in a very ethnically diverse area. The GTA is a wonderful place to live, and Canada is known to be a diverse and inclusive community.
Contact me anytime if you need a neutral North American, Canadian, or diverse accent!