Ever wonder who the "most famous" Canadians are? Researchers at MIT — by entirely scientific means — have come up with a way to track them. 

A recently launched Massachusetts Institute of Technology online research project proposes to quantify fame throughout history, with an interactive website called Pantheon.

Avril Lavigne

Singer Avril Lavigne is among the most famous Canadians, according to M.I.T.'s interactive website that proposes to quantify fame throughout history.

Researchers have collected data on people from 4,000 B.C. to 2010 who had a Wikipedia entry under their name in more than 25 languages. According to MIT researchers, longevity helps. So do tangible achievements more than wealth. 

The world's who's who through time is fun to play with — it's categorized and cross-referenced by place of birth and domains of fame. While painters, philosophers and scientists top many lists, Avril Lavigne, Jim Carrey, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion and Pamela Anderson make up the top five famous Canadians in Pantheon rankings.

There are 121 Canadians over all who made the list, including writers (Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen), politicians (Stephen Harper, Pierre Elliott Trudeau), athletes (Wayne Gretzky, Terry Fox) and even porn stars (Sunny Leone, Shyla Stylez).


Actor and comedian Jim Carrey outranked Justin Bieber for the No. 2 spot. ((Canadian Press))

Pantheon insists its data should not be used to draw conclusions about the popularity of similarly ranked individuals, as the small differences in ranking are "not statistically meaningful."

Here are a few of the fame rankings, (you can check out Pantheon for more):

Pantheon's 10 famous Canadians:

 1. Avril Lavigne
 2. Jim Carrey
 3. Justin Bieber
 4. Celine Dion
 5. Pamela Anderson
 6. Leonard Cohen
 7. Michael J. Fox
 8. Bryan Adams
 9. Frank Gehry
10. Nelly Furtado 

Pantheon's 10 famous people of the last 6,000 years:

 1. Aristotle
 2. Plato
 3. Jesus Christ
 4. Socrates
 5. Alexander the Great
 6. Leonardo da Vinci
 7. Confucius
 8. Julius Caesar 
 9. Homer
10. Pythagoras 


  • An earlier version of this story said Pantheon ranked Avril Lavigne as the most famous Canadian. After the story was published, Pantheon posted on its website that small differences in ranking are not statistically meaningful and should not be used to draw conclusions about the popularity of similarly ranked individuals.
    Mar 18, 2014 11:48 AM ET