Ranking The 10 Most Well-Known Ontario Athletes

Ranking The 10 Most Well-Known Ontario Athletes
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Emperor Napoleon, Gen. George S. Patton and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley all made the point that fame is fleeting. But while it is certainly fleeting, fame always finds new folks to favor, even if the stay is brief.

So OntarioBets.com, the home of Ontario sports betting coverage, decided to take a hyper-localized approach to examine which athletes, who were raised in the province of Ontario, could be described as the “most well-known athletes” from the province – at least in the moment.

Here are our results:

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Most Well-Known Athletes from Ontario in 2023

Weighted Rank, Celebrity Hometown Search Volume
1. Andrew Wiggins, NBA forward Thornhill 714K
2. Tristan Thompson, NBA center Brampton 428K
3. Dillon Brooks, NBA forward Mississauga 373K
4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, NBA guard Hamilton 371K
5. Connor McDavid, NHL forward Richmond Hill 350K
6. Jamal Murray, NBA guard Kitchener 252K
7. Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Famer Brantford 243K
8. R.J. Barrett, NBA forward Mississauga 169K
9. Jack Hughes, NHL forward Toronto 143K
10. Denis Shapovalov, ATP tennis player Vaughan 140

To determine Ontario’s most well-known athletes in 2023, OntarioBets.com – your source for Ontario online casinos – used a weighted system that included AhRefs.com Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to help determine the most searched Ontario athletes over the past 12 months (August 2022 to August 2023). We averaged those two statistics to determine the Top 10 most well-known Ontario athletes of late.

“Ontario athlete” is defined, for the purpose of this analysis, as a person who was born in Ontario or resided there in their formative childhood and teenage phase for over 10 years.

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NBA Stars Dominate Top Of List

Topping the Ontario “most well-known” list in NBA forward Andrew Wiggins, who most recently has played for the Golden State Warriors and whose search volume was 714,000. If there’s some wonder about what buoyed Wiggins’ search popularity, it could have something to with the Thornhill native’s mention in trade rumors that have him going to the Philadelphia 76ers. The rumored deal would be a blockbuster, stamped mainly by the inclusion of Philly superstar center Joel Embiid. Also part of the trade rumors is Warriors veteran Draymond Green and a pile of draft picks.

For now, the Warriors have +1200 odds at Caesars Ontario Sportsbook to win the 2023-24 NBA title.

The next three Ontario favorite sons who make the “most well-known” list are also NBA players (in order of search volume): Tristan Thompson from Brampton (428,000 search volume); Mississauga’s Dillon Brooks (373,000); and Hamilton native Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (371,000).

Thompson, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, has been in a relationship with Khloe Kardashian, which has probably been good for a couple of Google searches. Brooks plays for the Memphis Grizzlies and had some well-publicized confrontations with LeBron James in the 2023 playoffs (plus he’s on the Canadian national team in the current FIBA World Cup). And Gilgeous-Alexander plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, for whom he had a career season in 2022-23, and also is a key member of Canada’s team in the World Cup.

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Top Hockey Player Is Reigning Hart Trophy Winner

The first hockey player to make the Top 10 “best-known” among Ontario athletes is Connor McDavid, of Richmond Hill. McDavid (350,000 search volume) is the lone person on our list currently with a Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers. The veteran center scored 64 goals and had 89 assists last season, leading the league in both categories on his way to his third Hart Trophy as league MVP. He helped the Oilers reach the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. where they lost to the eventual Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

His Oilers are +900 with NorthStar Bets Ontario Sportsbook to lift the Stanley Cup in the 2023-24 season.

The second five contains two more NBA players (Jamal Murray of the Nuggets and R.J. Barrett of the Knicks), the record-breaking hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, current NHL player Jack Hughes (Devils) and ATP tennis star Denis Shapovalov, who is currently nursing a knee injury.

Honorable mentions included NHL forwards Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner and Nick Suzuki, MLB infielder Joey Votto and former heavyweight boxing world champion Lennox Lewis.

Stick with OntarioBets.com for more sports coverage as well as reviews of Ontario sportsbook apps that you’ll find useful before you wager.



A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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