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An editorial cartoon, circa 1910, portraying Johnny Canuck
A 1995 stamp portraying the World War II incarnation of Johnny Canuck

Johnny Canuck was a Canadian cartoon hero and superhero who was created as a political cartoon in 1869 and was later re-invented, most notably as a Second World War action hero.

Johnny Canuck was created as a lumberjack national personification of Canada. He first appeared in early political cartoons dating to 1869 where he was portrayed as a younger cousin of the United States' Uncle Sam and Britain's John Bull. Depicted as a wholesome, if simple-minded, fellow in the garb of a habitant, farmer, logger, rancher or soldier, he often resisted the bullying of John Bull or Uncle Sam. For thirty years, he was a staple of editorial cartoonists. Then, in the early twentieth century, he faded from view.

The character re-emerged during World War II in the February 1942 issue of Bell's Dime Comics No.1. Cartoonist Leo Bachle created the character as a teenager, apparently on a challenge from a Bell executive. Initially, Johnny Canuck had no superpowers.

Johnny Canuck's cartoon exploits helped Canada fight against Nazism. Like Captain America, he met Adolf Hitler and almost single-handedly ended the war.

The use of such stock figures diminished in popularity after World War II. However, in 1975, a new comic book character, Captain Canuck, emerged. Created by Richard Comely (who was unaware of the earlier Johnny Canuck character) Captain Canuck was a superhero rather than just a hero, he wore red tights, and bore a red maple leaf emblazoned on his forehead.

In 1995, Canada Post issued a series of Canadian postage stamps celebrating Canada’s comic-book superheroes.[1] Johnny Canuck is depicted as he appeared in the comic books, dressed in flight jacket, goggles, leather headgear and boots. Johnny Canuck is linked to a tradition of stalwart, honest, upstanding Canadian heroes.

In January 2006, "Johnny Canuck and the Last Burlesque," a musical comedy, premiered at the Mainline Theatre in Montreal. The play, created by Jeremy Hechtman and Patrick Goddard, concerned the post-World War II life of Johnny Canuck and his adventures as a burlesque star. The play starred Aaron Turner as the sexually naive Johnny Canuck.

Recently, Johnny Canuck has appeared in the NHL. In 2006, when Roberto Luongo was signed by the Vancouver Canucks, Luongo's vintage mask had a depiction of Johnny Canuck. In 2007, Luongo's new mask had Johnny Canuck featured even more prominently. For NHL season 2008 - 2009, the Vancouver Canucks themselves use a Johnny Canuck symbol for the shoulder logo on their third jersey, with Johnny Canuck appearing as a lumberjack.

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External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



1869, Johnny + Canuck, a character in political cartoons.

Proper noun

Johnny Canuck


Johnny Canuck

  1. A Canadian.
  2. (chiefly WWI, WWII) A Canadian soldier.
  3. A personification of Canada.


  • Jack Canuck

See also


  • “Johnny Canuck” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.

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