Is Canada Even Real Book

Is Canada Even Real? How a Nation Built on Hobos, Beavers, Weirdos and Hip-Hop Convinced The World to Beliebe

Dundurn Press, 2017


'Is Canada Even Real?' examines the cultural factors behind the twenty-first-century monolithic myth of Canada, a nation that is lovable and real — if only in your imagination. This quirky ode to a quirky land is a humorous nostalgia trip and a fun Canadian history lesson couched in a hipster quiz book.

• Named one of the best humour books of 2017 by Vulture, the culture and entertainment branch of New York magazine.

• Named in Kobo’s list of 'The 100 Best Canadian Books of All Time’ as determined by sales, book open rates, and books that were read from start to finish.

• Reviewed favourably by the Globe and Mail and many others.

book cover

The Spaces and Places of Canadian Popular Culture

Edited by Victoria Kannen and Neil Shyminsky
A Read on Canada Reads, by J.C. Villamere, Pages 83-91.

Canadian Scholars Press 2019


An exclusively Canadian textbook, this collection investigates the relationships between identity, geography, and popular culture that are produced and consumed in this sprawling country.

Expanding beyond the clichés of friendliness and snow, this text provides a fresh perspective on what it means to be Canadian, both nationally and transnationally.

Scholars look at historical subjects like Québécois identity and Indigenous self-representation and explore issues in contemporary media, including music, film, television, comic books, video games, and social media.

From Drake to the Tragically Hip, Trailer Park Boys to The Amazing Race Canada, and poutine to maple syrup, mainstream icons and trends are studied in the interdisciplinary context of race, gender, sexuality, politics, and patriotism.

Contributing to the location of Canadian popular culture, this unique resource will engage students and scholars of communication studies, cultural studies, and Canadian studies.

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"Villamere knows her way around a story. Her brilliant writing is fast and funny one moment, sad and serious the next, but always rooted in the familiar, often hilarious, truth of self-discovery. Start, and you won’t stop.”

— Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Award, winner of the 2013 Libris Award for Author of the Year, 2011 winner of Canada Reads

“Frisky, light-spirited, uninhibited – dare I say teasing? Villamere extols the virtues of a spirited life; the energetic frolic through career and love that takes courage and smarts and a rich fever in the blood.”

— Michael Winter, winner of the 2008 Writers’ Trust Notable Author Award, shortlisted for the 2007 Giller Prize and the 2010 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

“Villamere's writing is a literary spritz of the funny, sad and conflicted, with a frankness to give it the bite of hard candy, not forgetting its gooey heart.”

— Dave Bidini, 2011 Canada Reads finalist, National Post columnist, founding member of Canadian rock group Rheostatics

“Villamere’s writing is funny and fearless, sweet and subversive ... with the balls to pull it off.”

— Dave McGinn, Arts Writer, The Globe & Mail


Ted Rogers School of Management, Entrepreneur Accelerator Program

Media Bistro, Personal Essay Writing course

Banff Centre for the Arts, Writing With Style residency

Media Bistro, Novel Writing course

Mohawk College, Creative Writing course

Loyalist College, Online Journalism Post-Graduate Diploma

Carleton University, Bachelor of Arts (Journalism/Music)



Entertainment & Lifestyle Writer

Social Media Director, Canadian Living, Elle Canada, Style at Home, The Hockey News, That’s the Spirit

Senior Web Editor, Canadian Living

Associate Editor/Contributor, Interiors Magazine

Associate Editor, Hamilton Magazine

Communications Manager, Ministry of the Attorney General

New Media Designer, Banff Centre for the Arts


Guest Lecturer, Writing for Online, Ryerson University

New Media Design, City of Kingston/Kingston Public Library

Faculty/Delegate, CWC/CORUS New Media Career Accelerator

Photoshop, Town of Banff

Dreamweaver, Town of Banff

HTML, Town of Banff


Polaris Music Prize Juror

Delegate of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and JUNOS Juror

GritLit Festival Director of Marketing

Canadian Online Publishing Awards Juror

Webby Awards Juror


As Seen In

Ruel, Maxime. "The Bizarro Laws Keeping Canada Weird" Medium, September 12, 2018.

Nathan Taylor. “Orillia Festival Helps Keep the Art of Storytelling Alive and Well.” Orillia Matters, July 16, 2018 newspaper.

"The best Canadian books of all time" Ottawa Life, July 1, 2018, magazine.

"The Best Canadian Books of All Time" Ottawa Life, July 1, 2018, magazine.

"The best Canadian books of all time" Kobo, June 26, 2018, website.

Boone, Brian. "The Best Comedy Books of 2017" Vulture/New York, December 25, 2017, magazine

Sinclair, Reyes. “Funny Canadian History” Reading for You, November 30, 2017, website.

Davidson, Dan. "Poking Fun at Some National Icons on Our Birthday" What's Up Yukon, August 30, 2017, magazine.

"Is Canada Even Real?" The Book Trail, June 30, 2017, website.

Various Artists: Dominionated IV” Dominionated, June 30, 2017, website.

Tennant, Jamie. “Get Lit E31 with J.C. Villamere” 93.3 CFMU-FM, June 22, 2017, radio.

Day, Lisa. "#IsCanadaEvenReal? ET Canada’s J.C. Villamere finds out" Book Talk, May 29, 2017 website.

Dandeneau, Lolly K. "Is Canada Even Real? How a Nation Built on Hobos, Beavers, Weirdos, and Hip-Hop Convinced the World to Beliebe by J.C. Villamere" Book Stalker, May 23, 2017, website.

Brody, Laura. "Is Canada Even Real?" CHCH TV, May 16, 2017, television.

Gray, Charlotte. "Review: Jesse Brown’s The Canadaland Guide to Canada and J.C. Villamere’s Is Canada Even Real?" The Globe & Mail, May 12, 2017, newspaper.

Rockingham, Graham. “Hamilton writer celebrates Canada's 'weirdos’” the Hamilton Spectator, May 10, 2017, newspaper.

Spuckler, Joseph "Book Review — Is Canada Even Real?: How a Nation Built on Hobos, Beavers, Weirdos, and Hip Hop Convinced the World to Beliebe" Evilcyclist's Bookshelf, March 7, 2017, website.

Kathy Renwald, Kathy. “Curating Canadiana" the Hamilton Spectator, August 6, 2015, newspaper.

“People in Publishing.” Masthead, March 3, 2011, magazine.

“Tips From CSME Panel on Building a Successful Blog.” Masthead, February 17, 2011, magazine.