The Reynolds Legacy
Features / November 18, 2016
Ryan has a special place in all our hearts, always and forever
Staff Writer Alyssa Laube & Web Editor Joseph Keller
What would the great institution of Kwantlen Polytechnic University be without Ryan Reynolds? In Vancouver he’s essentially a regional treasure. Every person in the city knew about Deadpool being filmed on the streets. We got excited about seeing it in theatres, recognizing the viaducts and the No. 5 Orange during the actor’s snarky fight scenes. Gossip rapidly spread about seeing him at the local Cactus Club or Chevron. Paparazzi snapped pictures of him eating at his favorite restaurants. Chaos ensued.
But most importantly, we at KPU had reasonable cause to reminisce about the days when he once roamed our star-studded halls, way back in the mid-nineties.
Granted, it was only for a few months—but the brief time that Reynolds spent at KPU has certainly gone down in history for eternity. What exactly he did here has been lost to time, as have the courses he took, whether or not he enjoyed himself, and why he dropped out during his first year.
But all that really matters is that—once upon a time—he was here. At some point, Ryan Reynolds probably touched or breathed on something you’ve interacted with in your life, and that should be more than good enough.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Now, let’s jump back in time for a moment to 1976. Baby Reynolds is born to two blue-collar parents: James Chester Reynolds, who worked in food wholesale, and Tammy Reynolds, who deals to this day in retail sales. James and Tammy were not new to childbearing when our beloved Ryan came along—they had three other, burlier sons, two of which went on to protect the nation as police officers.
The sensitive one of the bunch, young Ryan already had an acting career in 1991, starting with the role of Billy Simpson in a Canadian teen soap opera. His first big roles came later, with The Odyssey in 1993, Sabrina the Teenage Witch in 1996, Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place in 1998, and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder in 2002.
Then came the rom-com period that established Reynolds as the Hollywood hunk that we all know and love. In Just Friends, Definitely Maybe, and The Proposal, he worked alongside talented and beautiful ladies that fell head over heels for him on-camera. Around the same time, Reynolds showed us his brooding dark side with Blade: Trinity, The Amityville Horror, and Smoking Aces, all of which predated his brief superhero freak-out that would add X-Men and Deadpool’s Wade Wilson and Green Lantern’s Hal Jordan to his portfolio.
He also narrated a documentary called Whale along the way and worked as a voice actor for kids’ animated films The Croods and Turbo.
To celebrate his 40th birthday, the Kwantlen Student Association threw a party in the Grassroots Café Oct. 24. To be more specific, they threw “A Super-Dee Duper Burthday Party for Ryan Reynolds”—as written on the event’s Facebook page—one day after his actual date of birth. Screenshots of his Tweets were on the posters. “Ryan Reynolds Memorial” plaques were put on the gender neutral bathrooms’ doors. People were excited.
There was a Reynolds movie marathon, banners, balloons, and a life-sized cutout of the man himself. Later on there was also Deadpool bingo and a cake-cutting ceremony. Murdoch De Mooy, KSA Richmond Campus Representative and KGG President, won an Iron Man plushie. Let the good times roll.
So what should everyone’s favorite KPU—sort of—alumni mean to us? The Runner sat down with KSA vice president of student life Natasha Lopes who not only planned the festivities for Mr. Reynold’s birthday but was also the visionary behind the landmark Ryan Reynolds Memorial Bathrooms in Cedar building. Surely, if anyone understands why the man holds such a special place in the hearts of everyone at this institution, it’s her.
“Every major university has somebody that they cling to, somebody that’s come out of their institution that is very famous—a lot of American schools have this and they play upon that,” says Lopes. “For me, Mr. Reynolds is so well known to the public that I want to celebrate somebody that not only comes from our province, our city, but somebody who did come to KPU, and to show to students that we can get you places.”
According to Lopes, while the main reason for celebrating Reynolds’ birthday may have been mostly to give students a reprieve from mid-semester burnout and to raise a little money for a special fund by the KSA to help students in financial need, there is also another reason. According to Lopes, there’s a lesson that we can all learn from Ryan Reynolds.
“No matter how bad your day is, doesn’t matter if—to use a Reynolds example—your daughter left a big mess in her diaper and she’s laughing at you because you’re cleaning it up, or if you’re, like me, really stressed out about your french homework, it’ll all be okay and you just have to take everything with a little bit of salt,” says Lopes.
Little can be said definitively about Reynolds’ time at KPU. It’s something of a mystery, even to Ryan Reynolds super fan Natasha Lopes.
“I know that he spent one semester here, and that’s about it.” says Lopes. We don’t know what he studied, who his professors were, or if he ever used the washrooms that now proudly bare his name. What we can be sure of is somewhere in Hollywood, Mr Reynolds is assuredly looking back fondly on his time at our little campus and KPU students all over the Lower Mainland can proudly proclaim that we go to the school of the Green Lantern himself.
Ten Fun Ryan Facts
He’s scared of flying. After going skydiving and having his parachute fail to open the first try, he formed the reasonable phobia of free-falling through the air.
He failed his first drama class in high school.
He’s a big fan of the Green Bay Packers.
He got engaged to and separated from Alanis Morissette and Scarlett Johansson, but is now married to Blake Lively and has two kids at home.
Morissette’s album, Flavors of Entanglement, and particularly the song “Torch”, was written about her breakup with Reynolds.
He was offered the role of Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Nicolas Brendon got it instead.
He loves motorcycles and owns three: a 2005 Harley-Davidson Springer Softail, a 2006 Ducati Sport 1000, and a 2005 Confederate.
He has a tattoo of Vancouver’s Nine O’clock Gun, a cannon that goes off every evening at Stanley Park, on his right wrist.
He was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2010.
His net worth is $45 million, but to KPU, he’s priceless.