She is one of Canada’s most honoured actresses — a two-time Genie, Gemini and Dora Award-winner — but despite her fame and acclaim on both the stage and screen, when it comes to everyday life, Sheila McCarthy doesn’t care much about bells and whistles. And her simple life philosophy extends to her cars, too.

“Actually, the plan for the next part of my life is to not be in my car as much,” says the star of Little Mosque on the Prairie, who currently drives a sage-green 2007 Subaru Outback. “In all honesty, I’m not really a car person. But the Subaru is very practical and dependable,” she adds.

Having recently wrapped the internationally acclaimed Canadian comedy’s fourth season, during which time she commuted from her home in Stratford, Ont. to the show’s studios in Toronto, McCarthy is reveling in what she calls her “season to do benefits.”

“Little Mosque sort of affords me the time off to do other stuff,” she explains. “This is payback time.”

Aside from her ongoing work with Canadian Feed The Children, which has taken her to Bolivia and has her currently working on an Elvis-themed fundraising event, the mother of two is also in the midst of organizing an annual quilting fundraiser for Well Spring Cancer Support Centres.

With such a busy schedule, the star of classic movies including I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing and Free Willy, spends a lot of time in her Subaru.

“I’ve had my Subaru for three years and I’ve got 94,000 clicks on it,” she says. “I drive a lot.”
Although she says she’s not a speed demon, McCarthy admits to getting frustrated with tourists who clog the streets of Stratford during the theatre festival season.

“I do get a big aggressive with the tourists in Stratford,” she says coyly. “But I’ve been driving a long time and I would say I’m a pretty good driver.”

In fact, McCarthy, now 53, has been driving since the day she turned 16 got her licence and bought her first car.

“It was an old 1962 Volvo Standard,” she recalls. “Her name was Roberta. I couldn’t even drive gear shift, but I bought it because I thought it was so pretty.”

Correction - Nov 19, 2009, 1:57 p.m. EST: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sheila McCarthy worked with Free The Children. In fact, she works with Canadian Feed The Children.

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