Avril Ramona Lavigne was born on September 27, 1984, in Belleville, a small city in the eastern part of the province of Ontario, Canada. Her father, John, was a technician for Bell Canada; mother Judy was a stay-at-home mom. When Lavigne was five, the family moved to Napanee, a farming town even smaller than Belleville with a total population of only five thousand.
Lavigne has an older brother Matthew and a younger sister Michelle. From the time she was a toddler, Lavigne idolized her older brother, Matt, and insisted on trying to do anything he could do. As she explained to Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly, "If he played hockey, I had to play hockey. He played baseball, I wanted to." In fact, when Lavigne was ten she played in the Napanee boy's hockey league; she also became known as quite a baseball pitcher.
As she grew older Lavigne gained a reputation as a tomboy who preferred family outings like dirt biking or camping over dating. And in the tenth grade, she discovered skateboarding, which became a particular passion. "I'm just not a girlie-girl," Lavigne laughingly told Willman. When not playing sports, however, she did pursue another interest - singing.
The Lavignes were devout Christians and attended Evangel Temple in Napanee, where young Avril sang in the choir beginning at age ten. Soon she branched out and began singing at all types of venues, including county fairs, hockey games, and company parties. She primarily sang covers of songs made popular by country singers Martina McBride and Faith Hill. Lavigne's parents bought her a sound machine to sing along with, and she practiced in front of a mirror at home for hours.