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Canada's Walk of Fame

Canada's Walk of Fame

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Canada's Walk of Fame located in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, is a walk of fame that acknowledges the achievements and accomplishments of successful Canadians. It consists of a series of maple leaf
Maple leaf
The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.-Use in Canada:At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000...

-like stars imbedded in 13 designated blocks' worth of sidewalks in Toronto, located in front of Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall is a concert hall located at 60 Simcoe Street in Toronto, Ontario. It is the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Opened in 1982, its circular architectural design exhibits a sloping and curvilinear glass exterior. It was designed by Canadian...

, The Princess of Wales Theatre
Princess of Wales Theatre
The Princess of Wales Theatre is a 2000-seat theatre located at 300 King Street West in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District in the downtown area...

, and The Royal Alexandra Theatre
Royal Alexandra Theatre
The Royal Alexandra Theatre is a theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada located near King and Simcoe Streets. Built in 1907, the Royal Alex is the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in North America.-History:...

 on King Street as well as Simcoe Street.

The first group of members was inducted in 1998, and it has since expanded to include a young filmmakers competition and there are plans for a permanent museum. There are 131 Canadians on the walk of fame, including athletes; coaches
Coach (sport)
In sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople.-Staff:...

; actors, directors, writers and producers of movies
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 and stage
Stage (theatre)
In theatre or performance arts, the stage is a designated space for the performance productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience...

; singers, songwriter
A songwriter is an individual who writes both the lyrics and music to a song. Someone who solely writes lyrics may be called a lyricist, and someone who only writes music may be called a composer...

s and musicians; playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

s; authors; comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

s; cartoonists and models
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....



The Walk of Fame was first conceived in 1996 when founder and current president Peter Soumalias suggested the idea of a Walk of Fame for famous Torontonians to the board of the Toronto Entertainment District Association. They rejected his idea but he went on to establish a Walk of Fame for Canadians in partnership with Bill Ballard
Bill Ballard
William Ballard is a businessman and concert promoter. He is the son of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey mogul Harold Ballard.Bill Ballard was a founder of Concert Productions International , a major promoter of rock concerts and tours in North America...

, Dusty Cohl and Gary Slaight. In spite of a lack of funds, research and no media plan, they managed to succeed and the first class of inductees was inducted in 1998. The Walk of Fame has since become a popular tourist attraction in Toronto and has been named the number one Canadian recognition event.

In 2005, the board of directors held a contest to design a new location for the Walk of Fame. The winner was announced in September 2006 and that it would move to Pecaut Square
Pecaut Square
Pecaut Square is a large concrete-and granite-clad plaza located in front of Metro Hall in Toronto, Canada. The square supports the PATH network connection between Metro Hall and nearby buildings such as Metro Centre...

, next to Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall is a concert hall located at 60 Simcoe Street in Toronto, Ontario. It is the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Opened in 1982, its circular architectural design exhibits a sloping and curvilinear glass exterior. It was designed by Canadian...

. However, in 2008, negotiations with the city of Toronto fell apart and the Walk of Fame would not be moving, although organizers will continue to look at three locations on private land in downtown Toronto.

The Walk of Fame has since partnered with several different organizations, such as the Mary Pickford Institute
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

 to produce a young filmmakers competition. There is also a music competition that was launched in 2007, and a book is planned, which at the moment is titled "108 Great Canadians". There are also plans to manage a festival of Canadian films and plans for a permanent "Museum of Canadian Achievement".

Induction process

Canada's Walk of Fame runs an annual contest in which Canadians can nominate potential inductees. In 2000, prior to the introduction of the online voting system, over 30,000 nominations were received via letters, fax and e-mail. Now submissions are accepted on the official Walk of Fame website and thousands of nominations are received every year, which are then collected into various files and are then sent to selection committee.

The committee then analyzes the nominees based on the following criteria: the nominee was born in Canada or has spent their formative or creative years in Canada; they have had a minimum of 10 years experience in their field; they have had a national or international impact on Canada’s Cultural heritage. Following the Selection Committee's evaluation, the nominees that meet all of the requirements are forwarded to the board of directors, who then select the inductees.

The process differs greatly from that of the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

. The Hollywood version allows only celebrities of the silver screen, television, radio, live theatre and singers/musicians, while Canada's Walk allows people of more diverse occupations, as listed above. While most celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are American or have achieved their fame in the United States, Canada's Walk of Fame is exclusive to Canadians. For someone to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they must be nominated by a sponsor who must agree to field the approximately $25,000 cost of installing a star. From there, the names are submitted to a nominating committee of five people, who pick 10-15 names to award stars to annually. The only criteria for it are: "professional achievement, longevity of five years or more, contributions to the community and the guarantee that the celebrity will attend the dedication ceremony if selected."

Canadian stars are inducted in an annual group ceremony; while the Hollywood Walk of Fame rarely inducts more than two major stars at a time. Celebrities can have more than one star on the Hollywood Walk, the same celebrity can receive as many as five stars under the various categories. This does not happen with Canada's Walk of Fame, although some may have an individual star but are also included as part of a larger group, such as John Candy
John Candy
John Franklin Candy was a Canadian actor and comedian. He rose to fame as a member of the Toronto branch of The Second City and its related Second City Television series, and through his appearances in comedy films such as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, and Uncle...

, Martin Short
Martin Short
Martin Hayter Short, CM is a Canadian actor, comedian, writer, singer and producer. He is best-known for his comedy work, particularly on the TV programs SCTV and Saturday Night Live...

, Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy, CM is a Canadian actor, comedian, television director, producer, musician, and writer. He is known for his work in Canadian television series, American movies, and television movies. He is the only actor to have appeared in all eight of the American Pie films, as Noah Levenstein...

 and Catherine O'Hara
Catherine O'Hara
Catherine Anne O'Hara is a Canadian-American actress and comedienne. She is well known for her comedy work on SCTV, and her roles in the films After Hours, Beetlejuice, Home Alone, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and also in the mockumentary films written and directed by Christopher Guest...

 who have their own star but also were in Second City Television
Second City Television
Second City Television is a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from Toronto's The Second City troupe that ran between 1976 and 1984.- Premise :...


Induction ceremony

New inductees are inducted annually at an unveiling ceremony where their star, a stylized maple leaf
Maple leaf
The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.-Use in Canada:At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000...

, is revealed. The first was held in 1998 and only four of the twelve living inductees attended: Karen Kain
Karen Kain
Karen Alexandria Kain, CC is a retired Canadian ballet dancer, and currently the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada.-Early Training:...

, Norman Jewison
Norman Jewison
Norman Frederick Jewison, CC, O.Ont is a Canadian film director, producer, actor and founder of the Canadian Film Centre. Highlights of his directing career include In the Heat of the Night , The Thomas Crown Affair , Fiddler on the Roof , Jesus Christ Superstar , Moonstruck , The Hurricane and The...

, Barbara Ann Scott and Rich Little
Rich Little
Richard Caruthers "Rich" Little is a Canadian-American impressionist and voice actor. He has long been known throughout the world as a top impersonator of famous people, resulting in his nickname, "The Man of a Thousand Voices"....

. The 2007 ceremony was held at Toronto's Hummingbird Centre
Hummingbird Centre
The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is a major performing arts venue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.-About the Centre:The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts is Canada’s largest soft-seat theatre...

, was attended by all eight inductees and was hosted by Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy, CM is a Canadian actor, comedian, television director, producer, musician, and writer. He is known for his work in Canadian television series, American movies, and television movies. He is the only actor to have appeared in all eight of the American Pie films, as Noah Levenstein...

. Past hosts include Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus
Patricia Anne Stratigias , better known by her ring name Trish Stratus, is a Canadian professional wrestler, actress and television personality currently signed with WWE. She is also a former fitness model....

, Tom Green
Tom Green
Michael Thomas "Tom" Green is a Canadian actor, rapper, writer, comedian, talk show host and media personality. Best known for his shock humour brand of comedy, Green found mainstream prominence via his MTV television show The Tom Green Show...

, Jann Arden
Jann Arden
Jann Arden is a Canadian singer-songwriter.-Life and career:Arden was born and raised near Calgary in Springbank, Alberta and attended Springbank Community High School. Her breakthrough came with her critically acclaimed 1993 debut album Time for Mercy and her first single "I Would Die For You"...

, Kurt Browning
Kurt Browning
Kurt Browning, CM is a Canadian figure skater, choreographer and commentator. He is a four-time World Champion and four-time Canadian national champion.-Life and career:...

 and Catriona LeMay Doan
Catriona LeMay Doan
Catriona Ann Le May Doan, OC is a Canadian speed skater and a double Olympic champion in the 500 m. The proper pronunciation of her first name is "Kah-TREE-O-nah".-Speed skating:...

. The ceremony was broadcast by CTV
CTV television network
CTV Television Network is a Canadian English language television network and is owned by Bell Media. It is Canada's largest privately-owned network, and has consistently placed as Canada's top-rated network in total viewers and in key demographics since 2002, after several years trailing the rival...

 until 2008. Beginning in 2009 the ceremony was broadcast by Global
Global Television Network
Global Television Network is an English language privately owned television network in Canada, owned by Calgary-based Shaw Communications, as part of its Shaw Media division...

. The first ceremony on the network was hosted by Anne Murray
Anne Murray
Morna Anne Murray CC, ONS is a Canadian singer in pop, country and adult contemporary styles whose albums have sold over 54 million copies....

 while Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel
Howard Michael "Howie" Mandel is a Canadian stand-up comedian, television host, and actor. He is well known as host of the NBC game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. Before his career as a game show host, Mandel was best known for his role on...

 hosted for the following two years.

Canadian Legends Award

Established in 2008, the Canadian Legends Award is posthumously awarded to "Canadian pioneers in film, music, sport, arts, and innovation." Sponsored by Cineplex Entertainment
Cineplex Entertainment
Cineplex Entertainment LP , is the largest film exhibitor in Canada and owns, leases or has a joint-venture interest in 130 theatres with 1,351 screens. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Cineplex operates theatres from British Columbia to Quebec...

 and Universal Studios Canada
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

, the first recipients of the award were siblings Norma
Norma Shearer
Edith Norma Shearer was a Canadian-American actress. Shearer was one of the most popular actresses in North America from the mid-1920s through the 1930s...

 and Douglas Shearer
Douglas Shearer
Douglas G. Shearer was a Canadian-born pioneer sound designer and recording director who played a key role in the advancement of sound technology for motion pictures.-Early life and career:...

. The award recipients are also given stars on the Walk of Fame.

Allan Slaight Award

First awarded in 2010, the Allan Slaight Award, named after the leading figure in the Canadian radio industry, is awarded to a young Canadian for "making a positive impact in the fields of music, film, literature, visual or performing arts, sports, innovation or philanthropy." Recipients receive an honorarium of $10,000 from the Slaight Foundation, but are not considered inductees of the Walk of Fame. So far, recipients of the Slaight award have been Nikki Yanofsky
Nikki Yanofsky
Nicole "Nikki" Yanofsky is a Canadian jazz-pop singer from Hampstead, Quebec. She is involved in charitable causes, and released her first studio album on her own label, A440 Entertainment, and on Decca Records outside of Canada. Yanofsky sang Canada's national anthem at the opening ceremonies of...

 and Drake 


In 1998, Laurie Brown
Laurie Brown (broadcaster)
Laurie Brown is a Canadian television journalist. Her parents were originally from Nova Scotia, and when Brown was in her teens, they and her sister moved back to that province...

 of the CBC
CBC Television
CBC Television is a Canadian television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster.Although the CBC is supported by public funding, the television network supplements this funding with commercial advertising revenue, in contrast to CBC Radio which are...

 criticized the Walk of Fame, calling it "just an attraction to lure tourists to theatres in the area." She claimed that it would only honour Canadians with international impact, saying "if it was truly for Canadians, then I think there would be more of a national bend to the whole thing. But I doubt I'm going to see a star on the Walk of Fame that is only a known-name here in Canada." There has been criticism over the lack of Canadian roots of some of the inductees, such as Jack Warner
Jack Warner
Jack Leonard "J. L." Warner , born Jacob Warner in London, Ontario, was a Canadian American film executive who was the president and driving force behind the Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California...

, Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
Louis Burt Mayer born Lazar Meir was an American film producer. He is generally cited as the creator of the "star system" within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in its golden years. Known always as Louis B...

 and Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett was a Canadian-born American director and was known as the innovator of slapstick comedy in film. During his lifetime he was known at times as the "King of Comedy"...


In September 2010, William Shatner
William Shatner
William Alan Shatner is a Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, and author. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T...

 commented on Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

 regarding damage to his star on the Walk of Fame: "I hear my star on the Canadian Walk of Fame is a bit frazzled ... but, then again, so am I. I wonder if anybody hovering around that area can tell me what’s wrong with it and what needs fixing." The family of Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe
Gordon "Gordie" Howe, OC is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who played for the Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League , and the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers in the World Hockey Association . Howe is often referred to as Mr...

 also commented on the damage to his star. The Canadian Press reported that "A number of celebrities' stars are looking a bit rough around the edges." The president of the Walk of Fame stated that damage was due to the freezing and thawing during Canadian winters and also sidewalk snowplows. It was announced that the city of Toronto would replace Shatner and Howe's damaged tiles, and the Walk of Fame was looking into an alternative to installing the plaques on a sidewalk where they are at the mercy of the elements.

See also

  • List of Canadian awards
  • Persons of National Historic Significance
  • The Greatest Canadian
    The Greatest Canadian
    Officially launched on April 5, 2004, The Greatest Canadian was a television program series by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to determine who is considered to be the greatest Canadian of all time, at least among those who watched and participated in the program...

External links