Canada's Walk of Fame

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Canada's Walk of Fame
Allée des célébrités canadiennes
Canada's Walk of Fame Corporate Logo.jpg
Established 1998
Location Toronto, Canada
Co-founder Peter Soumalias
Inductees 151

Canada's Walk of Fame (French: Allée des célébrités canadiennes), located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a non-profit, registered charity and volunteer driven organization. Their mission is to engage Canadians in celebrating those who have excelled in music, sport, film, television, as well as the literary, visual, performing arts, science and innovation. It consists of a series of maple leaf-like stars embedded along King Street West in downtown Toronto. The stars are located in front of Roy Thomson Hall, The Princess of Wales Theatre, and The Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street as well as Simcoe Street.

The first group of members was inducted in 1998, and to date 151 Canadians have been inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. These Inductees include athletes; coaches; dancers; actors, directors, writers and producers of movies, television and stage; singers, songwriters and musicians; models; playwrights; authors; comedians; cartoonists; philanthropists and activists .


A line of stars along Simcoe Street

The Walk of Fame was first conceived in 1996 when co-founder, 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, 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. Canada's Walk of Fame has since become a popular tourist attraction in Toronto and has been named the number one Canadian recognition event.[1]

In 2005, the board of directors held a contest to design a new location for Canada's Walk of Fame. The winner was announced in September 2006 and that it would move to Pecaut Square, next to Roy Thomson Hall.[2] However, in 2008, negotiations with the city of Toronto fell through and Canada's Walk of Fame would not be moving, although organizers will continue to look at three locations on private land in downtown Toronto.[3]

Walk of Fame[edit]

Induction process[edit]

Canada's Walk of Fame accepts nominations for potential inductees from the public year round, culminating with their National Nomination Promotion during the month of April. During the Promotion, after nominating, fans can enter a contest for the chance to win a VIP trip for two to attend the Canada's Walk of Fame Awards in Toronto. In 2000, prior to the introduction of the online voting system, over 30,000 nominations were received via letters, fax and e-mail.[4] Now submissions are accepted on the official Canada's Walk of Fame website and thousands of nominations are received every year, which are then sent to selection committee for consideration.

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.[5] 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.[5]

The process differs greatly from that of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 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.[6] 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."[7]

Canadian stars are inducted in an annual awards 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 Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, who have both individual stars and a star as a part of the band The Guess Who. Other notables are John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara who have their own star but also were in Second City Television.[8]

Induction ceremony[edit]

New inductees are inducted annually at an unveiling ceremony where their star, a stylized maple leaf, is revealed.[4] The first was held in 1998 and only four of the twelve living inductees attended: Karen Kain, Norman Jewison, Barbara Ann Scott and Rich Little.[9] The 2007 ceremony was held at Toronto's Hummingbird Centre, was attended by all seven inductees and was hosted by Eugene Levy.[10]

Past hosts include Trish Stratus, Tom Green, Jann Arden,[11] Kurt Browning and Catriona LeMay Doan.[12] The ceremony was broadcast by CTV until 2008.[10] Beginning in 2009 the ceremony was broadcast by Global.[13] The first ceremony on the network was hosted by Anne Murray while Howie Mandel hosted for the following two years.[14][15] Paul Shaffer hosted the event in 2012.[16]


Cineplex Legends Award[edit]

Established in 2008, the Cineplex Legends Award is posthumously awarded to "Canadian pioneers in film, music, sport, arts, and innovation." Sponsored by Cineplex Entertainment, the first recipients of the award were siblings Norma and Douglas Shearer. The award recipients are also given stars on the Walk of Fame.[17]

Allan Slaight Award[edit]

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,[18] Drake,[19]Melanie Fiona[20] and Carly Rae Jepsen.[21]

Initiatives & Programs[edit]

In recent years, Canada's Walk of Fame undertaken several new initiatives and programs.

Canada's Walk of Fame Festival[edit]

The Canada's Walk of Fame Festival was established in 2010. The festival spans 3 days, culminating with the Canada's Walk of Fame Awards Show. Since its inaugural year, the festival has included musical performances from both emerging and established Canadian artist such as Sarah McLachlan, Serena Ryder, Crystal Shawanda, Tom Cochrane and Melanie Fiona. In addition to the musical performances, the festival has included both screenings of Canadian films courtesy of Cineplex Entertainment, as well as comedy programming from both up-and-coming and established Canadian comedy acts.

A Song for Canada[edit]

Presented by RE/MAX, A Song for Canada competition was launched in 2011. The national competition sought to engage Canadians to help write a song about what Canada means to them. The Grand Prize Winner was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute lyrics to a new song for Canada and to work with Canadian pop superstar Chantal Kreviazuk along with her husband Raine Maida and Stephan Moccio, the composer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics anthem, "I Believe".

The final result, "I'm Here (A Song for Canada)", was released on iTunes by Universal Music Canada and performed live at the 2011 Canada's Walk of Fame Awards featuring Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida, Stephan Moccio and Calum Graham. The performance kicked off the broadcast of the Awards on Global, Sunday, 23 October.

Canada's Walk of Fame Emerging Artists Program[edit]

In 2011, Canada's Walk of Fame introduced the Emerging Artists Program. The Program leverages CWOF relationships in assisting emerging Canadian talent to follow their dream. The Program includes several scholarships as well as a variety of opportunities for them to hone their talent by performing in a number of CWOF events, open in major venues as well as meet established and successful Canadian artists.

RBC Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Prize[edit]

In 2012, in partnership with RBC, their National Premier Partner, and with the support of the RBC Foundation, Canada's Walk of Fame launched the RBC Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Prize competition. Taylor Kurta, the inaugural Grand Prize Winner received several prizes including a cash prize of $25,000 CDN, private studio time at Metalworks Studio with an appointed producer, periodically mentored by Rik Emmett and Gil Moore from Triumph; studio time in The Tragically Hip's private studio, mentored by Gord Sinclair ;introductions to music industry executives and more. Currently in its second year, the competition is designed to inspire and support the next generation of young, gifted Canadians who are looking to pursue a career in music.


Gordie Howe's star on the Walk of Fame as of April 2009. Damage can be seen on the bottom left corner.

In 1998, Laurie Brown of the CBC 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."[9] There has been criticism over the lack of Canadian roots of some of the inductees, such as Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer and Mack Sennett.[22]

In September 2010, William Shatner commented on Twitter 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."[23] The family of Gordie Howe also commented on the damage to Gordie's star. The Canadian Press reported that "A number of celebrities' stars are looking a bit rough around the edges."[24] 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,[25] 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.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Soumalias. "History". Canada's Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  2. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame plans to shift galaxy to new site". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 September 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-02. [dead link]
  3. ^ Guy Dixon (4 June 2008). "New Walk of Famers revealed". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  4. ^ a b Andrew Flynn (22 March 2000). "Walk on the 'famous' side; New pathway-to-the-stars entries include William Shatner and Gordie Howe". The Record. p. E07. 
  5. ^ a b "About Us". Canada's Walk of Fame. 29 January 2007. Archived from the original on 31 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  6. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame Nomination Form" (PDF). Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame Nomination Procedure". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  8. ^ Rob Salem (3 June 2007). "Catherine the great". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  9. ^ a b John McKay (2 June 2001). "Sidewalk constellation; Walter Ostanek, Leslie Nielsen in group joining Canada's Walk of Fame". The Record. 
  10. ^ a b "Eugene Levy To Host 2007 Canada s Walk of Fame on CTV". Canada's Walk of Fame. 28 February 2007. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  11. ^ John McKay (26 June 1998). "Canada's own star-studded walk unveiled in Toronto". The Record. p. A18. 
  12. ^ John McKay (29 May 2002). "Walk of Fame gala; Canadian stars honoured include The Tragically Hip, Gretzky, Monty Hall and Alex Colville". The Hamilton Spectator. p. A18. 
  13. ^ "Stars To Shine Brighter on Canada's Walk of Fame". Canada's Walk of Fame. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  14. ^ "2009 inductee Howie Mandel is back to host the 13th annual Canada's Walk of Fame tribute". Canada's Walk of Fame. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ YouTube
  17. ^ Canwest News Service (4 June 2008). "Albertans to take Canada's Walk of Fame". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  18. ^ "Nikki Yanofsky Honoured with First-Ever Allan Slaight Award From Canada's Walk of Fame". Canada's Walk of Fame. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ "Stars come out for Walk of Fame gala". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 June 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  23. ^ a b "William Shatner tweets about damaged star on Walk of Fame". Toronto Star. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  24. ^ "Mr. Hockey's Walk of Fame plaque cracked". Winnipeg Free Press. The Canadian Press. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  25. ^ "Damaged stars to be replaced on Walk of Fame". Toronto Star. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°38′50″N 79°23′13″W / 43.6471°N 79.38705°W / 43.6471; -79.38705