Jeff Healey, The Band Among Canada Walk of Fame Inductees
The late Jeff Healey, the blind blues-rock singer who played guitar on his lap, and The Band, which featured Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, as well as American Levon Helm, are the two musical honorees to be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame on Oct. 18.
Both acts will receive stars on the sidewalk in Toronto's entertainment district and be honored at a tribute show Sept. 19 at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. A televised special of the event will air in Canada on Global Television on Dec. 19.
Healey, who lost his sight as a baby to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer, passed away in 2008 of another form of cancer at the age of 41. Of the original members of the Band, only Robertson and Hudson are still living. They will be feted alongside actors Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams; athlete Hayley Wickenheiser (women's ice hockey); and lawyer Louise Arbour, the former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
"We are proud to welcome these six new outstanding honourees to Canada's Walk of Fame," Melanie Berry, the new CEO of Canada's Walk of Fame, said in a statement. "Each have impacted Canada's social and cultural heritage across the country and around the world. They are inspiring and remind us that anything can be achieved with hard work, dedication, passion and integrity. They are ambassadors of Canada and instill pride in our country."
The Walk of Fame inductees have been chosen for their achievements in various fields, including music, sports, film and television, literary, visual and performing arts, science, innovation, philanthropy and social justice. Candidates must have been born in or spent their creative or formative years in Canada. A minimum of 10 successful years is required to qualify, as well as a recognized body of work that has had a significant influence on our cultural heritage.
Healey will also receive this year's Cineplex Legends Award -- sponsored by Cineplex Entertainment -- which is given posthumously to a Canadian pioneer in film and television, music, sports, arts or innovation.
Also announced, acclaimed R&B singer The Weeknd will receive the 2014 Allan Slaight Award, presented to a young Canadian making a positive impact in the fields of music, film, literature, visual or performing arts, sports, innovation or philanthropy. He will receive the award, along with a $10,000 honorarium, during the Canada's Walk of Fame show at the Sony Centre.
"The Weeknd has catapulted into the mainstream in a relatively short period of time," Hurley said. "He is a uniquely talented artist who is driven and dedicated to his work. His overall contribution to music in Canada is something to be applauded, and we are proud to recognize him this year with this award."
"Abel's remarkable musical talents have resonated around the world, earning him justifiable success," said Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications. "My father, Allan, has championed many great Canadian artists over the years, and in this spirit we are more than thrilled to acknowledge The Weeknd's notable contributions today."
Surrounding the Canada's Walk of Fame inductions, there will be a three-day festival — presented by Tim Hortons — Sept. 22 to 24 at David Pecaut Square featuring an all-Canadian lineup of multi-disciplinary acts from music to book readings, comedy to breakdancing. Musical acts include Juno Award-winner Tomi Swick, roots rockers (and sons of promoter Michael Cohl) The Treasures, chart-topper Karl Wolf, a cappella group Eh440, bluegrass duo The Abrams Brothers, Tyler Shaw, plus the seven winners of the 2014 RBC Emerging Artist Music Mentorship Prize, including grand prize winner NEFE.