For the second time in the Juno Awards 41-year history, the annual celebration of Canadian music was held in the nation's capital of Ottawa, beginning with the private gala dinner at the Ottawa Convention Centre on Saturday evening at which the majority of the 41 statues were handed out.
Following a cocktail reception, guests moved into the sizeable Canada Hall room, where the Ottawa Police Marching Band walked through the aisle playing bagpipes and drums. This year's Pop Album of the Year nominee LIGHTS - winner of 2009's New Artist - then kicked off the evening with a performance.
Melanie Berry, president of the Canadian Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), then took the stage to give an overview of the night's proceedings and major awards - the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award to former broadcasting magnate and Canadian music champion Gary Slaight; the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award to Simple Plan; and Sunday night honorees Blue Rodeo, the latest inductees into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Berry called this year's Juno Awards a "personal homecoming," as the 2003 show in Ottawa was her first year at CARAS. She took time to recognize the recent passing of Pierre Juneau, a great supporter of Canadian talent who championed the Canadian Content regulations and after whom the Juno Awards is named.
Hosted by CBC Radio's Jian Ghomeshi, the first award of the night was the inaugural Metal/Hard Music Album category, which went to KEN mode for Venerable, beating out albums by higher profile acts Anvil and Devin Townsend Project.
Deadmau5, who came onstage without his mouse ears, announced Adele's 21 as International Album of the Year. She wasn't in attendance so he mugged with the award for a second, flashed a grin, and accepted it on her behalf.
The rest of the 34 awards were all for Canadians, including New Group and Rock Album to The Sheepdogs, Adult Alternative Album to Feist's Metals, Instrumental Album to Stretch Orchestra's self-titled release; Blues Album to MonkeyJunk's To Behold; Reggae Recording to Exco Levi's Bleaching Shop; and Country Album to Terri Clark's Roots and Wings.
For Slaight's induction, Sam Roberts and Triumph's Mike Levine did the honors, first introducing a unique tribute video. It began like any other, congrats and accolades from his friends and colleagues, including Sir Richard Branson and all the record label presidents, Universal Music Canada's Randy Lennox; Warner Music Canada's Steve Kane; Sony Music Canada's Shane Carter and EMI Music Canada's Deane Cameron. But then it got funny: a dozen Canadian musicians, such as k-os, Chantal Kreviazuk, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew and Andy Kim singing re-written lyrics to "We Are The World" with an appearance by K'naan using his "Waving Flag" melody.
One of the recipients of Slaight's generosity Lindi Ortega then performed.
More awards in this lengthy show were then handed out, including the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year to Brian Howes (Hedley, Nickelback); Vocal Jazz Album to Sonia Johnson's Le carre de nos amours; Traditional Jazz Album to David Braid's Verge; Rap Recording to Drake for Take Care; and Aboriginal Album to Murray Porter's Songs Lived & Life Played.
Simple Plan was then honored with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, the youngest recipients ever of this award. "Helping out others isn't something that has to happen when you are 50 or 60 years old," said singer Pierre Bouvier, adding that he hopes to inspires other young artists. The multi-platinum band has raised over $1 million (CDN) for various youth-related causes since starting The Simple Plan Foundation in December 2005.
Other winners for the final round of awards included World Music Album to Kiran Ahluwalia for Aam Zameen: common ground; Electronic Album to Tim Hecker for "Ravedeath, 1972"; Alternative Album to Dan Mangan for Oh Fortune; Roots & Traditional Album (Solo) to Bruce Cockburn's Small Source of Comfort; Roots & Traditonal Album (Group) to The Wailin' Jennys's Bright Morning Stars; R&B/Soul Recording to Melanie Fiona for Gone And Never Coming Back; Group to Arkells; and Pop Album to Hedley's Storms.
The Recording Package of The Year was also presented - to Jeff Harrison and Kim Ridgewell for Chris Tarry's Rest of the Story - "in honour of Andrew MacNaughtan," the late music photographer and video director who died suddenly in January of a heart attack while in Los Angeles shooting Rush. A dozen of his framed photographs, ranging from Nickelback to Kathleen Edwards to Rush, were displayed in the reception area and Ghomeshi encouraged people to continue to support his ArtsGivesHope charity.
For a full list go to www.junoawards.ca.