Torontoist Explains: Canada's Walk of Fame
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




Torontoist Explains: Canada’s Walk of Fame

We explain how those famous names wind up on the sidewalk outside Roy Thomson Hall.

Photo by Jean from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Jean from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

If you’re not busy tomorrow, consider heading down to the Sony Centre to see Jason Priestly and a cast of Canuck celebrities at the annual Canada’s Walk of Fame event. The gala honours the 2015 inductees, including: Michael Bublé, Don Cherry and Ron MacLean, Wendy Crewson, Lorne Greene, Lawrence Hill, Silken Laumann, and Shawn Mendes.

Bet you’re saying, “Hey, I’ve heard of those people! What’s this all about?” Well, we’re glad you asked, because we found out the answers.

What is Canada’s Walk of Fame?

Canada’s Walk of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing Canadians who have excelled at things in a famous way.

Established in 1998, the organization has recognized 161 Canadians so far, and conducts year-round events and programs. However, it’s mostly known for the stretches of sidewalk on King, west of Simcoe and Simcoe, south of King (flanking Roy Thomson Hall), which are literally paved with stars representing all manner of Canadian luminaries. Swing by any summer afternoon to watch American tourists pacing its length exclaiming “Who’s that?” and “There’s no way she’s Canadian!”.

Unlike its older American cousin, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Canada’s Walk of Fame doesn’t just honour the entertainment industry. Inductees come from occupations ranging from literature to sports to music to public service, which is why you’ll find famed jurist Louise Arbour nestled between musician Jeff Healey and World’s Sexiest Man for 2010, Ryan Reynolds, with Mordecai Richler and Team Canada 1972 a few steps away. You can see the full list of inductees here.

How do I get my favourite Canadian on the Walk?

The public can nominate candidates via the Walk of Fame website. All nominations go to an executive selection committee that includes members of Canada’s Walk of Fame executive staff and board, who select six to seven members for induction each year.

What are the criteria for induction?

To get your star on the walk, minimum criteria include:

  • Been born in Canada, or have spent their formative or creative years in Canada
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience in their field and have an established body of work
  • Had national or international impact on Canada’s heritage
  • Should represent the essence of the Canadian identity: peace-loving, diverse, harmonious, socially responsible, creative, confident, innovative, and successful (Precisely the words we would use to describe 2015 inductee Don Cherry.)

Other considerations include ensuring a balance of genres or fields among candidates, and the availability of the inductee to be present at the induction ceremony (a requirement presumably waived for Alexander Graham Bell).

Can I nominate myself for Canada’s Walk of Fame?

Yes, but be prepared to prove yourself peace-loving, diverse, harmonious, and more.

Should we be worried about running out of star space on the Canada’s Walk of Fame before we run out of famous Canadians?

Canada’s Walk of Fame “(does) not foresee any imminent concerns with real estate available for placement of the Outdoor Museum of Stars along Toronto’s Entertainment district.” They work with the city to identify locations for each year’s new stars, and don’t expect to run out of space anytime soon.

Each square has the signature of its inductee on it. How does that work?

Canada’s Walk of Fame inductees sign their signatures when they come to town for the celebration events, and those are then engraved into granite sidewalk stars.

I love watching people get inducted into things but can’t make it to the event. What can I do?

No worries, the 2015 Canada’s Walk of Fame event will be televised on Global TV on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

CORRECTION: 11:54 PM An earlier version of this article indicated that on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, celebrities smoosh their hands in concrete. This is not the case, as we confused that with TCL Chinese Theater on the same street.