Walk of Fame inductees brim with Canadian pride

17-Oct-2010 | SHARE:

Canadian songstress Nelly Furtado was emotional on Saturday as she was honoured as one of the seven new inductees on Canada's Walk of Fame.

"I think about my grandmother who moved here in her mid-50s with her 10 kids to start a new life after she lost her husband and I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her," said Furtado. "Canada's a huge part of my story."

After 13 years, Canada's Walk of Fame swelled to 131 inductees with Saturday's addition of Furtado, filmmaker Sarah Polley, actor Eric McCormack, cycling and skating Olympic medallist Clara Hughes, Blood, Sweat &Tears frontman David Clayton-Thomas, the late magician Doug Henning and conservationist and author Farley Mowat.

From the red carpet in Toronto, here's what the guests and inductees had to say:

"It's an opportunity to dress up and put on makeup, and as with any opportunity to put on makeup, I'm thrilled," said host Howie Mandel, himself a Walk of Fame inductee in 2009.

R&B singer Jully Black, who was slated to sing Blood, Sweat & Tears to usher in inductee Clayton-Thomas, was asked who designed her outfit. "This might be an H&M special," she said, flipping the tag around on her slinky black dress.

"Hanging out with Clara Hughes," said Polley, when asked about what was her favourite part of the event. Asked who she'd like to see receive a Walk of Fame star, Polley replied, "Eric Peterson. He's helped create the fabric about what's interesting in Canadian theatre and the Canadian art scene and I think he's been under-recognized in some way, but there's so many. Can I e-mail you a good answer?"

Furtado said the person she was most excited to meet was Polley. "She said she does a karaoke impression of me," Furtado said, with a laugh.

Hughes said the evening was challenging. "I'm more comfortable on 17-inch blades than in heels," she said.

"This might be the first time I ever walked down the middle of Yonge Street," said McCormack, who brought along his eight-year-old son and Janet, his wife.

Once the inductees made their way into Toronto's Canon Theatre, Mandel warmed up the crowd. "Sarah, you've got to run your fingers through Farley Mowat's beard," said Mandel and, charmingly, Polley obliged. "Finch Avenue East Public School!" shouted Clayton-Thomas upon accepting his award, referencing a buddy in the audience who knew the singer before there was Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Polley accepted her award after Gordon Pinsent narrated a clip that spoke of the highlights of a career that began when the actress was four. "How lucky I have been," she said, "to have a career in the arts and get to stay home."

Polley said Hughes represents what's best about being Canadian. "Her natural characteristic is the thing I'm most proud of about us -- our humility," Polley said.

Henning had the most moving tribute, with both Bill Cosby and David Copperfield appearing in his clip. "He was always searching for something unique," said Cosby. "Long before I made the Statue of Liberty disappear, there was Doug," said Copperfield. "I'm going to drink myself into extinction," Mowat said, referring to his award celebration. "It might be done with some difficulty, it depends upon how strong I feel."

McCormack grew tearful when he took the stage, referencing his parents, who both died of cancer. "If my mother was here she would've gone crazy. She'd have thrown her arms around Howie Mandel and said, 'I don't care if he's allergic!' " McCormack also said his father would have made jokes publicly, then taken his son aside privately to tell him how proud he is.

Canada's Walk of Fame tribute show will air on Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. on Global and Slice.

Credit: Ben Kaplan; National Post; Postmedia News

Illustration

Photo: Brett Gundlock, National Post, Postmedia News / Nelly Furtado enjoys her new status as an inductee into the Canadian Walk of Fame on Saturday.;; Caption:

Copyright CanWest Digital Media Oct 17, 2010