Downtown Toronto, specifically running along King Street West and Simcoe Street, is home to Canada’s Walk of Fame, where exceptional Canadians are given their very own Hollywood-esque stars. There are 167 stars, to date, and the list includes the usual suspects: Celine Dion, Ryan Reynolds, Rachel McAdams, Wayne Gretzky, etc. You can locate them here, on the Walk of Fame’s handy-dandy star map, and gaze upon the slab of concrete dedicated to our nation’s finest someday if that is something you’re into.
I’ve wracked my brain for at least four names I would pay particular attention to, if I were to go out and comb the sidewalk for their plaques. While there might be reason to criticize the list of 167 inductees for not including some truly deserving candidates (cannot believe Guy Maddin’s crazy hasn’t earned him a spot yet), the current list of inductees is actually very broad in scope, covering singers, actors, dancers, scientists, athletes, and authors that have made Canada proud. Mine is a little less all-encompassing, but we all have different priorities.
Mary Pickford is one of, if not the first film starlet. She was among the first actors to be credited by name, co-founder of United Artists (with Charlie Chaplin, among others), and though she was known as “America’s Sweetheart” in her prime, she was born right here in Toronto.
One more for the film industry: Fay Wray is most commonly known for dangling from the Empire State Building (in the grip of a giant ape) in the 1933 version of King Kong. Two days after her death, the Empire State Building dimmed its lights for fifteen minutes in her honour. She was also name-dropped in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Her life is a personal goal of mine.
Recognized, as one of Canada’s most successful singer-songwriters, Corey Hart enriched the world of pop culture forever by giving us a truly iconic bop: Sunglasses at Night. Bravo, sir! Single-handedly invented the 80s!
I included him because we both grew up in Winnipeg and it seemed fitting according to my bias, but turns out he’s another Toronto native. Go figure. He’s a musical legend, I listened to his songs a lot in high school, particularly Heart of Gold. I often feel much older and wiser than I truly am because of this man.
You’re welcome to comment with your own list! Canada’s Walk of Fame accepts nominations here, so if there is a name you’d like to see immortalized on the sidewalk you might be able to suggest it. Personally, I will not rest until Guy Maddin is there.