Atwood, Ostanek, Guess Who on Walk of Fame
Visual artists, sports stars, actors to be immortalized
||February 19, 2001|
With fewer Hollywood stars than in previous years, the 2001 list of
inductees added to Canada's Walk of Fame may not be as recognizable to
the public, but is just as important to Canadian culture, the board of
While previous names have included internationally known
celebrities such as Celine Dion, Jim Carrey and Michael J. Fox, this
year's list, unveiled today, draws from deeper within the world of
arts and literature as well as music, athletics and the stage.
Those who will soon have their names immortalized in the cement
surrounding Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall include, Canada's ''`King of
Polka,'' musician Walter Ostanek, actor and director Robert Lepage and
Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak. Peter Soumalias, founder and chairman
of the Walk of Fame, admits that the selection process always includes
a debate over the importance of longevity over popularity.
''In the end the decision always comes back to the fact that it
isn't a question of who is more popular, but who is more
He says for some Canadians this years selection may be more of an
education than a celebration.
''Generally most people won't know Walter Ostanek although he has
received 19 grammy nominations,'' says Soumalias.
''Kenojuak Ashevak is someone I had never heard of, but once you
look at her accomplishments you realize her work is seen around the
world and she is highly decorated.''
The other inductees include baseball player Ferguson Jenkins,
author Margaret Atwood, hockey player Jean Beliveau, figure skater
Kurt Browning, rock band The Guess Who, sprinter Harry Jerome, actor
Leslie Nielsen, director Ivan Reitman, opera singer Teresa Stratas and
ballerina Veronica Tennant.
The decision to branch out and look at different kinds of famous
Canadians wasn't intentional, but the Walk of Fame Committee was
driven in that direction by the nominations they were receiving from
''Last year, for example, we received hundreds of nominations for
visual artists and we couldn't ignore that demand.''
Soumalias says a lot has changed since the first famous Canadians
were inducted three years ago when the board of judges had to have the
rules explained to them and the inductees didn't know what Canada's
Walk of Fame was.
''It was to my pleasant surprise that the 13 inductees, without
exception, had absolute awareness of Canada's Walk of Fame and were
all thrilled and honoured to find out they were going to be a part of
The actual stars on the sidewalk are stylized maple leaves and can
be found on King St. West between the Royal Alex and Princess of Wales
theatres in Toronto's entertainment district.
The Walk of Fame was founded as a way to honour Canadian artists,
entertainers and sports celebrities. The selection is made by a
19-member board of directors. This year's choices bring the total to
This year also saw more than 40,000 people contact the Walk of Fame
to offer a nomination, but one of the most popular names won't,
however, be inducted.
Soumalias says Shania Twain won thousands of nominations, but
hasn't been in the business quite long enough to qualify.
To qualify for induction, candidates must have been born in Canada
or spent their creative years in this country. They require success
over a minimum of 10 years and must have a body of work that is
recognized for its impact on Canadian culture.
Most of the inductees will attend a gala event June 1 at Roy
Walk of Fame names announced Monday
The Guess Who
Source: Canadian Walk of