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“This is the gathering of the embodiment of success in Canada … I’m quite humbled.”
The honour was also given to actress Anna Paquin and environmental activist David Suzuki, as well as posthumously granted to civil rights leader Viola Desmond, country singer Stompin’ Tom Connors, and businessman Ted Rogers.
Suzuki said he has Canadian supporters to thank for his continued success. “I’m very pleased that there seems to be a sense that I deserve this recognition,” he said. “This funny-looking science geek, that I could become a person they would trust and watch — that says something about Canada.”
Paquin, who at 11 became the second-youngest Oscar winner ever for her role in “The Piano,” said she was “flattered and honoured” by her inclusion in this year’s Walk of Fame, but that she was also “quite nervous for tonight.”
Paquin, who was born in Winnipeg and raised largely in New Zealand, said she’s proud of her recent work on Canadian productions. She appeared in Sarah Polley’s TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel “Alias Grace” and stars in the CBC crime drama “Bellevue.”
“I’ve worked in Canada an awful lot, because so much shoots here, but it was amazing to get to be part of two completely Canadian productions,” she said. “It was for Canadians, by Canadians, about Canadians.”
Walk of Fame CEO Jeffrey Latimer said he wanted to include posthumous inductees in order to focus the event on people from Canada’s past, and on people who have made social contributions that deserve more attention.
One of the first people who came to mind was Viola Desmond, the Nova Scotia woman who became a civil rights pioneer after challenging racial segregation at a movie theatre in 1946. Latimer admits he hadn’t previously known very much about Desmond, who will appear on the new $ 10 bill in 2018.