Jazz performer Diana Krall, Quebec filmmaker Denys Arcand and hockey star Mario Lemieux were among the 10 names unveiled Tuesday as 2004 inductees into Canada's ever-growing Walk of Fame.
The formal inductions will take place June 23.
Also included this year are actors Shirley Douglas and Helen Shaver as well as rockers John Kay and Steppenwolf.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of four deceased legends of Hollywood who had strong but little-known Canadian origins: studio bosses Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer, the silent-screen actress known as America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, and slapstick comedy producer Mack Sennett.
The so-called Hollywood connection quartet- in particular Mayer - seems to break the Walk of Fame's own rules, which insisted in the past that an inductee be either born in Canada or had a body of work known for its impact on Canada's cultural heritage.
Mayer, for example, arrived in Saint John, N.B., at the age of one from Minsk, Russia and clearly most of his accomplishments took place in California, not Canada.
But Walk co-creator and CEO, Peter Soumalias, defended the decision, based on his own research.
"It was clear to Louis B. Mayer that he was a Canadian, he died a Canadian, he supported his home community up to as recently as 1950, went back up and built a church in New Brunswick."
Soumalias added that what's interesting about the Hollywood four is that they were interconnected, not only in the films they produced, but in the way they helped foster Canadian talent in those early days.
Kay and Steppenwolf might also face challenges from sticklers. Kay was born in Germany and the band gained its fame outside of the country.
The names will be added to the 75 that have been inducted since the Walk was initiated in 1998.
The Walk is actually a physical stretch of sidewalk along King Street in the downtown theatre district. Names are enshrined on a specially designed granite sidewalk slab replete with a stylized maple leaf.
Another adjustment this year is that the list is smaller than the usual 13 or so and only a maximum of six living inductees will be on hand for the ceremonies. Soumalias conceded that in the past it was difficult paying proper homage to so many celebrities at once.
"It's very difficult in the two-hour broadcast to do a suitable tribute in eight or 10 minutes. Canada's Walk of Fame in some ways is becoming a 20-minute sound bite and we want to be a little more than that."
Soumalias says there will be more announcements in the weeks ahead, including names of presenters, hosts, performers, a new website, details of a new cultural festival and even the return of a former inductee.
The Walk's Class of 2004 was unveiled at a media event by Veronica Tennant, an inductee from 2001 who said it was just plain fun to be a member.
"Amongst all of the honours, I think this is the one that just made me feel most like a kid again," she said. "It just makes you feel like you're six years old! It's great."
Tennant added that the Walk has a unique Canadian sensibility, "a combination of sensitivity and sizzle."
Soumalias, the Toronto businessman who was also instrumental in bringing U.S. TV talk-show host Conan O'Brien to Toronto earlier this year, says his term as chairman of the Walk expires this year and he expects the board will replace him with someone "far more capable."
He admits that when he helped found it in 1998, the Walk of Fame was originally conceived as a shameless knock-off of the Hollywood sidewalk stars and that no one could foresee how it has evolved over the years.
He says that for the first time this year, the Walk, with a budget of about $1.5-million, will operate without any government contributions.
"All our sponsors are contributing to our budget."
The public gets to submit names, but a volunteer board of directors selected from the entertainment industry makes the final decisions from ballots entered.