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Game show host Howie Mandel poses with his star during the 12th annual Canada's Walk of Fame inductee ceremony in Toronto on Saturday.

MARK BLINCH

Canadian Howie Mandel almost said "no deal" to the now hugely successful game show he hosts, and audiences have his wife to thank for changing his mind.

"I actually said no to that show," Mandel, the host of Deal Or No Deal said before the 2009 Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony Saturday afternoon.

"My wife, another bright comedian - Canadian, she's not a comedian - told me to do it and that's why I did it. I listened. She said, 'Take the deal,' and it's the best advice I ever got."

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Mandel was among an eclectic cast of eight group and individual inductees this year to Canada's Walk of Fame. Actress Kim Cattrall, Musicians Blue Rodeo and Tom Cochrane, author Robert Munsch, Dsquared2 identical-twin fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten, athlete Chantal Petitclerc and the late actor Raymond Burr from TV's Perry Mason were all honoured with stars.

Also receiving her award - more than a decade late - was Canadian icon Anne Murray, who said she couldn't pass up an opportunity to host the event.

"I sort of felt obligated because they awarded me this in 1998 and I didn't show up to pick it up," Murray said. "It's been 11 years, so I kind of owed them."

Murray just completed writing her memoirs, which will be released at the end of October.

Mandel speculated that Canada "reproduces" - not produces - funny people because of the climate. He's found there are more laughs in colder rooms.

"If I had my druthers I never would have left (Canada)," he said. "Any time they invite me back, I'm back. But this is the ultimate invitation."

Cattrall, best known for the Sex and the City TV show and subsequent movie, said she was "deeply honoured" to be inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame this year.

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"More than any other award I think it's been a little daunting because Canada is so dear to me," Cattrall said.

The Little River, B.C., native said she doesn't like being away from her beloved home country for too long.

"I miss my family, foremost," Cattrall said. "I miss Nanaimo bars...I miss the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. I just miss the really high quality of life and I think there's something about Canada, there's a high level of respect and tolerance for each other."

Munsch, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., is the only inductee this year born outside Canada, but when he moved here with his wife it was a children's librarian in Guelph, Ont., who encouraged him to publish his stories and Munsch eventually got his Canadian citizenship.

"I don't think I would have told stories at all if I had stayed in the U.S.," Munsch said.

The prolific children's author said he was overwhelmed by Saturday's honour, but he is especially bowled over at the thought of his stories being such an integral part of so many Canadian childhoods.

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"I can't deal with that at all," he said with a laugh. "It's hard to imagine. It's a wonderful thing."

As the only non-artist on the bill Saturday, Chantal Petitclerc said she felt a bit like the odd one out.

"When you're an athlete you're used to being in a stadium and racing on a track and then sweating," said the decorated athlete with 21 Paralympic medals - 14 of them gold - to her name.

"This is very glamorous and a little out of context for me...At the same time I think it really shows that we share common goals and passions and we all had big dreams and we all worked really hard to make them happen."

Established in 1998, Canada's Walk of Fame recognizes achievements in music, sport, film and television as well as the literary, visual and performing arts, and science and innovation.

The criteria for being inducted is a candidate must have been born in Canada or spent their formative or creative years here, and must also have been successful for a minimum of 10 years and have culturally important body of work.

Saturday's honourees are inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. They will join the likes of Margaret Atwood, Jim Carrey, Steve Nash, Michael J. Fox and Celine Dion.

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