Corey Hart delivered an emotional speech dedicated to his family and fans as he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards.
The “Sunglasses at Night” singer-songwriter threw his fist in the air as he stepped onto the Junos stage in London, Ont., with tears in his eyes.
“I believe music and love are the most enduring and powerful forces of good in the world,” Hart told the crowd before addressing his fans.
“Without you my songs would have no home, and they would ultimately be unrequited and empty.”
Hart’s wife, Quebecois singer Julie Masse, and his four children watched from the audience, his daughters wiping away tears.
“Without love I would have never experienced the miracle of cradling in my arms my four precious babies,” he said. “Daddy’s very proud of you guys, I love you very much.”
The Junos broadcast opened with Loud Luxury, the DJ pair who met at the city’s Western University. They welcomed the school’s marching band and cheerleaders to kick off the show with a bombastic performance of their dance hit “Body.”
Pop superstar Shawn Mendes picked up album of the year, but he wasn’t able to attend the event because he’s on tour.
However, Mendes didn’t sit out the Junos entirely. The show included a pre-recorded performance of “In My Blood” taped in Amsterdam on March 4, where he jokingly told the European audience to “try to sound Canadian.”
Hamilton-founded rock act Arkells picked up group of the year before hitting the stage to sing their rousing track “Hand Me Downs” amid a steady rain of confetti.
German-Canadian pop singer Bulow won for breakthrough artist, while Avril Lavigne picked up the fan choice award that’s voted on by viewers.
Jeremy Dutcher performed “Sakomawit” from his album “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa,” after winning the Indigenous music album award at a Saturday pre-telecast gala.
Last year’s breakthrough artist Jessie Reyez took home her second Juno for R&B/soul recording of the year.
A message of unity and love carried throughout the Junos broadcast after host Sarah McLachlan opened the show at Budweiser Gardens with a subtle jab at U.S. President Donald Trump.
“You know when you live someplace peaceful and beautiful, and then you get a crazy neighbour?” McLachlan asked the crowd.
“And they start causing all sorts of trouble, like putting up weird walls, picking fights with all the other neighbours, telling your daughters how they should behave? All the while saying they’re making the area great again — and you just watch feeling helpless?”
McLachlan added that she hoped that neighbour would be gone by 2020, and conversation to a lighter place saying that music is “reminding us that we’re all in this together.”
After his performance, Dutcher spoke backstage about the thrilling experience of performing in the Wolastoq language of his ancestors on national television.
“It feels like possibility,” he said.
“Representation. These bodies on stage. I didn’t see that (growing up), so it gives me hope for what’s to come. Because kids now can go and see queerness, see Indigeneity, can see all of these beautiful diverse things on a stage — what kind of possibilities does that breathe into a life?”