Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Performers The Tragically Hip featuring Feist perform to an empty Massey Hall in Toronto.


On the same day Pope Francis said Canadian people had been “traumatized” by the recent revelation that the remains of 215 children had been discovered at a former Catholic school for Indigenous students in Kamloops, B.C., an often-solemn Juno Awards presentation was more about community, healing and reconciliation than trophies.

The broadcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Junos began with Buffy Sainte-Marie calling for “compassion” in light of news that while shocking to some people, “it’s not news to Indigenous people.” The facial expression of the 80-year-old musician-activist was pained as she spoke.

The broadcast ended two hours later with the presentation of a humanitarian award to the Tragically Hip for the band’s long career of charitable efforts that includes involvement with the Indigenous rights movement.

Story continues below advertisement

After a testimonial by rock legends Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, Gordon Lightfoot introduced the Hip’s pre-taped performance at Toronto’s empty Massey Hall, where singer-songwriter Leslie Feist fronted the reunited band in place of the late Gord Downie. On a stately rendition of the group’s It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken, Feist sang “Let’s get friendship right.”

This wasn’t the event organizers planned when it was originally announced that the golden anniversary of the Juno Awards would be commemorated this year with a homecoming extravaganza at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. The ceremony was postponed twice this spring because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This, after the 2020 Junos in Saskatoon were cancelled for the same reason.

In place of of a live blowout a make-do broadcast on Sunday and an online “opening night” show on Friday consisted of pre-recorded performances and webcam acceptance speeches. All but seven of the more than 40 awards were presented on Friday.

The big trophy-getter of the weekend, was, not surprisingly, the Weeknd. The Toronto-born international superstar known to his family and census officials as Abel Tesfaye followed up his three wins on Friday (including top single and songwriter for the hit song Blinding Lights) with two more on Sunday, including recognition for artist and album (After Hours) of the year. The Weeknd was the only multiple-Juno winner.

Jann Arden was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Handout courtesy of the Juno Awards


Jann Arden won hearts: After her invitation into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by Anne Murray, the Albertan singer-songwriter delivered a speech that was both witty and touching. A pre-recorded performance of Good Mother from the Studio Bell at the National Music Centre in Calgary was indicative of Arden’s warm-hearted grace.

Hip hop was commemorated: Marking 30 years since the creation of the Juno rap category, Kardinal Offishall emceed a performance that included appearances by Jully Black, Maestro Fresh-Wes, Nav, Haviah Mighty and Michie Mee.

Story continues below advertisement

Live venues were saluted: Recognizing a lockdown that devastated the live music industry, the Junos showcased such music rooms as Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom (where Michael Bublé spoke) and Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity (where William Prince and Serena Ryder performed a duet of Prince’s The Spark.

A female producer was recognized: On Friday, Ebony Oshunrinde, who works professionally as WondaGurl, became the first Black woman to win Producer of the Year.

A rock and roll revival: “We’re taking over rock,” said JJ Wilde, who on Friday was named the first female winner in the rock category since Alanis Morissette won for Jagged Little Pill in 1996. (Apparently, Morissette no longer rocks: She won this year for adult contemporary album for Such Pretty Forks in the Road.) Rock acts also took Group of the Year (the Arkells) and Breakthrough Group (the duo Crown Lands.)


The Weeknd was a no-show: Though he won five awards, the superstar did not take part in the event.

Justin Bieber short on pants: The pre-taped performance from Los Angeles by the winner in the pop album category was notable for the singer’s buzz cut and gym wear.

Story continues below advertisement

Lost in translation: There were more American presenters and performers (Julia Michaels, who sang If The World Was Ending with Toronto-born collaborator JP Saxe) than francophone ones on Sunday. It was a strange omission, given the national jubilee nature of the affair.


Jann Arden, upon her induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame: “I think I’m too young, don’t you?”

Buffy Sainte-Marie announced a new traditional Indigenous music category, beginning in 2022: “Traditional music is rooted in our connection to people’s spiritual, mental, emotional and physical relationship to the land and cultures from which we come.”

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois on Leslie Feist’s role in the band’s reunification for the Junos: “Honestly, we wouldn’t be playing here tonight if she wasn’t here with us.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies