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Canada’s Walk of Fame hosts Music Under the Stars

  • Left to right: Victor Dodic, president and CEO of CIBC, with Canada’s Walk of Fame board members Randy Lennox and Nick Di DonatoGeorge Pimentel/The Globe and Mail

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After a three-year hiatus, Canada’s Walk of Fame, the national not-for-profit organization that celebrates extraordinary Canadians, was back with Music Under the Stars, an evening that gave the organization a chance to announce the first round of its 2022 inductees while celebrating all things music. Toronto’s midtown fortress, Casa Loma, was the setting for the summer soiree. Owner of the venue Nick Di Donato, CEO of Liberty Entertainment Group and vice-chair of the board of Canada’s Walk of Fame, was among them milling about the crowd including TV producers Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn. McEwen Mining CEO Rob McEwen and his wife Cheryl, and CIBC CEO Victor Dodig.

Later, dinner was served where tables of 10 dotted the light-filled conservatory and panelled library. Across from me at dinner was Chas Conacher and Lionel Conacher, great grandchild and grandson of athlete and politician Lionel Conacher, who is among the 2022 inductees set to be honoured at this year’s big gala celebration later this fall. Nearby in the room were the Arkells, who will receive the 2022 Allan Slaight Music Impact Honour and Jeffrey Latimer CEO Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Following dinner, the 200-or-so in attendance headed back to the garden and settled into a big white tent for the evening’s performances. Singer-songwriter Jann Arden and comedian and TV personality Rick Mercer served as hosts, with a bevy of Canadian talents, including The Tenors, Matt Dusk and pop star SSUN, performing. Capping off the evening was the just announced 2022 Walk of Fame inductee Deborah Cox who took to the stage ahead of Grammy-winning R&B legend Thelma Houston, who closed the evening with a performance of her greatest hits, which she performed in honour of her great friend Ms. Cox.

Enneagram Prison Project Canada Reception

  • Left to right: David Bentall, Gwen Martin, Ben Martin and Leah Rowntree.Warren Zelman/The Globe and Mail

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The previous evening, July 20, the Vancouver Club was the location for a discussion and dinner hosted by Enneagram Prison Project Canada. The organization, founded in the U.S. in 2012 by Susan Olesek, opened its Canadian chapter in 2021. Their mission is to employ the Enneagram, a widely used, comprehensive personality theory, to inspire transformation for individuals who are incarcerated, formerly incarcerated or are at risk of incarceration. Leading the panel in-person was author and EPP Community Advisory Board member Russ Hudson, and joining him digitally was the aforementioned Ms. Olesek and Alex Senegal, a board member who spoke personally of the program, which he took part in while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison for over two decades.

Announced during the event, to great applause, was news that Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Saskatchewan gave the official green light to run an EPP pilot program. Among them out to raise funds and awareness for the project: philanthropists Praveen and Anuja Varshney; Languages Canada executive director Gonzalo Peralta; and Saje Natural Wellness founders Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Kate Ross-LeBlanc, who served on the EPP board and co-hosted the event with fellow board members Sheila O’Gorman and Leah Rowntree, Graduate, EPP Canada.