Mayor John Tory will present the key to the city to the members of Rush – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. At the official opening of the new Lee Lifeson Art Park this Saturday at 1:00 p.m., Lee and Lifeson will join Mayor Tory for the presentation.
“Rush has played a vital role in defining Toronto’s musical identity and given so much to our city through their music, live performances and their generous support for charities,” said Mayor Tory. “We are pleased to honour them with a key to the city and the launch of the new Lee Lifeson Art Park.”
For more than 40 years, the Rush trio of Lee, Lifeson and Peart has defined rock music while inspiring fans and musicians worldwide. Rush ranks third in the world, after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, for most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band. Their massive international fan base has helped to spotlight Toronto as a music capital for decades.
In 2013, Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they were the first band to become Officers of the Order of Canada. They also have stars on Canada’s and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. For more information on Rush, visit: www.rush.com
The park is named after two Rush members who grew up in Toronto, guitarist Lifeson who started a high school band that soon included his classmate Lee on vocals, bass and keyboards. Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto’s Willowdale neighbourhood. Drummer Peart, from St. Catharines, Ont., joined the band in 1974. Together, the trio went on to combine outstanding technical prowess with visionary song writing and raw energy, and shaped the course of hard rock in the process.
The new park, part of the Willowdale Park footpath corridor, features new trees, grass, benches and unique music-themed art installations. To celebrate on Saturday, Jacob Moon will play a Rush classic in a small performance space made for acoustic concerts and George Stroumboulopoulos will interview Lifeson and Lee for the audience.
Councillor John Filion, Ward 23 Willowdale initiated the creation of the art park, and the naming of it after Willowdale natives Lee and Lifeson.
“I see this park as a place that encourages and celebrates the creative spirit,” said Councillor Filion.
This is the third time Mayor Tory has announced he will present a key to the city since taking office in December 2014. In February 2016, he presented the key to Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham. In October 2015, he announced he will present the key to Paul Beeston. A presentation date is being scheduled. The Mayor awards the key to inspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds who embody the spirit and potential of our city and have contributed significantly to civic life.
Past recipients of the key include His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Atwood, Mike Myers, George Chuvalo and Ed Mirvish. Music artists who have received the key in the past include: the Barenaked Ladies; Blue Rodeo; Celine Dion; Drake; Joni Mitchell; Neil Young; Nickelback; The Rolling Stones; Ronnie Hawkins; Sharon, Lois & Bram and Yo-Yo Ma. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/keycity .
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