Canuck Walk Of Fame Just Got A Little Longer

Legends Including Cronenberg, Rush Honoured

By Kieran Grant, Toronto Sun, May 28, 1999

It isn't often you get to see director David Cronenberg sharing a sidewalk with hockey icon Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

Cronenberg and Richard were among 10 Canadian legends honoured yesterday outside Roy Thomson Hall at the second annual induction ceremony for Canada's Walk Of Fame.

Rockers Rush, Tony Award-winning actor Hume Cronyn, comedy team Wayne & Shuster, CBC-TV personality Juliette Cavazzi and late Hollywood pioneer Mary Pickford were also presented with stars on Simcoe St.

Seven of the stars, including Cronenberg, Richard, Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Cronyn, Frank Shuster and Cavazzi were on hand to accept their awards in person as a lunchtime crowd of about 200 looked on.

Rush drummer Neil Peart was absent from the ceremony, still keeping a low profile after losing his wife and daughter within the last 18 months.

Comic Johnny Wayne passed away in 1990, while Pickford, who would now be 107, died in 1979.

Heritage Minister Sheila Copps introduced the inductees as "real Canadian heroes, talented women and men who have shaped the identity of who we are," before a pair of Mounties escorted each to unveil their sidewalk monuments.

Cronenberg, for one, was in top form for the tribute.

"When I die, I want to be buried here in a translucent panel," the dark-witted filmmaker behind Crash and eXistenZ said. "Then people can look at me and I can look back. This is the beginning of something really great."

The 56-year-old then dropped to the walk and treated photographers to a round of push-ups.

Richard accepted his award, pointing out jokingly that, in his early days as a top-scoring Montreal Canadiens great, Toronto crowds used to boo his appearances. "After a while, everyone started cheering," he added.

But it was the Rush duo who received the biggest roar of approval yesterday from a small pack of autograph-seeking fans, some of whom had journeyed from the U.S. to see the band.

"Not since Peter Goddard wrote for the Toronto Star has anyone had the chance to walk all over us," Lifeson kidded as he and Lee admired their plaque.

Shuster -- who, along with Rush, Richard and Cronyn is already an officer of the Order Of Canada -- was accompanied by his late partner's son, writer Jamie Wayne.

Cocoon star Cronyn, born in London, Ont., in 1911, still cut a dashing figure, reaching down at one point to pick up papers dropped by Copps.

Cavazzi, the early CBC star known as Our Pet Juliette, was delighted, she said, to be remembered.

"I did shed a tear when I heard about this," the Vancouver resident said. "When you live on the other side of the mountains, you feel that people have forgotten about you."

The new members of the Walk Of Fame were formally honoured last night with a dinner and ceremony at the Royal York Hotel.