Geddy Lee And Alex Lifeson To Receive Key To The City Geddy Lee And Alex Lifeson To Receive Key To The City

By Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun, September 14, 2016

Two of the most successful musicians in ‘YYZ’ history will bask in the ‘Limelight’ this weekend, as Mayor John Tory presents them with the key to the city.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, founding members of rock band Rush, will receive the honour during a special ceremony on Saturday. The duo, who were both born and raised in Toronto, will also have a park in Willowdale named after them at the event honouring their achievements over 40 years in the music industry.

“Rush’s sound, famous across the world, has helped shape Toronto’s own musical identity, which always has been and continues to be a unique hybrid of styles and influences,” Tory’s spokesman, Amanda Galbraith, said in a statement to the Toronto Sun Wednesday.

“Very few bands can claim to have influenced a genre of music — but Rush can legitimately say they’ve done just that.”

Lee and Lifeson formed the band in 1968 and St. Catharines-born drummer Neil Peart joined in 1974. Together the trio are behind hits like “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight” and “YYZ,” and rank third behind the Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band.

In 2013, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have also been named Officers of the Order of Canada.

“Their massive international fan base has helped to spotlight Toronto as a music capital for decades,” Galbraith said. “It’s amazing to know that all their success started right here in Toronto in a neighbourhood in Willowdale.”

The park, which is part of the Willowdale Park footpath corridor, will be called Lee Lifeson Art Park and feature unique music-themed art installations.

This is the third time Tory has presented the key to the city since taking office in 2014. The first recipient, in February 2016, was Drake. Former Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston has also been recognized with the honour.

“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,” Galbraith said.