After years of efforts by fans, friends and family, Jeff Healey was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame on Saturday October 18th, 2014, as a recipient of the Cineplex Legends Award.

It was an exciting and emotionally charged day for everyone involved.

The ceremony began with a running of the gauntlet known as the ‘yellow carpet’. There were fans, photographs, interviews and more photographs… all on the way to unveiling the ceremonial plaque.

© Canada's Walk Of Fame

© Canada’s Walk Of Fame

In attendance was Jeff’s wife Cristie, his father Bud and step-mother Rose, his sister Laura, his beloved children, Rachel and Derek (who unveiled the plaque together) and myself.

© Rick Madonik/Toronto Star

Jeff’s family at the induction ceremony for Canada’s Walk of Fame, Oct. 18, 2014.
(l-r: Mountie #1, Cristie Healey (Jeff’s wife), Derek Healey (Jeff’s son), Roger Costa (friend), Rose Healey (Jeff’s step-mother), Rachel Healey (Jeff’s daughter), Bud Healey (Jeff’s dad) & Laura Healey (Jeff’s sister) & Mountie #2) © Rick Madonik/Toronto Star

After the unveiling, the plaque was signed by Jeff’s family and later auctioned off for charity.

© Canada's Walk of Fame
© Michelle Siu
© Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

At the show itself (which will be televised in Canada December 19th, on The Global Network…) we were treated to a wonderful video presentation that covered Jeff’s life, career and his charitable works. The video also featured heartfelt testimonials from the likes of Ian Gillan, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Paul Schafer, Randy Bachman and more…

JHB bassist Joe Rockman and Jeff's dad Bud catch up before the show... © Pat Rush

JHB bassist Joe Rockman and Jeff’s dad Bud catch up before the show…
© Pat Rush

After which there was a performance by an epic band that was assembled specifically for a fantastic musical tribute to Jeff – Music director Orin Isaacs, Sean Jones (vocals) Sekou Lumumba (drums), Calvin Beal (bass), Justin Abedin (guitar) and Jimmy Bowskill (lead guitar & background vocals).

They played a soulful rendition of ‘Angel Eyes‘, then tore headfirst into ‘See The Light‘, guitarist Jimmy Bowskill (who first played guitar with Jeff at the tender age of 10) blazing for all he was worth with Sean putting an R&B spin on the proceedings. It absolutely smoked!

Sean Jones  © George Pimentel/WireImage

Sean Jones © George Pimentel/WireImage

Later that night, I had the pleasure of speaking to Sean Jones to thank him for the tremendous job he and the other musicians had done. He told me that the band had been watching the video presentation for the first time as they were preparing to go on stage and they were all fighting to keep it together…

After the performance, Canadian music icon, Tom Cochrane presented Jeff’s award which was accepted by Cristie and Jeff’s father, Bud. Tom is truly a legendary songwriter, performer, tireless charitable activist… but he is also one of the genuinely sweetest human beings on the planet.

Tom Cochrane attends the 2014 Canada's Walk Of Fame Gala at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel on October 18, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Tom Cochrane attends the 2014 Canada’s Walk Of Fame Gala at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel on October 18, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

We were absolutely thrilled when we found out that he would be presenting Jeff’s Cineplex Legends Award. Tom was a dear friend of Jeff’s and actually requested Jeff be the presenter at the 2003 JUNO Awards where he gave a speech to commemorate Tom’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Tom Cochrane & Jeff Healey as Tom was presented with the Hall of Fame Award at the Junos, in 2003 - © Christine Muschi/Reuters

Tom Cochrane & Jeff Healey as Tom was presented with the Hall of Fame Award at the Junos, in 2003 – © Christine Muschi/Reuters

Cristie and Bud gave emotional speeches that brought many in the audience to tears, before being whisked away for more interviews…

From ET Canada: "Jeff Healey’s Wife Accepts Inductee Star On Behalf Of Late Husband -  Cristie Healey stopped by our backstage lounge at the Canada’s Walk of Fame ceremony to talk about her late husband and musician, Jeff Healey, and how much the family was honoured to accept the induction on his behalf."

Cristie and Jeff’s dad, Bud – From ET Canada:
Jeff Healey’s Wife Accepts Inductee Star On Behalf Of Late Husband
Cristie Healey stopped by our backstage lounge at the Canada’s Walk of Fame ceremony to talk about her late husband and musician, Jeff Healey, and how much the family was honoured to accept the induction on his behalf.

After the awards presentation, there was a charity gala dinner organized by Canada’s Walk of Fame. It was there that legendary actor/director Peter Fonda (who presented the award for The Band) told our own Pat Rush that he was a big fan…

Pat Rush & the legendary Peter Fonda at the Canada's Walk of Fame celebration.  © Pat Rush

Pat Rush & the legendary Peter Fonda at the Canada’s Walk of Fame celebration. © Pat Rush

“Well, I went over to Peter Fonda and introduced myself. Hi I’m Pat Rush, guitarist with Jeff Healey for 12 years. He shook my hand and said ‘Oh that’s cool, I loved Jeff and I’ll bet it was amazing to watch him play every night when you were on stage with him!’ I said yes it was! He said, ‘What an amazing style.’ P.F. was very nice friendly and funny.” – Pat Rush

(…at an event the night before, fellow inductee, actor Ryan Reynolds was gracious enough to stop by and share with us a nice little story of meeting Jeff when he was only 13 years old…)

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…and finally, we’d like to close off with some words from Cristie…

The Canada’s Walk of Fame weekend was incredible for our entire family and I have to say… it very much exceeded even our biggest expectations. The show was absolutely fantastic.

The way Jeff’s story was presented through the video presentation was more than we could have hoped for. The musical tribute to Jeff was absolutely outstanding! Singer Sean Jones was a fantastic choice, as well as Jimmy and everyone involved.

This event has made a huge impact in the lives of Jeff’s children, as well as ours… I can’t even begin to say what this has meant to Jeff’s dad. It was an extremely emotional time for all of us but so worth it!” – Cristie Healey

CWoF Plaque © Roger Costa

Canada’s Walk of Fame ceremonial plaque © Roger Costa

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The entire weekend was wonderful and we were all thrilled and so proud that Jeff was being publicly recognized in this way…

Here’s a couple of great interviews done with Jeff’s wife Cristie in the days leading up to the ceremony:

The first is a terrific interview on CBC TV…

CBC TV interview with Cristie Healey

…and the second in an interview Cristie did with Samaratinmag’s Karen Bliss…

Samaratinmag interview with Cristie Healey

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…and be sure to tune in to Global TV to see the show on December 19th!

~Rog

© Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

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