Canadian music legend Leonard Cohen is being feted in Toronto Monday night with a star-studded tribute featuring a host of musicians, including his singer-songwriter son, Adam.

Held at Toronto's historic Massey Hall, the gala will celebrate the venerable Montreal poet, singer and author as the latest recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize.

Described by some as the "Nobel Prize of the Arts," the award is presented biennially to "an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts."

"Telling somebody [during their] lifetime what you actually think of them, instead of waiting for the obituary and saying 'Oh, he was a swell guy,' — you know, that in itself is an honour. That's an honour for you to be able to give proper due to somebody," the younger Cohen said of his father's latest accolade.

'It's a very rewarding activity to give praise where praise is due, to give praise where praise is welcome'—Adam Cohen

"Although I've always had a healthy, large and deep admiration for my father, I haven't demonstrated his influence on me and celebrated him outwardly until late in my life," he told CBC News on Monday.

"It's a very rewarding activity to give praise where praise is due, to give praise where praise is welcome. And when it's not too late."

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Singer-songwriter Adam Cohen will perform some of his famous father's songs as part of Monday night's gala. (EMI)

The event will also honour music education program Sistema Toronto, which Cohen chose to share in his Gould Prize win as recipient of the corresponding Protégé Prize.

The younger Cohen, whose recent album Like a Man was somewhat of an homage to his father's style, will perform some of Leonard's songs at Monday's event.

Other performers will include by Basia Bulat, the Cowboy Junkies, James McMurtry, Serena Ryder and Anjani Thomas.

"These are people who have been touched by his work," the younger Cohen said. "These are people who want to celebrate my father's influence on them, and there's nothing more beautiful and honest and simple than that."

Cohen is set to embark on a North American tour to support his latest album, Old Ideas, this fall.