British Columbia

Mr. Dressup is 'top of my list' for next year, says Canada's Walk of Fame CEO

The CEO of Canada's Walk of Fame is surprised by the omission of Ernie Coombs as Mr. Dressup and is adamant he will be added soon.

'Does he deserve to be on Canada's Walk of Fame? 100 per cent'

Ernie Coombs, who portrayed Mr. Dressup on the iconic children's show of the same name, with puppets Casey and Finnegan. (CBC)

Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto is missing an integral star in the story of Canadian history, says its CEO Jeffrey Latimer.

Children's entertainer Ernie Coombs was recently named Canada's Most Memorable (English) TV Thing, an honour bestowed through an online poll conducted by CBC reporter Justin McElroy. Coombs played the title character on Mr. Dressup from 1967 to 1996, a role that earned him over 400,000 votes in the poll.

Cathie LeFort, the late Coombs' daughter, now hopes the outpouring of adoration from Canadians will land Mr. Dressup a place on the Walk of Fame. She believes he meets the criteria of being an influential Canadian and is surprised he isn't there already.

Latimer shares her surprise.

"I too am astonished," said Latimer. "I can't say ... he will get a star next, but I can absolutely say that I will speak with our committee and he will go to the top of our list."

Latimer became CEO in April, and he says he's bewildered by the names currently omitted from the 173 stars along the walk. He said children's entertainers such as Fred Penner, Sharon Lois & Bram and Bob Homme, who hosted The Friendly Giant, all were extremely influential to a generation of Canadians.

Meets the criteria

"I think about these people who influenced us far more than some of the big Hollywood celebrities already on the Walk of Fame," said Latimer.

Latimer said he means no disservice to anyone currently on the walk, but he wants to bring more attention to the many Canadians who kept their extraordinary work in Canada and didn't move on to the United States.

Latimer said the fact Coombs was born in the United States doesn't disqualify him. The criteria specifies a nominee must have been born in the country or that they have spent their formative and creative years in Canada

Also, a nominee must have had a national impact and represent Canadian values of harmony, diversity and social responsibility. 

"Does he deserve to be on Canada's Walk of Fame? 100 per cent," said Latimer. "Will he be? I can absolutely say he will."

Latimer added he is excited by the idea because he, like many Canadians, grew up watching Mr. Dressup.

With files from On the Coast and Justin McElroy