4 Juno wins for Arcade Fire

Montreal's Arcade Fire continues to scoop up music awards, earning four Junos, including album of the year at the annual celebrations of the best in Canadian music Sunday Night.

Neil Young, Justin Bieber take home hardware

Montreal's Arcade Fire continues to scoop up music awards, earning four Junos, including album of the year at the annual celebrations of the best in Canadian music Sunday Night.

They also won group of the year and songwriter of the year in a gala that also heaped acclaim on young Stratford, Ont.-native Justin Bieber and veteran rocker Neil Young.

Arcade Fire are coming off a strong start to 2011, which saw them win two Grammys in February, then two Brit Awards from the British music industry.

Their breakout success comes for The Suburbs, which was declared best alternative album on Saturday night when the bulk of the Junos were handed out, before going on to win album of the year.

"We're so happy," frontman Win Butler said after its first win at the televised gala Sunday. The awards, held at the Air Canada Centre, were hosted  by Toronto rapper Drake.

"I wanna just give a shoutout to all the bands that we kind of came up with, from Royal City to Hidden Cameras, to the Unicorns, Wolf Parade, and all the amazing Canadian bands," he continued.

Neil Young poses with two Mounties on the red carpet at the 2011 JUNO Awards in Toronto. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

After winning the songwriting honours, Butler gave a message of support for the group Haiti Kampe which he said is "doing wonderful work in Haiti."

"The Canadian people have done so much amazing work in Haiti. Just keep it up!" Butler said.

Justin Bieber won two awards, including the Fan Choice award, the only award voted on by fans. He was not at the ceremony but appeared via video thanking voters for "being so supportive."

Later in the ceremony he won pop album of the year for My World 2.0. Again he acknowledged the win via video, including thanks to his mother for raising him in Canada.

 Sunday's Juno winners
  • Album of the year: The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
  • Artist of the year: Neil Young
  • Group of the year: Arcade Fire
  • Songwriter of the year: Arcade Fire
  • New artist of the year: Meaghan Smith
  • Single of the year: Wavin’ Flag, Young Artists for Haiti
  • Pop album of the year: My World 2.0, Justin Bieber
  • Fan choice award: Justin Bieber

Neil Young, who came to Toronto to be presented with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, ended up winning two Junos – including a surprise win as artist of the year.

"What year is this?" he said, taking the stage after a performance by Arcade Fire. "I am totally surprised."

"Arcade Fire: what a great performance, what a great band. And Justin Bieber, what can you say? It’s totally incomprehensible that I’m here," he said in tribute to others nominated for the prize.

On Saturday, his album Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois, won the Juno for adult alternative album.

Humanitarian award

Lanois, presenting Young with his humanitarian award, said he "only ever felt 100% dedication to quality" from the singer over the past 40 years.

Young was hailed for his work for the Bridge Project, a series of schools for children with special needs, and for supporting Farm Aid.

Music 'makes it happen'

Young said he couldn’t have done as much work for these charities without the help of others, including Lanois and his wife, Pegi.

"She’s the one with the ideas and I’m the one with the reputation," he said. He urged people everywhere to "look within" for the humanitarian spark.

Meaghan Smith shows off her Juno for best new artist. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
"And the musicians, they should not worry about helping others, they should focus on their music first, because the music is the language of love and the language that we all feel together," Young said.

"So music makes it happen, and then if you're lucky and you have an opportunity, it's a good thing to do — to go ahead and try to do something yourself.

"You just gotta look inside yourself and the eyes of your friends, and you'll find the secret of how to be a humanitarian. So, love to you."

The Young Artists for Haiti's version of Wavin' Flag, which featured dozens of Canadian artists, including Drake and Justin Bieber, was named song of the year. The single by K'naan became an international hit during 2010's FIFA World Cup celebrations. K'naan said he was honoured by the win and that "many of the others nominated are also in the song, so this is a way it works for all of us."

London, Ont.-raised singer Meaghan Smith won the Juno for best new artist, a triumph in a field that also included Basia Bulat, Bobby Bazini, Caribou and Hannah Georgas.

Drake was a genial host, pulling off some awkward videos featuring a hip hop lesson in a nursing home and an appearance with retired CTV anchor Lloyd Robertson.

But he was shut out of the awards themselves, despite going in with six nominations.

Shania Twain was honoured at the 2011 JUNO Awards. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)
Shania Twain, the singer from Timmins, Ont., who forged an international career with hits including I Feel Like a Woman and Still the One, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

'Canadian treasure'

Singer Bryan Adams kicked off a tribute to Twain, calling her "a Canadian treasure."

Twain, dressed in a long silver and black gown, was accompanied by her husband, Frederic Thiébaud, as she watched a video outlining her rise to fame with greetings from Taylor Swift and Anne Murray.

"This is just a very beautiful moment for me and I'm really so proud of Canada's talent," an emotional Twain said as she stepped up to the stage.

"I see them here in the audience and I see them up on the stage — world-class talent — singers, songwriters performers. We should be proud of these people."