Bondar, Reynolds join Canada's Walk of Fame

Astronaut Roberta Bondar and actors Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Oh are among the latest famous faces joining Canada's Walk of Fame.

Astronaut Roberta Bondar and actors Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Oh are among the latest Canadians set to join Canada's Walk of Fame.

Organizers announced seven inductees in Toronto on Tuesday.

Also making the 2011 list are recording artist Burton Cummings, tennis star Daniel Nestor and comedian Russell Peters.

Literary icon Mordecai Richler will be honoured with the Canadian Legends Award, a posthumous tribute. The beloved, famously cantankerous Montreal writer, whose novels and children's books earned many of Canada's highest literary honours, died in 2001.

However, he has returned to the public consciousness in recent years after the publication of several noted biographies and the 2010 release of the long-gestating Barney's Version, the Genie Award-winning film adaptation of his final novel.

"Each one of our inductees has made their mark on Canada's colourful landscape and helped define to the world what it means to be Canadian," Walk of Fame president Peter Soumalias said in a statement.

Distinguished inductees

The Walk of Fame tribute is the latest accolade for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-born Bondar, Canada's  first female astronaut and the world's first neurologist in space. The lengthy list of previous decorations awarded to the academic, author, doctor, educator, landscape photographer and space explorer include the Order of Canada, a NASA Space Flight Medal and approximately two dozen honorary doctorates.

Vancouver-born actor  Reynolds, named  People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in November, has had a growing profile in Hollywood in recent years. He has demonstrated his wise-cracking appeal in movies such as the fratboy comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder, rom-com The Proposal and  this summer's superhero tale Green Lantern.

Patriotic song

This year, officials are also holding a national contest seeking help to write a patriotic song about Canada. The public is invited to submit poems and essays on the theme of Canadian identity. One winning entry will be selected.

Along with a $25,000 prize and a trip to attend the 2011 Walk of Fame gala, the individual behind the winning submission will see an excerpt of his or her entry incorporated into the song — to be arranged by singer-pianist Stephan Moccio and penned by married singer-songwriters Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida.

Though perhaps best known for her role on TV medical hit Grey's Anatomy, Nepean, Ont.-born  Sandra Oh's career has spanned television, film and stage.  A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, her vast credits include early, acclaimed work such as the title role in The Diary of Evelyn Lau, the award-winning comedy Sideways, noted TV series Arliss, stage work The Vagina Monologues and Canadian films such as Hard Candy, Defendor and The Red Violin

Winnipeg rocker and singer-songwriter  Burton Cummings, already a Walk of Fame inductee as a member of the Guess Who, will be honoured solo this fall. This latest tribute to the multiple Juno-winner and officer of the Order of Canada comes after similar recognition by Canada's Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Music Industry Hall of Fame and Prairie Hall of Fame. Cummings will also perform a concert in Toronto two days before the Walk of Fame gala.

Belgrade-born, Toronto-based Canadian tennis star Nestor is being recognized for his impressive athletic prowess on the international stage. Already flush with an Olympic gold medal from the Sydney Games, seven Grand Slam titles and a trio of Masters Cup Doubles titles, he added another trophy to his mantle earlier in June when he and partner Max Mirnyi  triumphed at the French Open.

Whether appearing in hit internet videos, performing sold-out stand-up shows at New York's Madison Square Garden or  stealing the thunder from Charlie Sheen in TorontoRussell Peters has sparked laughter in fans around the globe with his race-based comedy. The Brampton, Ont.-born funnyman has also been included (twice) on  Forbes magazine's annual tally of North America's top-earning comedians.

Exceptional achievements

The Walk of Fame celebrates exceptional achievements by Canadians in a host of different industries, including music, film and television, sport, science and innovation, literature, theatrical performance and the visual arts.

All Canadians can submit potential nominees for consideration by the Walk of Fame selection committee. A group of finalists is then submitted to the walk's board of directors, who make the final decision.

To be eligible, nominees must be born in Canada or have spent their formative or creative years in the country. They must also have a minimum of 10 years experience in their field of expertise, and have had a national or international impact on Canadian heritage.

Each year's laureates receive stars emblazoned with their names that are embedded in a walkway in downtown Toronto's entertainment district. They are also honoured at a lavish, star-studded ceremony.

The 2011 gala will take place in Toronto on Oct. 1.

Past inductees have included early cinema star Mary Pickford, theatre director Robert Lepage, singers Buffy Sainte-Marie and Maureen Forrester, artist Kenojuak Ashevak, comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, author Margaret Atwood, Grammy Awards and TV producer Pierre Cossette, and athletes Ferguson Jenkins and Clara Hughes.