Canada's Walk of Fame unveils honourees

Olympian Clara Hughes, filmmaker Sarah Polley and author Farley Mowat are among the latest batch of prominent Canadians to be inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame.
Olympian Clara Hughes, seen in Richmond, B.C., in January, will join previous athletic inductees Mario Lemieux, Chantal Petitclerc, Steve Nash and George Chuvalo on Canada's Walk of Fame. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))
Olympian Clara Hughes, filmmaker Sarah Polley and author Farley Mowat are among the latest batch of prominent Canadians to be inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame.

Organizers of the annual honour announced this year's class of seven inductees in Toronto on Tuesday. Also to be honoured are actor Eric McCormack, singer Nelly Furtado, musician David Clayton-Thomas and the late magician Doug Henning.

Winnipeg-born, Quebec-based speedskater and cyclist Hughes, the only athlete who has won multiple medals at both Winter and Summer Olympic Games, served as Canada's opening ceremony flag-bearer at the Vancouver Olympics in February before going on to earn her sixth career Olympic medal.

Toronto's Polley, a celebrated child actress who has continued to deliver accomplished performances as an adult, is now also gaining renown behind the camera as a filmmaker and as an arts activist.

Noted author and conservationist Farley Mowat will join Canada's Walk of Fame. ((Bill Becker/Associated Press) )
Canadian literary icon Mowat — who lives in both Port Hope, Ont., and Cape Breton — is best known for such classics as Lost in the Barrens, Never Cry Wolf and Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey. The venerable author is also a noted conservationist after whom the Sea Shepard Conservation Society named its flagship.

Emmy Award-winner McCormack, born in Scarborough, Ont., but now based in the U.S., became a household name for his starring role in the landmark sitcom Will and Grace. The TV show's eight-season run was hailed for its sympathetic portrayal of gay characters. He has since divided his time between theatre, television and film.

Victoria-born Portuguese-Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado is the Juno and Grammy award-winner behind chart-topping hit tracks including I'm Like a Bird, Powerless (Say What You Want) and Promiscuous.

Singer and musician Clayton-Thomas, British-born and Canadian-raised, rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s as the frontman of American jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, and also made a name for himself as a solo artist.

Magician, illusionist and escape artist Henning will be a posthumous honouree. The Winnipeg-born, Ontario-raised performer, who died in 2000 just months after being diagnosed with liver cancer, was a pop-culture fixture in the 1970s for his theatrical magic shows in Canada and the U.S.

Canada's Walk of Fame honours the exceptional achievements of Canadians in the worlds of music, sport, film and television, visual and performing arts, science and innovation.

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

All Canadians can submit potential nominees for consideration by a selection committee. The group's picks are then submitted to the Walk of Fame board of directors, who make the final decision.

Those chosen each year are toasted at a lavish gala and receive a star on a walkway in downtown Toronto's entertainment district. Past inductees have included early film star Fay Wray, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, hockey great Mario Lemieux, actor Gordon Pinsent, comedy troupe SCTV, rockers Blue Rodeo and children's author Robert Munsch.

Organizers also announced on Tuesday a new award to honour the achievement of a young Canadian. The inaugural winner of the Allan Slaight Award will be announced at a later date.

The 2010 Canada's Walk of Fame gala will take place in Toronto on Oct. 16.

Doug Henning sits on a motorcycle in a 1977 promotional photo. Henning, who died in 2000, will be posthumously inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame this fall. ((NBC/Associated Press))

With files from The Canadian Press