Entertainment

Yanofsky wins inaugural Allan Slaight Award

Teen singing sensation Nikki Yanofsky is the inaugural recipient of a new prize celebrating promising young Canadians and established by the team behind Canada's Walk of Fame.

Teen singing sensation Nikki Yanofsky is the inaugural recipient of a new prize celebrating promising young Canadians and established by the team behind Canada's Walk of Fame.

Organizers of the annual celebration announced on Monday that the 16-year-old Montreal singer is the first winner of the Allan Slaight Award.

"I may be the first to receive this honour, but I know that Canada has plenty of rising stars that will continue to inspire young people across the country and around the world," Yanofsky said in a statement.

The award, named after the Canadian radio pioneer, will be presented each year to "a young Canadian who is making a positive impact in the fields of music, film, literature, visual or performing arts, sports, innovation or philanthropy."

Winners will receive an honorarium of $10,000.

Yanofsky rose to fame as a pre-teen prodigy performing at jazz festivals, where she was described as a pint-sized incarnation of Ella Fitzgerald. She has since played top venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Over the past year, Yanofsky performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, released her first studio album, Nikki, and performed at major jazz festivals in Canada and abroad.

"The young artists, athletes, philanthropists and entrepreneurs that Canada is producing are simply astounding," said Slaight, the broadcasting mogul and Canadian music champion.

"Their achievements need to be recognized, and their stories told so other young people will know that any dream can come true."

Yanofsky will receive her award during the upcoming Canada's Walk of Fame gala in Toronto on Oct. 16, part of a four-day festival that will include high-profile ticketed concerts, a comedy show and a host of free performances.

This year's Walk of Fame inductees include Olympian Clara Hughes, filmmaker Sarah Polley and author Farley Mowat.

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