The Juno Awards are coming back to Toronto in 2021, after a decade away from the city where the show began.
In a news release, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) says the show will celebrate 50 years of Canadian music at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday, March 28, 2021 and will be aired live on CBC.
The show will be put on with the support of both the City of Toronto and the province of Ontario.
Allan Reid, president and CEO of CARAS, the Juno Awards and MusiCounts, calls it an honour to bring Canada’s biggest music event back to the city where it originated.
“This is an amazing city. It’s a great music city, and a decade is almost too long,” Reid told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Tuesday. “Obviously this is a major celebration, the 50th anniversary, and we felt there was no better place to celebrate that than right here in Toronto.”
He said Canada continues to produce some of the world’s most vibrant artists, such as Shawn Mendes, Drake, Alessia Cara and The Weeknd.
“Not since the ’90s probably when Celine [Dion] and Shania [Twain] and Sarah [McLachlan] and Alanis [Morissette] dominated the charts have Canadians literally dominated globally,” Reid said Tuesday.
It was in 1970 that creators Walt Grealis and Stan Klees put on the first Juno Awards show in Toronto at St. Lawrence Hall. In its first year, it was called the Gold Leaf Awards but was then changed to the Junos to honour Pierre Juneau, the first president of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
The Juno Awards were hosted in Toronto for its first 20 consecutive years and five more times after that. Since then, the awards show has been filling up venues all across Canada, from St. John’s, NL, to Vancouver, B.C.
Mayor John Tory said Toronto is proud to have the opportunity to host the event for its 50th anniversary, calling it “the biggest event in Canadian music.”
“Ontario’s amazing artists, industry professionals and emerging talent exemplify that we offer the world in one province,” said Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Toronto itself is known for its rich music scene that has produced some of the most famous artists in the world, like Drake. While he is no longer submitting his albums to the Canadian awards show for consideration, the Junos hope to mend the relationship and have him back at the event.
Reid said he has “put out an invitation” to Drake’s representatives, hoping to set up a conversation about getting the superstar back into the fold.
“We would love to have Drake come back to the Junos,” Reid said. “No question. He’s an incredible artist.”
Meanwhile, applications overall have doubled, Reid said, with 2,800 artists submitting their work for nomination consideration last year.
“That means amazing music is being made from coast to coast to coast across this country,” Reid said. “The industry has a tough decision deciding who are going to be the nominees and who are going to be the winners.”
Host cities of the awards show have seen an average of over $10 million in economic impact with the combination of the awards broadcast, Juno Week and surrounding events, since 2002.