Thursday, April 8, 2021
Entertainment

Trade in Ryan Seacrest and Times Square for Avril Lavigne and other Canadian talent, as you experience a new, made-in-Ontario New Year’s Eve tradition

Measha Brueggergosman, Jully Black and Divine Brown perform at the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place for “From Ontario With Love; A Celebration of Hope.”
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Perhaps New Year’s Eve 2020 would be a good time to make new traditions? Perhaps ones that have more meaning to us Canadians than, say, Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Seacrest? Maybe one that involves not just world-class musicians, but also the stories of the undisputed heroes of 2020, our front-line workers? And of course, one that you can watch from the comfort and safety of your home. And don’t forget the fireworks.

“From Ontario With Love; A Celebration of Hope” features a diverse cast of homegrown talent, including Avril Lavigne, Divine Brown, Jully Black, Measha Brueggergosman and Barenaked Ladies performing in Toronto and Windsor.

The evening will be hosted by “Kim’s Convenience” star Andrew Phung and Canadian television and radio personality Arisa Cox.

The show came together after (Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture) Lisa MacLeod connected us with a group out of Windsor called LiUNA Yunity to see if there was a way for us to help each other in putting together something for New Year’s 2020,” explained Jeffrey Latimer, who produced the show.

The minister then connected Latimer, along with director and producer Barry Avrich, with Niagara and Ottawa and other tourism departments, with the vision of creating a new, New Year’s tradition. Working with Henry Kallen, owner of Hotel X, they wanted to build a concept that would incorporate Princes Boulevard and the Princes Gates in Toronto. It was also important to them to feature stories of front-line workers.

“We realized if it was just a concert it would be disingenuous,” Latimer said.

“Barry (Avrich) and I had six weeks to pull this off,” Latimer added, explaining that production followed all COVID-19 protocols.

“It’s amazing how quickly everyone came together to make this show happen and the Star’s pleased to help Canadians experience it; it’s a great way to close off this year with some brightness and hope,” said Star publisher Jordan Bitove.

Other talent in the show includes: DJ duo Loud Luxury, NOTIFI, Roy Woods, Rhyan Douglas, Sean Jones, Steele, Wali Shah and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Roberta Battaglia along with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. And a closing performance by the Tenors features the song “Best of Our Lives” with the inspiring lyric “May the rest of our lives be the best of our lives.”

“What we so love about this show is it’s a reflection of what Ontario has done well: talent, diversity, storytelling,” Avrich said.

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