Toronto Mayor John Tory will present the key to the city to the members of Rush – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart – at the official opening of the new Lee Lifeson Art Park this Saturday, September 17.
Lee and Lifeson will join Mayor Tory for the presentation, which will also include an acoustic performance of a Rush classic by Hamilton, ON musician Jacob Moon.
The Mayor awards the key to inspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds who embody the spirit and potential of Toronto and have contributed significantly to civic life.
“Rush has played a vital role in defining Toronto’s musical identity and given so much to our city through their music, live performances and their generous support for charities,” said Mayor Tory. “We are pleased to honour them with a key to the city and the launch of the new Lee Lifeson Art Park.”
The new park, part of the Willowdale Park footpath corridor, features new trees, grass, benches and unique music-themed art installations.
The park is named after the two Rush members who grew up in Toronto. Lifeson started a high school band that soon included his classmate, Lee, on vocals, bass and keyboards. Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto’s Willowdale neighbourhood. Drummer Peart, from St. Catharines, ON, joined the band in 1974.
For more than 40 years, the trio of Lee, Lifeson and Peart has defined rock music while inspiring fans and musicians worldwide. Rush ranks third in the world – after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – for most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band.
The band’s massive international fan base has helped to spotlight Toronto as a music capital for decades.
Rush recorded the instrumental, “YYZ”, on 1981’s “Moving Pictures” album; the song is named after the airport identification code for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
The group performed the final show of their 40th anniversary R40 Live tour at The Forum in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015, calling the trek their final large scale tour, with plans for the future still to be determined.
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