Toronto is recognizing Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley today on his 78th birthday, and awarding eight community leaders for their contributions in his honour.
Monday has been proclaimed Bob Marley Day in the city to celebrate the music and legacy of Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley. This is the 32nd time the city has honoured the late musician.
Marley was born in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica in 1945. Marley and his friends formed the Wailing Wailers in 1963 and he went on to sell more than 20 million records throughout his career. Marley died from cancer at the age of 36 in 1981.
Some of his most popular hits include, “One Love,” “No Woman No Cry,” and “Redemption Song,” among countless others.
In celebration of Bob Marley Day, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square will be lit in red, gold and green all day. Marley’s songs will also be played at the square from 1 to 5 p.m.
“Bob’s unparalleled artistry and positive demeanor have influenced millions of fans and countless musicians, and his work continues to have an impact to this day. His music captivates listeners of all ages, inspiring and uplifting people from around the world,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement on Monday.
The city is also recognizing the day with a pre-recorded Humanitarian Awards ceremony tonight. The event will honour eight community leaders for their significant contributions.
This year’s recipients of the Bob Marley Humanitarian Award include:
1. Senator Bernadette Clement (Canadian Senator from Ontario)
2. Dr. Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President & Principal of University of Toronto Scarborough)
3. Yolanda McClean (Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario)
4. Cheryl Kerr (Founder & Managing Partner of MedEx Health Services)
5. Kevin Modeste (Former Deputy Director of Research and Legislative Affairs for the Ontario NDP Caucus)
6. Yasmin Hurd (Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai.)
7. Viola Stewart (Entrepreneur)
8. Elladj Baldé (Olympic Figure Skater)
“Bob Marley said “One Love”. So, each year we take time to honour the best of the best, people – acting in the diversity spirit of Bob Marley’s One Love, – who have worked hard to make our country a better place for all. As the diverse population continues its tremendous growth, it becomes even more critical that the doors of opportunities are open to all,” founder of Bob Marley Day, Courtney Betty, said in a statement.
The award ceremony is set to air on the YouTube channel, Bob Marley Day, at 7:00 p.m.