The roster of speakers and performers for We Day Toronto include a diverse range of dignitaries and celebrities including ‘Glee’ star Darren Criss as host of the annual event for youth.
Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, recently back from a trip to Kenya with Free The Children, represent just some of the celebrity power coming to Toronto for the Sept. 20 event.
Highlights of the We Day guest lineup include:
- Pop singer Austin Mahone
- Juno Award-winning artist Serena Ryder
- Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David C. Onley
- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
- Rock band Barenaked Ladies
- Col. Chris Hadfield
- Eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King III
The annual event, started in 2007, was founded by Canadian activists Craig and Marc Kielburger. We Day is an initiative of Free The Children, an international charity that is meant to engage and educate youth.
“When we started Free The Children, I was 12 years old and we were practically shoved into lockers. It was the most uncool thing in the world trying to make a difference so we created We Day to show change can be cool for kids and possible even at a young age,” Craig Kielburger told CTV Toronto.
Besides Toronto, We Day events are held in seven other cities across Canada, as well as two locations in the U.S. and one in the U.K., in aid of both local and international charities.
Since 2009, students have volunteered 5,100,000 hours for local and global causes and the event has raised $26,000,000 for 900 causes.
Those interested in going to We Day can’t buy a ticket, however. Instead, those hoping to go can earn their ticket through service by making a commitment to take action on at least one local and one global initiative.
Participants of We Day must be 12 years of age or older and attend with a school group or community group.
About 20,000 young people are expected to attend the event at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Earlier today at a Canada Basketball media conference, Steve Nash, General Manager of Canada’s senior men’s national team, named Jay Triano head coach of the men’s national team.
“I know that Jay is the right man for this job,” declared Nash. “He is a confirmed and respected leader in the basketball community and he has the experience and knowledge to lead us towards our goal of becoming one of the leading basketball nations.”
Triano, 53, becomes the 10th head coach of the senior men’s national team since 1954. The Niagara Falls native has an outstanding coaching pedigree, as well as being an accomplished player and three-time Olympian.
He first worked with the senior men’s national team as assistant coach and in 1998 he took on the role as head coach, which he kept until 2004, posting a 52-42 (.553) record. During this time, Triano led the national team to compete at Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Triano became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he joined the Raptors in 2002 as an assistant coach. He then was promoted to head coach during the 2008-2009 season and held the position until the end of the 2010-2011 season. To add to his international recognition, in 2010 he was named assistant coach for the 2010 USA Basketball Team, becoming the first non-American coach in USA basketball history.
“Being an athlete on three different Olympic teams was a great honour, but being able to lead 12 players and a dedicated staff to the Sydney Olympics was even more special,” said newly-named head coach, Jay Triano. “I look forward to working with Steve and Rowan again to put together a staff that will help grow the game of basketball and make our way back to the Olympic Games and prominence on the world stage.”
Triano also announced his coaching staff that will assist him with the senior men’s national team. The coaches include; Greg Francis (University of Waterloo head coach), Kelvin Sampson (Houston Rockets assistant coach), and Dave Smart (Carleton University head coach).
“Jay’s expertise, experience, passion and absolute commitment to Canada make him the ideal head coach,” said President and C.E.O. of Canada Basketball, Wayne Parrish. “Jay Triano is a great Canadian and he understands the importance of a strong basketball program and the influence that will have on the development of basketball in Canada.”
This announcement kicks-off the senior men’s national team training camp which will begin Friday, August 24th and conclude on Tuesday, August 28th at the Air Canada Centre, Raptors Practice Court.
Photos by: Mark Reed