Duelling Junos & what music moves Don Ross

donross-facebookBy Joan Walters / Hamilton Spectator

Two mayoralty candidates are taking credit for their part in bringing the Juno Awards to Hamilton – one for the 2015 show, the other for getting the awards here in the first place.

Former city councillor Don Ross – who declared for mayor last month – notes he was chair of the economic development committee in the 90s when Hamilton petitioned officials of Canada’s dominant music awards to bring the Junos here.

(Photo: Don Ross, from his Facebook site)

“We went to Toronto and talked to the people in charge of the Junos . . . and said wouldn’t they like to move the awards to other communities in Canada,” Ross said in an interview. “We were the ones who reached out to them to move the Junos here.”

The Junos came to Hamilton for the 1995 awards, and were also held here in 96, 97 and 99. There was one last go-round for the Junos in Hamilton in 2001, but they haven’t been back since then.

Last week, mayoralty candidate Brian McHattie was featured here on SpecVotes.com talking about how branding Hamilton as a music city is part of his campaign.

McHattie has also positioned himself as a force behind the Junos returning to Hamilton in 2015. He points out he crafted the council motion that led to last spring’s request to the Junos to bring the show back .

Clearly, Hamilton music is central to both campaigns, consistent with the community’s rising interest in its reputation as a powerhouse for musicians of every type.

At last week’s Juno ceremony, Hamilton groups racked up a host of nominations: Monster Truck (rock album of the year), Tom Wilson’s LeE HARVeY OsMOND (roots and traditional, group), Harrison Kennedy (blues album), City Harmonic (contemporary Christian/gospel).  Not to mention that the region also has Walk off the Earth (three major nominations for the Burlington group). See more on the Junos at thespec.com

Ross, who says he has broad tastes in music, said he hasn’t really thought about the full extent of the music component for his mayoralty campaign – whether it’s the position he takes on Hamilton as a music city or what he plays for electioneering.

“There will definitely be music, I’m a very upbeat kind of person and I have two daughters who are music afficionados. They’re right up to date on it all.”

What moves him personally?

Country, pop, some classical and a special affinity for Susan Aglukark, the celebrated Inuit singer-songwriter who also has become a keynote speaker and workshop leader.

“I love her music.  I have a real soft spot for her.”

jwalters@thespec.com / 905-526-3302

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