Keanu Reeves reminisces about growing up in Toronto after induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame

‘Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada. Thank you for all of the experiences, adventure, teaching, support, friendships, and for my life’

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Fans rejoiced as global superstar Keanu Reeves made an appearance in Toronto last week to celebrate two important career milestones. Nearly two decades after the famed Matrix trilogy’s release, Reeves and longtime Canuck co-star Carrie-Anne Moss walked the black carpet for the Canadian premiere of the film’s fourth instalment, The Matrix Resurrections.

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Movie-goers patiently lining up around the block for the exclusive event where surprised by Reeves at Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre shortly before the screenings.

“It’s always nice to be back and tonight some folks are going to see The Matrix Resurrections and, hopefully, they like it,” he told Toronto Star.

That’s not all the Torontonian had to say about returning to Canada. The film’s debut was scheduled a day before Reeves’ induction as a member of Canada’s Walk of Fame aired on CTV on Dec. 17, where he delivered an emotional speech paying homage to his roots.

“I would not be here if not for where I came from,” he said after accepting the award presented by co-star Moss.

Though born in Beirut, Lebanon, Reeves spent much of his formative years in Toronto.

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“Winter, springs, summer, fall — we did it all,” Reeves reminisced. “Tobogganing, go-karts, chestnut fights, British bulldog at lunch, and hockey. I played a lot of hockey. Ball hockey, ice hockey. We played a lot of beautiful hockey.”

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During his seven minute speech, the actor honoured his educational journey, which ultimately propelled him into his acting career.

“Our family moved to Toronto in the early 70’s, when I was six or seven years old,” he recalled. “We lived on Hazleton Avenue in Yorkville and I went to Jesse Ketchum Public School for the second grade.”

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He then attended North Toronto High School, but later moved to a performing arts secondary school where he formally began to pursue his career as an actor. Reeves, however, was not accepted back into his second year.

“Oops,” he said, jokingly. “Let’s say it was, uh, artistic differences.”

He credits the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library for discovering his love for the arts, calling it a gift.

“Shout out to the movie theatres that changed my life,” he said. “Bloor Street cinema, the University cinema, the Eglinton cinema, Roncesvalles, and the 1984 Toronto International Film Festival.”

He affectionately ended his speech with a thank you to Canada.

“Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada. Thank you for all of the experiences, adventure, teaching, support, friendships, and for my life.”

Reeves was among a long list of Canadian and international superstars celebrating this year’s Inductees and Honourees including Canada’s first lady of the blues Salome Bey, Raptors favourite Kyle Lowry, the Barenaked Ladies, and Lieutenant-General Roméo A. Dallaire.

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