Late St. Catharines drummer would have turned 70 years old yesterday


Published September 13, 2022 at 3:58 pm

Born on September 16, 1952, the late Neil Peart would have turned 70 yesterday. Here he is playing with the band in 1977.

St. Catharines native, the late Neil Peart, continued to be remembered by thousands on the internet yesterday (September 12) on what would have been his 70th birthday.

While born in Hamilton on September 12, 1952, Peart, who was the main lyricist for the progressive rock group Rush, moved to Port Dalhousie with his family in his youth.

Nicknamed “The Professor” by other musicians, particularly professional drummers in their admiration, Peart’s legacy as a formidable, other-worldly drummer has been cemented for years, elevating the trio beyond the simple and generic rankings of the rock band he joined in 1974, a month before their major concert debut.

In St. Catharines, a task force is still working to decide which of six different art pieces will adorn Lakeside Park, a plot of land made famous by the band in a tune by the same name.

The city has already honoured the drummer, who passed away on January 7, 2000 in California of brain cancer, by renaming the pavilion after him in June 2020. However, over 25,000 people signed an online petition, asking that either a plague or a statue of him be placed beside the Neil Peart Pavilion at Lakeside Park.

Right now, the task force is examining the six submissions (all more far elaborate than a simple plaque) using a number of criteria, such as upkeep, maintenance, potential lighting and the like.

Peart with Rush is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and member of the Order of Canada.

Below are two rarely seen photos of Peart. On the left, he is meeting late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts at the SARS-Fest held in Toronto on July 30, 2003 in a backstage shot as guitarist Alex Lifeson and bass player-vocalist Geddy Lee look on. In the right photo – a true rarity – Peart’s first ever public performance at St. Catharines’ Lakeport Secondary School, which closed for good in June 2011.

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