For those that don’t know, WE Day is “a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities”. Youth who have participated in ‘WE’ events or activities can earn their way in as a reward for their accomplishments over the course of the past year. Both in their own communities, and as part of global initiatives.
The celebration kicked off at 9:30 am to a packed house of 16,000 at the Canadian Tire Centre. Kardinal Offishall was running pump up jams for the whole day keeping things lively. Participants were enthusiastic and surprisingly well versed in global issues.
The range of talent, speakers, and celebrities this now 9 year old initiative brings in is quite impressive. Ottawa’s 2016 edition (there are now 65 a year) hosted, to name a few, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, Tyler Shaw, Paula Abdul, Serena Ryder, and Hedley.
Speeches were interspersed by performances, keeping youth entertained, while constantly pushing their branded message of “we not me”.
Classified delivered a kicking rendition of O Canada, backed by a full band.
Serena Ryder performed her hit “Got Your Number” moving across the catwalk and interacting with fans the whole while.
Tyler Shaw performed his single “Wicked”. Ditching his acoustic halfway through to say hi to adoring fans.
Hedley, whose singer Jacob played host throughout the day being greeted by deafening screams every time he took to the stage, closed out the show with their aptly titled “Can’t Slow Down” and “Lose Control”
I was told that Jacob has been very active with WE Day. Whenever he was off stage talking to fans, and helping to push this wonderful movement. It’s really fantastic to see artists giving back this way.
This is a very abridged recap of what was a celebrity packed day I was lucky enough to be able to photograph. Check out some more images below, and the “WE Day” movement at we.org