The personal tribute song Ryan Reynolds posted on his YouTube page with the caption “I’m not crying” is now available for sale on most streaming platforms with proceeds going to Reconciliation Canada, which is “leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.”
Fellow Canadian Steven Page wrote "Canada Loves You Back" and sang it for the actor, producer, screenwriter, entrepreneur and activist, in a humorous and heart-warming music video that includes everyone from William Shatner to Vancouver Canucks players, as part of the presentation for Reynolds' 2021 National Arts Centre Award, during The 2021 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. The video has a split screen of him watching and reacting to it (medal around his neck).
The award, selected by the National Arts Centre (NAC), “recognizes work of an extraordinary nature and significance in the performing arts by an individual artist and/or company in the past performance year.”
The music video also highlights Reynolds’ philanthropy by including representatives from various causes he’s supported: Food Banks Canada, Pacific Wild, SickKids Foundation, and Reconciliation Canada.
Under the video on You Tube, Reynolds put “Despite what it may look like, I did not pay the Governor General's Awards to make this. #GGAwards #NotAnAd,” backing up Page’s line in the song about self-deprecation.
The Vancouver native, who stars in Marvel Comics' Deadpool franchise, posted the video on Nov. 26 and it now has just under 3 million views. The post on the GGAA YouTube page has another couple of hundred.
After the awards aired, Reynold posted, “Last night Canada honoured me with a Governor General’s Award and this video. I’m not crying. It’s just maple syrup.”
He also added that Steven Page “is not only a friend but an absolute legend. He wasted this perfectly awesome song on me,” then proceeded to thank the Governor General of Canada Mary Simon, and the National Arts Centre (NAC) “for keeping the performing arts alive and well throughout Canada and being a champion for voices which have been historically silenced or overlooked.”
As the song gathered steam, a week later on Dec. 3, Page wrote on his Facebook: “Whew! What a week it's been! The response to 'Canada Loves You Back'...has been MUCH bigger than I'd anticipated. Lots of folks have been asking for the song to be on Spotify or Apple Music or whatever other service they use to listen to music, so I've been racing to upload it and get it ready for release since Monday. And now it's available just about everywhere! This 21st Century stuff moves quickly, you see.
“I decided to donate the streaming and downloading proceeds to Reconciliation Canada, one of the many great charities that Ryan supports.”
The day the single was released, a Friday, Page also made sure it was available on Bandcamp because, since the pandemic, the online music platform has designated the first Friday of each month as Bandcamp Fridays, giving up its revenue share. “That means that 100% of the money we raise on Bandcamp will go right to Reconciliation Canada. The single sells for $1 but feel free to give more if you're so inclined,” Page noted.
Page also did a follow-up post to acknowledge some of the creatives behind the song and video: the band The Odds played on the track, along with the NAC Orchestra, arranged by Daniel Desaulniers. The track was mixed by Paul Forgues and the video shot by Ryan Balton.
According to the bio on the GGPA site, other causes Reynolds has supported include the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. In 2020, during the pandemic. Reynolds and his actress wife Blake Lively donated $1 million to Food Banks Canada and Feeding America.
At the conclusion of the music video, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, says, “We live in troubled times, and if there was ever a time that we need to work together, to acknowledge each other and be closer to one another so that we can help each other, support each other, lift each other up—this is the time. And so we are grateful once again that through the generosity of Canadians like Ryan we are able to do this work that brings people together.”
On the Reconciliation Canada web site, it explains that Chief Joseph was the visionary behind it. “Our model for reconciliation engages people in open and honest conversation to understand our diverse histories and experiences. We actively engage multi-faith and multi-cultural communities to explore the meaning of reconciliation," it states.
Reconciliation Canada’s current programs and initiatives include: Reconciliation Dialogue Sessions and Action Plans, Economic Reconciliation Action Plans; Reconciliation-Based Leadership Training & Core Competencies Assessments; and Public Awareness and Education.
The “Canada Loves You Back” tribute was produced in partnership with Vérité Films, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation, and the National Arts Centre as part of The 2021 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards on CBC Television and ICI TÉLÉ. The one-hour special, which honours many other great Canadians, besides Reynolds, aired on Nov. 26 on CBC , but can be streamed for free on CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV.
Watch "Canada Loves You Back":