Anything Canadian usually gets maligned as the younger sibling trying to playing with the big kids, but the 2014 Juno Gala Dinner and Awards on March 29, 2014 proved just the opposite.
From 4:30 on, a steady parade of Canada's who's who walked the green carpet: Ed Robinson (Chairman of Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), Jeanne Lamon, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Born Ruffians, 2014 Juno Awards host Jian Ghomeshi, A Tribe Called Red, next year's Juno Awards hosts from Hamilton, and countless more.
And for those who deride Canadians as being rube-ish when it comes to the world stage, everybody's fashion style made a definitive statement that Canadians know how to dress. There were the sublime, like Helen Austin, Alysha Brillo, Brandi Disterheft and Adonis Fuentes; the funky, with the Born Ruffians, Daniel Romano, and David Gogo; and the political statement makers, as the Lemon Bucket Orkestra posed with yellow-and-blue bandanas covering their mouths as a show of support for Ukrainians.
But down in the media room was where the fun could be found. Most Juno Award winners took the escalator down one floor to pose with their new trophies, quickly making a stop at the Twitter cam before heading next door to the Q&A room.
The media room was two long tables set up with writers and photographers eating and filing simultaneously, one ear cocked for the "someone's up!" cue. It was periods of downtime followed by a rushed scurry over to the podium, cameras ready to capture the perfect angle.
As repetitive as it was each Juno winner to stand, pose, smile, and pretend it was a novel experience, us photographers found it the same process, too. To lighten things up, there was joking around with the Juno winners, with the most common one trying to get each winner to toss their statue in the air. "The ones before you did it," we lied, "so let's see if you can throw yours and catch it, too."
Some winners weren't as comfortable in front of the cameras as the others, but some were complete naturals. JRDN, for instance, happily blew the photographers a kiss, while Justin Rutledge pretended his Juno was too heavy to hold higher than a few inches off the floor.
And while none took us up on our offer to throw and catch their Junos, juggle them, drop them or do any other fancy tricks, each and every one of them said "thank you" before striding off to the Twitter cam.
A total of 35 out of 42 Juno Awards were given out that night, with the following seven set for the next night at the MTS Centre. To see a complete list of all the Juno Awards, visit http://junoawards.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2014-JUNO-Award-Winners.pdf