It was a festive evening for Canada in Hollywood on Wednesday as the Canadian Consulate turned House of Blues on the infamous Sunset Strip into what was called the "House of Canada" for one night only. Five hundred guests, including Canadian actors Martin Short, Tonya Lee Williams and Gil Bellows, gathered in honour of the Canadian 54th Grammy nominees.
The celebration's emcee, Ottawa native actor/comedian Jeremy Hotz, a dual Canadian/US citizen, joked about how he landed the hosting honours. "I think I owe Revenue Canada some money, so they got me tonight for free."
Dressed in a black Armani pinstripe suit, Martin Short was milling among the crowd and fraternizing with Canadian born artist Jim Budman, older brother to Roots co-owner Michael Budman. "Here's the reality," said Short. "I just finished Conan O'Brien and I had a couple of hours to kill, so I am here to celebrate House of Canada and then I'm having dinner here with Danny Aykroyd." As to which Grammy nominees he enjoys, Short said, with a smile, "All of them. You name them. Beaver. Bieber. I am a fan."
In addition to free-flowing appetizers including pesto flatbreads and bacon, lettuce and tomato pastry cups, guests were treated, in true Canadian style, to Molson Canadian and Moosehead beers, and Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head premium vodka.
Arriving a fashionably hour late to the soiree, Ajax-born Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley, 31, whose band is nominated for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance said, "The nomination feels amazing. It's very unexpected. We didn't know about it and then I got a bunch of emails congratulating me and I was like, 'Ok, I gotta find about this.' "
Having been nominated for two previous Grammys in both 2010 and 2011, Toronto native Melanie Fiona, 29, nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Song along with Cee-Lo, was beaming with delight just before she took the stage for her performance. "I'm really, really excited for Sunday," she said. "I was actually at the Grammy nominees concert when I found out I was nominated. I had just gone to the concert because I thought it would be fun. I called my mom immediately and said, 'Turn on the television. I got nominated for 2 Grammys. I've gotta go. Bye.' "
With a night of stellar performances from The Canadian Tenors, Vancouver indie rockers Gold & Youth, Halifax pop poster boy Rich Aucoin, and the soulful Fiona, the enthusiastic crowd packed the dance floor.
Toronto native Ryan Shore, nominated for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media, dressed casually in a brown blazer, black button-down and jeans, expressed his happiness and gratitude for his nomination while sipping Crystal Head vodka and 7-Up. "It feels amazing," he said. "I was with my buddy when I found out. We had just finished working out and I knew the nominations were coming out, so I went to the Grammy website and read it myself. Then I posted it on Facebook and called my mom. It's been wonderful to be here tonight and great hearing Melanie Fiona perform."