St. Catharines naming Lakeside Park pavilion after late Rush drummer Neil Peart

TORONTO — The city of St. Catharines, Ont., is naming a local pavilion after late Rush drummer Neil Peart and considering other ways to honour his legacy.

The acclaimed percussionist, who died in January at age 67, was born in Hamilton and grew up in St. Catharines.

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He was the primary lyricist for Rush and co-wrote the progressive-rock group's 1975 song "Lakeside Park" in honour of the region.

Earlier this year, the southern Ontario city asked for submissions for a name for the pavilion at Lakeside Park in the local community of Port Dalhousie.

The submissions were whittled down to two finalists — Peart's moniker, along with "Lakeside Park Pavilion."

A public vote between the two suggestions determined the Neil Peart Pavilion at Lakeside Park as the favourite and city council approved the choice earlier this week.

"He's a local son made good on the world stage," Port Dalhousie Counc. Bruce Williamson said in a phone interview.

"For the percussionists out there, the drummers, he's a huge icon. For those of us in Port Dalhousie and St. Catharines, there's a good deal of civic pride about his accomplishments."

The city said it consulted with the Peart family during the naming process for the pavilion, which has a carousel, beach and other attractions.

A committee has been created to find ways to further memorialize Peart, with ideas including a plaque or bronze statue of him at his drum kit, Williamson said.

The committee will comprise city councillors as well as members of the public.

"Various people are offering to support some kind of a recognition for him financially," Williamson said.

"Some people that had some roots here and left, and other people who are just huge Rush fans and Neil Peart fans. There are already some people who have made some generous offers."

Peart is regarded as one of the greatest of drummers of all time.

In the song "Lakeside Park," he wrote about youthful summer nights in the area, with "laughing rides, midway lights" and "shining stars."

Peart died Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif., after battling glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020.

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