Mayor of Toronto John Tory shared the news via a video post on Twitter, in which he explained why the OVO rapper is worthy of “the highest honor we can give.”
“When we give out the key to the city, we want it to be something really special,” Tory said in his announcement.
“I believe the key should go to individuals who make people across the city feel good about themselves and about their city.”
The presentation will take place as NBA All-Star weekend begins in the city, with the league’s top stars, legends from basketball’s past, media personalities and celebrities expected to attend the first-ever iteration of the event to take place outside the United States.
“Drake is Toronto’s biggest champion: in his music, his mentorship of local talent, and his presence on the world stage,” Tory went on. “He makes people feel good about themselves and their city, and he has drawn the eyes of the world to Toronto. He deserves our city’s recognition and our pride and I’m honoured to give him the Key to the City.”
Drake’s work to familiarise the world with Toronto started in 2009, when he began October’s Very Own or OVO Fest, an annual music event that has played host to Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj.
In 2013, he was named the Toronto Raptor’s global ambassador, and is a frequent fixture on the courtside at the team’s home games.
Other individuals who have received keys to the City of Toronto include Nelson Mandela, Margaret Atwood, Mike Myers, Celine Dion, The Rolling Stones, Tiger Woods, Jackie Chan and Muhammad Ali.
WORDS: Layla Young