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Canadian city to commission artwork to honour late Rush drummer Neil Peart

Neil Peart playing live
(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Neil Peart is to be honoured with a work of public art in Canada.

The city of St. Catharines, Ontario is inviting Canadian artists to submit proposals to honour Rush’s much-loved and much-missed drummer, who died, aged 67, on January 7, 2020.

Peart spent time during his formative years in the St. Catherines district of Port Dalhousie. The area is immortalised in Rush anthem Lakeside Park, with Peart’s poetic lyrics celebrating “Days of barefoot freedom, racing with the waves / Nights of starlit secrets, crackling driftwood flames /Drinking by the lighthouse, smoking on the pier.”

A pavilion at Lakeside Park was named in honour of the drummer in June last year.

“We’re quite certain the park and the art piece is going to become a mecca for Rush fans around the world,” says David DeRocco, head of the task force soliciting the artwork, quoted in The Globe And Mail. “From the get-go, the committee has said, ‘Let’s think big here’,”

The budget for the commission, which will be funded through donations, is $1.5 million. Interested parties have until March 29 to submit their proposal for the artwork. A panel will then shortlist six finalists and chose a winning design, which they hope will  be installed in 2022.

In 2016, Peart’s bandmates, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, had a park, the Lee-Lifeson Art Park, named in their honour in the Toronto neighbourhood of Willowdale where they grew up.

Earlier this year, Geddy Lee paid tribute to Peart, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in 2016, telling Rolling Stone, “He was a tough man. He was nothing if not stoic, that man. … He was pissed off, obviously. But he had to accept so much horrible shit. He got very good at accepting shitty news. And he was OK with it. He was going to do his best to stick around as long as he could, for the sake of his family. And he did unbelievably well. … He accepted his fate, certainly more gracefully than I would.”