INSPIRE Awards will be awarding International Icon Award 2022 to Canadian television personality, comedian, political satirist, and author Rick Mercer (recipient Governor General Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.)

Other notable honourees at the annual celebration taking place this year on September 16th include local queer legends Patricia Wilson and Denise Benson, along with Canada Drag Race contestant Jada Hudson, and 21 other activists, inspiring youth, queer welcoming businesses, and community organizations.

Founded in 2011 INSPIRE Awards has become the premiere LGBTQ2S+ annual celebration that brings guests together for an evening of inspiration, community magic, and memorable moments. INSPIRE Awards are presented by Community Partners that include Pride Toronto, the iconic The Pink Pages Directory, AIDS Committee of Toronto, Toronto Trans Alliance and more.  “As we make history entering our second decade of celebrating our LGBTQ2S+ community’s accomplishments, we are hugely excited to be back in person after the last couple of years. We look forward to celebrating wonderful people. There is a lot to celebrate, including getting ready to develop with the City of Toronto an app and website to preserve and tell the stories of our community heroes” said President Antoine Elhashem on behalf of the board of directors.

This year the awards Community Partners were joined by Canadian Independent Grocery Buyers Alliance, as INSPIRE Awards chose for this year for its annual “Special Presentation” to celebrate Frontline Workers (#THANKYOUfrontlineworkers), where three individuals, a doctor, nurse, and grocer, will join us on stage at the event to be celebrated tell their story.

Headlining the event’s lineup of entertainment is 4 time JUNO Award winner Canada’s powerhouse recording artist Simone Denny. A bevy of hosts, artists, and DJs will entertain the guests all evening long.

Past recipients of International Icon Award include k.d. Lang, Omar Sharif Jr., Carole Pope, Stuart Milk (nephew of hero Harvey Milk), and many more.

Event takes place at Hart House, University of Toronto, on September 16th. Doors open at 6pm VIP and 6:30 for everyone. Tickets are available at

Requests for attendance by the media will happily be accommodated, as well as pre event requests for interviews. Please email board at or call 416.508.5249

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.