As a loving tribute to Jeff Healey, Woodford Park (on 1 Delroy Dr., Toronto, Ontario, Canada) will be renamed to Jeff Healey Park on Sunday, June 5, 2011.

The official renaming celebration, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., is a FREE event which will include:

  • remarks at 5:30 p.m.
  • various children’s activities,
  • a community barbecue,
  • a performance by comic-juggler Craig Douglas,
  • and music by:
  1. Jerome Godboo and Friends,
  2. Danny Marks, and
  3. the band Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards.

Cristie Healey, wife of the late Jeff Healey, will be the special guest speaker.

“Norman Jeffrey “Jeff” Healey (March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008) was a blind Canadian jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Healey was raised in the city’s west end. He was adopted as an infant; his adoptive father was a firefighter. When he was eight months old, Healey lost his sight to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes.

Healey began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. When he was 17, he formed the band Blue Direction, a four-piece band which primarily played bar-band cover tunes.

He was introduced to two musicians, bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, with whom he formed a trio, “The Jeff Healey Band“.

By the release of the 2000 album Get Me Some, Healey began to concentrate his talent in another direction closer to his heart, which was the appreciation for another original American music form, jazz.

He went on to release three CDs of music of traditional American jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. He had been sitting in with these types of bands around Toronto since the beginning of his music career. Though known primarily as a guitarist, Healey also played trumpet during live performances.

For many years, Healey performed at his club, “Healey’s” on Bathurst Street in Toronto, where he played with “The Healey’s House Band” on Thursday nights and with his jazz group on Saturday afternoons. The club moved to a bigger location at 56 Blue Jays Way and was rechristened “Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse.”

Over the years, Healey toured and sat-in with many legendary performers, including Dire Straits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, BB King, ZZ Top, Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton and many more. In 2006, Healey appeared on Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan’s CD/DVD Gillan’s Inn.

Healey discovered and helped develop the careers of other musical artists, including Terra Hazelton and Amanda Marshall.

Healey is survived by his wife, Cristie, and two children.”

Please click here to read more about Jeff Healy.

A Loving Tribute to Jeff Healey: Woodford Park is Renamed to Jeff Healey Park in Toronto June 5, 2011

A Loving Tribute to Jeff Healey: Woodford Park is Renamed to Jeff Healey Park in Toronto June 5, 2011

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Media Advisory

June 3, 2011

City to honour late world-class guitarist Jeff Healey with park naming

Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff in partnership with the Friends of Jeff Healey Park, Tim Hortons, Enbridge and the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Professional Association will join members of the local community to celebrate the naming of Jeff Healey Park.

Date: Sunday, June 5
Time: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., with remarks at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Park formerly called Woodford Park, 1 Delroy Dr.

The late Jeff Healey, who became widely known as leader of the Jeff Healey Band, was one of the world’s most celebrated rock, blues and jazz guitarists. He later toured with the Jazz Wizards, playing American jazz from the 1920s, ’30s and early ’40s on trumpet and clarinet as well as guitar. Healey grew up in Etobicoke and played in this park, both as a teenager and as a father with his young children. He died in 2008.

This free event will include various children’s activities, a community barbecue, a performance by comic-juggler Craig Douglas, and music by Jerome Godboo and Friends, Danny Marks, and the band Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards.

Cristie Healey, wife of the late Jeff Healey, will be the special guest speaker.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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