Although she eventually made her home in California, Joni Mitchell grew up in the Canadian city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And today, as The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix reports, the city is honoring her by naming a riverfront walkway after the musical icon and unveiling two commemorative plaques. It will be Saskatoon’s first formal recognition of one of their most famous exports, after plans for a Joni Mitchell museum fell apart in 2013.
A newly developed River Landing walk between Second Avenue and Third Avenue will be named Joni Mitchell Promenade, with a plaque containing some of the lyrics to her song “River” placed on the very spot that supposedly inspired them. A second plaque outside the Broadway Theatre will mark the former location of the Louis Riel Coffee House, where Mitchell used to work as a waitress and played some of her first paid gigs in the early 1960s. “It’s overdue, and I’m glad to see that it’s moving forward,” says Ward 6 city councillor Cynthia Block. “Her greatness was rooted and nurtured here, and I think that speaks volumes … about the caring community she grew up in.”
The unveiling ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3:30PM ET. Although Joni Mitchell herself won’t be present for the celebration, her assistant says that she will be watching the livestream, which you can find here. Mitchell, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015, turns 75 years old in November. This fall, the University of Saskatchewan will give her an honorary PhD, the first time the school has awarded an honorary degree in absentia.