By: Jack Wannan, special to POST Wrestling
Bret Hart’s lasting legacy on not just professional wrestling but culture as a whole was celebrated in downtown Toronto this Friday.
Hart’s career was honored with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in front of the Roy Thomson Hall on Friday. Hart was among the 11 new inductees into a walk that has honored more than 200 Canadians since it started 25 years ago.
Canada’s Walk of Fame has honored many celebrities, athletes, and public figures. Hart is the first to come from wrestling to receive a plaque.
“I just want to say how special it was for me to be a wrestling hero or a TV hero for so many Canadians across the country,” Hart said after revealing his spot on the walk. “I’ve had such a great journey and such a great ride and I’m really proud of my career. I’ve always been especially proud of being from Canada and spreading my name and the goodwill of Canada across the world. I’d like to think that I showed everybody that Canadians can be the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”
Hart was part of the 2021 class of inductees into the Walk of Fame. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unveiling of his plaque was delayed to this year.
Hart is now part of a stretch of Toronto sidewalk that commemorates some of the most influential Canadians from many walks of life. Among those celebrated on Friday included Jully Black — known by many as “Canada’s Queen of R&B” — actor Keanu Reeves, and the four-man team of Frederick Banting, Charles Best, John Macleod, James Collip, who invented insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921.
People will see Hart’s plaque — which includes his signature and the design of a championship belt — as they walk downtown to work, to events inside the Rogers Centre, or to other buildings in a bustling part of the city.
After his plaque was revealed, Hart spoke to POST Wrestling about what it means to be a part of the walk. He mentioned how wrestling is often “overlooked,” and his induction could be one step to getting rid of that stigma.
“I don’t think we ever got credit for being great actors, we never got credit for being great athletes. And we’re both. We’re great storytellers, we’re great actors, we’re great athletes. We’re amazing artists,” said Hart from the red carpet. “And I think me being on the Walk of Fame is hopefully a start for guys like Edge and other guys to be on the Walk of Fame. [Or] Trish Stratus, another great Canadian wrestler. It doesn’t just start or end with Bret Hart.”
Hart recalled walking down the Canadian Walk of Fame during his visits to Toronto, including when he played a role in an Aladdin musical during the mid-2000s.
“It’s funny all these years later to have my own square on the Walk of Fame,” he said afterward.
“It’s a big honor. It really means a lot to me. It’s one thing to be appreciated as a wrestler, it’s another thing to be appreciated as a Canadian.”
Hart was one of the many inductees who had a fair amount of fans show up in support on Friday. Lined up on the downtown street were a few dozen people, some seen wearing Hart merchandise.