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Joni Mitchell honoured in hometown Saskatoon Print-ready version

by Carmel Kilkenny
Radio Canada International
June 4, 2018

Joni Mitchell in 2014, arriving at the Hammer Museum's "Gala In The Garden" Honoring Joni Mitchell And Mark Bradford, on October 11, in Westwood, California. (Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty)

Joni Mitchell, one of Canada's greatest singer-songwriters, is being honoured and celebrated in Saskatoon, the place she spent her childhood, and where she began her career.

The University of Saskatchewan, in the central prairie province, bestowed an honourary degree on Mitchell today at a graduation ceremony.

"She was ahead of her time in writing about reconciling relations with each other and the land we live on"

"Joni Mitchell is one of Canada's greatest musicians, known worldwide for her artistic influence," said Peter Stoicheff, U of S President and Vice Chancellor.

"The University of Saskatchewan... is proud to recognise with an honorary degree her extraordinary contributions", he said. Mitchell, who is often described these days as a "recluse" because she doesn't go out much anymore, was not in attendance so the rector of the university, accepted the degree for her.

Joni Mitchell waves to the crowd during her 70th birthday tribute concert at Massey Hall in Toronto on June 18, 2013. Saskatoon City Council will be naming a walkway along River Landing in recognition of the accomplishments of Joni Mitchell. (CP/Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

The city of Saskatoon is also installing a plaque on the now trendy Broadway Avenue acknowledging what was the Louis Riel Coffee House, where Mitchell played her first paying gig.

And a promenade along the river will be inaugurated with a ceremony on Sunday June 10th. While Mitchell is not expected to attend, officials said she did participate and had input into these honours.

"So many of Ms. Mitchell's powerful songs that have influenced the world are rooted in the places and lives of our community," Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon, stated in a release today.

"She wrote honestly and prophetically. She was ahead of her time in writing about reconciling relations with each other and the land we live on," he said.

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