Mr. Speaker, I wish, on behalf of my constituents, all Edmontonians, and the Canadian music community, to share the sad news of the passing last week of Senator Tommy Banks. Tommy was so beloved that a street in Edmonton Strathcona was named Tommy Banks Way, recognizing his efforts to found Edmonton's long-standing jazz club, the Yardbird Suite.
He hosted The Tommy Banks Show, performed throughout North America, and guest conducted numerous symphony orchestras. However, Tommy was not only renowned in Edmonton. He performed worldwide and received a Juno and a Gemini. He was a founding chair of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and chair of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation and the music program at Grant MacEwan. He was made an officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing his long-standing accomplishments as a musician and his dedicated service to the development of Canadian arts. He served as music director for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, the World University Games, and the 1988 Olympics, and as a member of the Canada Council. Tommy Banks served in the Senate from 2000 to 2011.
As Edmonton's Winspear Centre has shared, Banks “changed the landscape of the Edmonton music scene and will be forever remembered for his incredible talent & passion”. He will be missed, but his musical legacy will live on.