TIFF may be winding down and preparing to roll up the red carpet, but hot on its heels is another extravaganza of actors, performers and thought leaders—welcome WE Day Toronto!
Ushering in young change-makers from all corners of the 6ix to the Scotiabank Arena on September 19th, WE Day promises to match the awe-inspiring passion of its audience with an unbeatable lineup of speakers and performers.
As for what the crowd can expect, get Voice Notes ready to capture the inspirational quotes sure to flow out of YouTuber, entrepreneur and influencer Connor Franta when he returns to the WE Day stage. (Kind of a given when talking about a person whose both candid and entertaining videos have captivated the mind of his generation, #obvi.) The crowd should also come ready to soak in lessons from like-minded social advocates ranging from etalk’s Chloe Wilde—the founder of Healthy is Hot, an initiative aimed at promoting self-love and positive body image—to beloved hometown heroes, including Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia.
But when it comes to who deserves the real applause, WE Day goers only have to look at the seat beside them to spot the true superstars of the show—it’s the audience of students, who have all earned their way to the big event through volunteer hours achieved through the WE Schools service-learning program.
Below, we’ve gathered a few of the talented and inspirational individuals set to take the WE Day stage, to give you a sneak peek at the incredible show WE has in store for Toronto.
From Disney’s Stuck in the Middle to the CW’s Jane the Virgin, Jenna Ortega fandom reaches across young Hollywood. Audiences are devoted to the California native, and with good reason, as anyone who follows the blue carpet would know. A WE Day veteran, the actress shares more with the show’s audience than her age. Like the crowd of change-makers, she understands the importance of giving back. Take the meet-and-greet she hosted to fundraise for a little girl battling cancer, or her collaboration with Custom Ink to donate profits from the sales of bullying prevention T-shirts to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. For this starlet, fame is best when its used to promote good—and celebrating doing good is exactly what WE Day is all about!
Hollywood triple threat Jordan Fisher is more than up to the task of motivating a stadium of students to change the world for the better. His resume says it all; aside from being a former WE Day host (hello!), the twentysomething-year-old’s credits have accumulated him everything from Hollywood fame (watch for him in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel) to Broadway prestige (he did a stint in the cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony and Pulitzer-winning musical Hamilton). In between acting, singing and dancing, the rising star makes time for charity, supporting the efforts of groups including United Friends of the Children, an organization that provides support services to youth leaving foster care. A fan favourite, Jordan Fisher will be welcomed with enthusiastic screams when he hits the blue carpet.
As a poet, artist and New York Times bestselling author, Rupi Kaur has a created an enthralling body of work that resonates with its audience in a life-changing way. A figure of inspiration, her thoughts on love, healing, femininity, and migration have found a spotlight across the world, from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to an International Women’s Day spot on the UN Human Rights platform to our own WE Day stage. A returning guest, the poet is a highly anticipated performance for all who have been spellbound by her words in the past, while those who have yet to hear the phenomenal social advocate share her poetry should prepare themselves with tissues. Passion like Rupi Kaur’s draws tears.
Strangers Things is why binge watching exists. The show is like a can of Pringles, bet you can’t watch just one! And at the centre of it all is Noah Schnapp’s character, Will Byers. Into its third season, with the world holding its breath for news on season four (official release date P-L-E-E-A-S-E!), all eyes are on the cast of Netflix’s hit show. So, what’s Noah Schnapp doing during the show’s hiatus? Well, when not sharing hilarious videos on his eponymously named YouTube channel (check out the one about Stranger Things fan types, featuring one of WE’s own favourite collaborators, Lilly Singh), the actor uses his time to support the causes close to his heart, like Solving Kids’ Cancer, an initiative dedicated to finding breakthrough treatment options to cure children with fatal pediatric cancers. Talented and kind, we can’t wait to hear what this WE Day guest will share when he takes the stage.
A musical legend in Canada and renowned global singer-songwriter, Sarah McLachlan knows the power of a well-written lyric. She also understands the importance of arts education and the need for accessibility to programs that too often are only affordable for the lucky few. And so was founded The Sarah McLachlan School of Music, a foundation offering community music programs in cities across Canada, at no extra cost to its students. With a philosophy grounded in developing confidence among its students, the foundation not only gives back through music education, but also helps shape future community leaders through mentorship. A lucky charm for the Raptors (she did, after all, sing the national anthem during game six at the Oracle Arena in Oakland—sing it with us, “NBA Championship!”), the musician and everything about her performance at WE Day is guaranteed to feel, simply put, charmed.
An academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist, David Suzuki is a thought leader extraordinaire. A man of science, he uses research-based evidence to help advocate for environmental issues ranging from better laws to protect Canada’s oceans and marine life biodiversity to raising awareness around climate change—all through the David Suzuki Foundation. Nothing if not an inspiring presence, you won’t want to miss what this WE Day speaker has to say to a captive audience of young people ready to change the world. We’re guessing you’ll be able to hear the spark of ideas triggered by his motivational words.