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Rick Mercer to be the 2014 Recipient of the DAREarts Cultural Award

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/09/14 -- Editors note: There is one image accompanying this press release.

DAREarts announced today that Rick Mercer, host of the Rick Mercer Report, will be presented with the 2014 Cultural Award at the 12th annual DAREarts Leadership Awards. The gala will take place on Thursday, April 24 at The Kool Haus, 132 Queen's Quay, and will be hosted by Jeanne Beker, host of FashionTelevisionChannel and Contributing Editor to the Toronto Star. The DAREarts Cultural Award is presented annually to an individual who has led the way in advancing Canadian culture in youth.

DAREarts Founder Marilyn Field: "Besides ranting about what's wrong with our country, Rick Mercer lauds what is so good about Canada. He speaks out about what is the best in all of us and especially our young people. Like Rick, DAREarts brings out the best in our country's underserved youth, empowering them to ignite positive change."

DAREarts Leadership Awards theme this year is 'Sea 2 Sea 2 Sea' celebrating the leadership of kids across Canada. Proceeds will benefit DAREarts' programs that empower 13,000 underserved 9-to-19 year-olds yearly to escape the cycle of poverty and become leaders. Six DAREarts graduates are also presented with Leadership Awards and scholarships for turning their lives around and igniting positive change in their communities.

Past DAREarts Cultural Award recipients are: Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Eugene Levy, Maureen Forrester, Beverly Sills, Aline Chretien, Hon. James K. Bartelman, Sonja & Thomas Bata, General Rick Hillier, George Chuvalo, Albert Schultz, Karen Kain, Paul Henderson, Eugene Levy, Second City, Robert Gillespie, Richard Patina and Charles Pachter.

Rick Mercer launched his television career in 1993 as one of the creators, performers, and writers on the hit topical weekly show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2001 his CBC Television special Talking To Americans became the highest rated Canadian comedy special of all time with 2.7 million viewers. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and the Los Angeles Times all ran articles about the impact of Talking to Americans and Mercer went on to discuss it on ABC's Nightline and NBC's The Today Show.

A recipient of well over 25 Gemini Awards for television writing and performance, Mercer was given the Sir Peter Ustinov Award at the Banff Television Festival, named Journalist of the Year at the Atlantic Journalism Awards, Artists of the Year from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and has received a number of Canadian Comedy Awards. He is the sole civilian recipient of the Canadian Armed Forces Commander Land Forces, Command Commendation in recognition of his support of Canadian peacekeepers, and in 2004 he received the National Arts Centre Award at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.

Mercer has written for Time, Maclean's, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post. His first book, Streeters, hit the top of the Globe and Mail's best-seller list, and his second book, Rick Mercer Report: The Book, published in the fall of 2007, also went to the top of the national best-seller list. Rick latest book is A Nation Worth Ranting About that was published in September, 2012 and became another best-seller.

Guests attending the gala will enjoy dinner prepared by Presidential Gourmet, auctions and entertainment by Newfoundland recording artist Barry Canning. Also featured will be DAREarts program children. Dinner will be interspersed with the Awards presentations and the always-inspiring personal stories from the youth about how DAREarts has helped them change their lives for the better.

New this year will be an 'AfterChill' party and dance in the Chroma after the Awards, for both the guests and younger professionals.

DAREarts is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, which stands for "Discipline, Action, Respect, Responsibility and Excellence in Education". DAREarts' 5-year program works with 9-14 year olds from schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to become leaders. Visit www.darearts.com for more information about DAREarts. Visit http://www.darearts.wordpress.com for up-to-date sharing of their experiences.

DAREarts thanks its lead supporters: Northbridge Insurance, Guy Carpenter, Scotiabank, TD, Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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