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And the Junos go to... Winnipeg in 2014

will Neil fulfil his promise?

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will Neil fulfil his promise? (CP)

Avril Lavigne was one of the big winners the last time the Junos were in Winnipeg.

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Avril Lavigne was one of the big winners the last time the Junos were in Winnipeg. (CP)

Burton Cummings and the Guess Who rocked the house.

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Burton Cummings and the Guess Who rocked the house. (JOE BRYKSA/ WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES)

The country's premier music celebration -- the Juno Awards -- will return to Winnipeg after a nine-year absence.

Sources say Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz will make it official today: Winnipeg has beat out Victoria as the host city for the 2014 Juno Awards. The announcement will be made at the MTS Centre.

The Junos were last here in 2005, just months after the MTS Centre opened.

Tourism Winnipeg's news release said only the conference is for "a very special music and entertainment announcement" and would include Selinger, Katz and that "other special guests will be available for a photo opportunity and interviews."

It also made note about Winnipeg being home to Neil Young, the Guess Who and Burton Cummings and the "spotlight is set to shine on our city's diverse music scene".

Chuck Davidson, vice-president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said the Junos brought more than $5.5 million in economic spinoffs to the city in 2005, and he sees no reason why it wouldn't be higher than that in 2014.

"Vancouver's economic benefit was $10 to $14 million in 2009 so it is significant," Davidson said.

"It's not a one-day event, it is more a four- or five-day event with concerts and events held throughout the city. They even shut down part of Portage Avenue for the red carpet."

Davidson said he suspects the Junos will be held here 2014 to coincide with other events.

"The human rights museum will open that year, the Assiniboine Park Zoo's renovations will be complete, and the football stadium will already be open -- it will be a good time for a national event to be here."

Jim Carr, president of the Business Council of Manitoba, said the Junos "create excitement. And it puts Winnipeg's best face to the nation."

Carr said he believes it is the city's vaunted volunteerism that helped snag the Junos for a second time.

"It's a recognition that Winnipeg has a well-deserved reputation for its volunteer segment, which you need to hold an event like this," he said.

"And when you have done it before and you've done it well it makes the decision to come back easier."

The 2005 ceremony saw Avril Lavigne and k-os win three awards apiece, including artist of the year for Lavigne, while Feist was handed the new artist award.

The Tragically Hip was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Young was set to fulfil his promise to perform at the Junos if they were held in Winnipeg but he had to cancel because he underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

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