On July 18 2004, Madonna played the first of three sold-out dates at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre during her Re-Invention Tour. Playing to a combined total of over 52,000 fans, the shows were the only Canadian stop on the tour and marked her first concerts in Canada in eleven years.
At the second show Madonna proclaimed to those in attendance that they were the best audience of the tour thus far, while the final Toronto date saw Madonna in an uncharacteristically playful mood. Interrupting the show’s normally swift progression between Papa Don’t Preach and Crazy For You, she joked about the infamous 1990 threats of arrest and whipped the audience into a cheering frenzy with her self-described “unprofessional” behaviour.
On May 23 1985, Madonna accepted a Canadian Quadruple Platinum certification award for shipment of over 400,000 copies of her second album, Like A Virgin, within Canada. The award was presented by WEA Canada’s VP of sales Garry Newman to Madonna and Sire Records president Seymour Stein prior to her sold-out Toronto concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Like A Virgin was eventually certified (in July, 1992) with the rare Canadian Diamond certification for shipment of over one million copies in Canada. The only other Madonna album to date to receive Diamond certification in Canada is True Blue, which managed to achieve the feat within a year of its release. To date, only eighteen albums in total (by any artist or musical group) have received a Diamond certification in Canada.
On March 6 1998, Madonna spent the day in Toronto, Canada conducting a press conference and various print interviews to promote her new album, Ray Of Light, released earlier that week. She ended the day with a live, hour-long interview on Much Music hosted by VJ’s Master T (personally selected by Madonna herself after viewing reels of the station’s on-air personalities) and Geneviève Borne (a self-proclaimed Madonna fan and VJ from Much Music’s French-language sister station, Musique Plus).
The much-hyped event, which marked Madonna’s first and only visit to the Much Music studios, was prefaced by the Canadian music video channel’s second Madonnathon – a day of all-Madonna programming. The first, which featured her 1992 interview with Jonathan Ross and a then-recent press junket interview with The New Music’s Jana Lynne White (and all of her music videos), aired in January of 1993 at the height of the Sex/Erotica/Body Of Evidence backlash.
After the appearance was announced, fans seeking a limited hot spot inside the studio for the interview were asked to call in and were queried a series of Madonna-related trivia questions to prove their worthiness, while others who didn’t make it inside lined the streets of the Queen St W studios on the day of the event to welcome the Queen of Pop to Toronto.
On February 11 2014, Madonna personally lead a troupe of select gym-goers through a racy—but not criminally indecent—dancercize routine at the grand opening of Hard Candy Fitness, her new upscale gym in the massive Aura condos at Yonge & Gerrard in downtown Toronto, Canada.
Back in 1990, Toronto cops allegedly threatened to arrest Madge for grabbing her crotch on stage during her Blond Ambition Tour (Madonna refused to capitulate to the “fascist state of Toronto,” and nothing ever came of the threats).
Her attitude toward the city seems to have mellowed since then. While sashaying down the red carpet in fishnets and a black bustier suit from Canadian designers DSquared2, she paused to share her love for the city that snubbed her two decades go. “I think Toronto finally learned to accept me,” she told reporters for the Toronto Star. “I love Toronto.”
On August 29 1989, the music video for “Cherish” – the third single from the album Like A Prayer – premiered in Canada.
The song was written by Madonna & Patrick Leonard and was one of the first tracks completed for the album. Madonna had been reading Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet during breaks from rehearsals for the play Speed The Plow, which inspired the lyrics for the song.
The video was filmed on July 22, 1989 at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California. It marked the first time that late photographer Herb Ritts had crossed over to shooting and directing a music video, which he agreed to do reluctantly at Madonna’s insistence. He quickly became a highly sought-after music video director, winning numerous awards for his work within the medium.
“Cherish” hit the top of the charts in Canada on October 9th, spending two weeks at number-one. It went on to become the ninth best-selling single of the year with a total of seventeen weeks on the RPM Singles chart.
While no maxi-single was issued for “Cherish” in North America, the single included the previously unreleased Like A Prayer outtake “Supernatural” – another collaboration with Patrick Leonard.
On July 3, 1987, Madonna accepted a rare Canadian Diamond Award at a press conference in Toronto on the eve of her sold-out concert at CNE Stadium. The certification award was presented by WEA Music Canada president Stan Kulin to mark over one million units sold of the True Blue album in Canada.
On May 16, 1994, Madonna’s I’ll Remember (Theme From With Honors) became the number-one single in Canada. The song remained at the top of the Canadian singles chart for five weeks before finally being dislodged on June 20th by All-4-One’s hit, I Swear. Incidentally, it was the same song that blocked I’ll Remember from reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., where it spent four weeks in its peak position of number-two.