The Canadians Are Coming!

NEW YORK — This weekend marks the official “Canada Loves New York” celebration, during which citizens from north of the border will flock en masse to the Big Apple. The event is intended to show Canada’s support of New York’s ongoing effort to recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

New Yorkers will realize the event is taking place via numerous TV commercials that will break on Friday featuring such Canadian icons as Wayne Gretzky, Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, Kim Cattrall, William Shatner and Jason Priestley touting the “I Love New York” mantra. TV, radio, and print ads have already hit Canada, in which the stars urge Canadians to “Be There!”

Saturday, Dec. 1, has been declared Canada Loves New York Day by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who will make a special appearance at the Roseland Ballroom during a rally to be attended by Canadian visitors as well as Canadians who live in the New York area. Such companies as Air Canada, Greyhound, Amtrak and Sheraton, Westin and W Hotels in New York have provided reduced air and accommodation rates to encourage travel.

“We have garnered the assistance and free support of hundreds of volunteers who have created media advertising, transportation networks, set up grassroots committees and who have worked day and night to make this event possible,” said Canadian senator Jerry Grafstein, who has spearheaded the event. Canadian pr firm Delta Media is promoting the event.

— Barry Janoff