Canadian Musicians Busk For War Child

War Child

Liam Titcolm, Chantal Kreviazuk, Default and others take to the streets

By Karen Bliss

Musician Liam Titcomb raised a staggering $50,000 for War Child Canada on his recent 50-city, 99-show national busking tour, which ended Sept. 26,  and three days later more than 40 artists took to the Toronto streets for the same cause, Busking For Change.

War Child Canada CEO War Child Lisa Zbitnew called Titcomb’s accomplishment  “a remarkable journey by an extraordinary young man,” adding, “$50,000 is a tremendous achievement and a huge boost for the charity.”

War Child is an award-winning charity that provides opportunities and long-term solutions for war-affected children, focusing on education, strengthening children's rights, reducing poverty and fostering self reliance.

While the weather was gloomy with occasional showers on the 29th, it didn’t stop Titcomb from getting out there again to join Chantal Kreviazuk, Default, Ill Scarlett, Sass Jordan, Neverending White Lights, Shiloh, Down With Webster, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, USS, Arkells, Zack Werner, Brian Melo, Theo Tams, The Cliks, Hollerado, Stephen Stanley (Lowest of the Low), Jadea Kelly & Arif (Protest The Hero), Low Level Flight, JT (Staggered Crossing) Richard Underhill, Magneta Lane, Toronto Children’s Chorus, Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols, Toronto Chamber Choir, The Johnstones, Dean Lickyer, and many others.

Set up all over the downtown core in strategically busy locations — including First Canadian Place, Union Station, Four Seasons Centre, Black Bull Tavern, CTV, and 102.1 The Edge —  the artists weren’t shy about asking passersby for money. People could also go directly to the site to sponsor artists directly. Kreviazuk has raised closed to $5000 that way.

Final numbers are not yet in from the day, and fundraising efforts will continue online and word-of-mouth, but Kreviazuk hopes to raise $30,000, enough to build and run a youth centre in Darfur. “The situation in Darfur is desperate, especially for young people,” she said in a statement. “The centres are a place of normalcy amidst the horror. I know $30,000 is a lot in this economic climate but I have faith.”

Busking For Change is an initiaive that began two years ago when Kreviazuk’s husband, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, decided to busk over a 12-hour period in mid-November hoping to raise $30,000 to rebuild a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The whole thing was filmed for his video, “Yellow Brick Road,” off his solo album, The Hunters Lullaby. He manage to raise an impressive $22,000 for War Child Canada’s School Rehabilitation and Revitalization project in the Congo that year. 

War Child works in partnership with local people and organizations to build sustainable programming that empowers children and their communities. War Child Canada currently provides support to communities in Afghanistan, Darfur, Sudan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Georgia.  Working closely with the music industry, War Child provides awareness, support and action for children’s rights everywhere.