"I'M going home to Manitoba/the skies get wide, the rivers breathe," Winnipeg folk-roots singer-songwriter Del Barber crooned before a crowd of dignitaries and media in the atrium of the MTS Centre Thursday.
Barber, considered one of Canada's most promising young troubadours, is an example of why Winnipeg is known on the musical map as "a city of great beginnings," said iconic children's entertainer and MC Fred Penner.
Seated in the front row, next to Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, was Melanie Berry, president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
"I can't wait to show you a good time in 2014, Melanie," Penner joked. "I mean, Winnipeg can't wait."
It's official, folks: After a nine-year absence, the country's premier music awards -- the Juno Awards -- are coming back to Manitoba.
Winnipeg will play host to the 43rd annual Juno Awards and Juno Week celebrations, March 24-30, 2014, Berry announced at the press conference. The awards will broadcast on CTV from the MTS Centre on March 30.
Berry presented the mayor and the premier with one of the coveted statuettes, entrusting them with its safekeeping for the next 18 months.
Winnipeg beat out Victoria to get its second hosting gig.
The Junos were last here in 2005, just months after the MTS Centre opened its doors.
More than 5,000 event-related visitors are expected in Winnipeg during the 2014 Juno week, resulting in an estimated $10 million boost to the local economy.
"We all know the economic impact, but it goes beyond that," Katz told the news conference. "We're showcasing to the world what Winnipeg is capable of and why we love it so much."