Shad, Arcade Fire, Neil Young, and Johnny Reid were just some of the winners named this evening as the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honoured the first 32 winners for this year’s Juno Awards.

The Juno Gala Dinner & Awards were held at the Allstream Centre in Toronto where hosts Jian Ghomeshi and Seamus O’Regan kept a room full of music pros amused through speeches, performances, and of course, the all-important awards.

The big surprise of the night was Shad’s win for Rap Recording, who won over tomorrow’s Juno Telecast host, Drake, and commented on stage, “Wow. I’m very surprised. This is like the Emmy going to Theo’s friend Cockroach or something,” referring to the two characters from the Cosby Show. There were also some notable complaints about the fact that Matthew Good won for Rock Album over the likes of the Cancer Bats, Die Mannequin, Finger Eleven, and Hail the Villain.

Otherwise, in the most talked-about categories, Neil Young won for Adult Alternative Album, Arcade Fire took Alternative Album, Johnny Reid won the Country Album award, deadmau5 earned themselves the Juno for Dance Recording, Said The Whale won the New Group award, and Caribou won for Electronic Album.

There were at least two other more memorable moments during the night. The first moment came when EMI Music Canada President Deane Cameron was honoured with the 2011 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award as he spoke at length about the people who made his career successful while giving heartfelt thanks to many of the people he has worked with over the years. Later in the evening, Daniel Lanois won for Producer of the Year and cajoled Neil Young into coming back up on stage and chatting about their work together since Lanois felt Young had been a bit quiet the last time he was on stage.

Young said of Lanois, “I was blessed to work with Dan and we’re going to do something in the future. The future’s a very big place for us.”

Performers during the evening included Justin Nozuka, Basia Bulat, The Sojourners, and Karkwa.

Tomorrow night the final eight Juno Awards will be handed out during the live telecast from the Air Canada Centre. A tribute to the Junos 40-year history is expected, in addition to performances by Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Chromeo, Down With Webster, Hedley, Johnny Reid, Sarah McLachlan, Tokyo Police Club. Numerous artists have also been confirmed for the anniversary tribute, including City and Colour, Derek Miller, Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy, Justin Rutledge, Kevin Hearn, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, Serena Ryder and The Sadies.

You can watch the Junos on CTV tomorrow, Sunday, March 27 starting at 8:00pm (EST).

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W. Andrew Powell
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W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls. In his "spare time," Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.

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