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De Bakker to wear Celebrity Roast bullseye

Thunder Bay lawyer says April 6 event is all in good fun, and more importantly, helps support Easter Seals Ontario
Dave Thomas, Easter Seals ambassador Emilie Pike and Johnny De Bakker, the focus of this year's Celebrity Roast, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, announce the details of this year's event, scheduled for April 6 at the Victoria Inn. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – Lawyers have long been an easy target for comedians.

Johnny De Bakker is about to put the bullseye on his back.

The Thunder Bay lawyer, after a relentless pursuit, has agreed to be roasted by those who know him best, the centre of attention on April 6 at the annual Celebrity Roast in support of Easter Seals Canada.

De Bakker said it’s all in good fun and for a great cause.

“It’s all for the kids,” De Bakker said.

“If it wasn’t for the Easter Seals kids and the good they do for the community, I have no interest in subjecting myself to this kind of thing. But it is for a good cause and the goal is to raise a lot of money for the kids at Easter Seals.”

At the end of the day, the goal is to make it a fun day, said De Bakker, who has been on the other side of the roasting circle, caterer Dave Thomas and Realtor Vince Mirabelli, Per Lundstrom and Peter Provenzano. Lawyer Jordan Lester is the emcee.

“It’s $125 for a ticket and people have an expectation that they’re going to get a bit of a show out of it. It’s going to look professional, it’s going to look good, and I have no doubt that the guys who are roasting me are going to be relentless,” De Bakker said.

“I have no doubt there’s going to be a lot of stuff from a long time ago that are going to come up. They might not be the easiest thing to hear or take, but like I said, it’s all for the kids.”

Proceeds from the event will be used to help children with physical disabilities acquire the tools they need to reach their full potential, including money for mobility and accessibility equipment, summer camp opportunities and special education resources for parents.

Thomas said he’s got plenty of material in the works.

“I’m excited, not only to roast Johnny, but to help Easter Seals as well. I’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to trying to make people laugh and making Johnny upset. It should be a good night,” said Thomas, a long-time friend of De Bakker’s.

Over the past 18 years, the Celebrity Roast has raised more than $640,000 for Easter Seals, with honorees including Tom Jones, Cliff Friesen, Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Jack Mallon and Dougall Media’s own, Kathy Harris.

The April 6 event takes place at the Victoria Inn, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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