Following the announcement of Gord's prognosis, he and his band The Tragically Hip announced a farewell tour** that started in Victoria, B.C. on July 22nd and ending off in the band's hometown of Kingston, ON on August 20th in 2016. For many fans, this was a way to celebrate the music of the band with Gord, and to say good-bye.
Back a few years ago this very influential Canadian learned of a young Indigenous boy named Charlie (Chanie) Wenjack*** who died Oct. 22, 1966 while trying to walk home from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School, a distance of 400 miles. It is through learning of this young boys death that Gord Downie dedicated his efforts to making amends, and creating futher awareness of the hardships and plights of the Indigenous people of Canada while still being treated for the tumor. We all came to know the poems written about Chanie via the release of Secret Paths album recorded at the Bathouse in Bath, Ontario in November and December 2013. In 2014, the music came to life through Jeff Lemire's illustrations in the Secret Paths book which was released in October 2016. With Jeff's illustrations, and Gord's music, the animated film of the same title was created, and was aired on CBC on October 23, 2016. This collaberation became Gord's legacy, and he asked all of us to continue the path of reconciliation with the Indigenous community. He strongly urged all of us to do what we can to help, to do something.
Today we are sharing sorrow, and loss at the news of Gord Downie's passing on October 17, 2017. We send heartfelt condolences to the Downie family, friends, and to anyone who loved his art. I personally want to thank Gord Downie for giving my family, and Canada, a soundtrack we can call our own.