It’s been one year since the world lost musician, poet, philanthropist, and proud Canadian Gord Downie. The Tragically Hip frontman went public with his diagnosis of brain cancer in May 2016, embarking on a final farewell tour across Canada with his band before passing away from the disease on October 17, 2018. Downie left behind four children, a group of loving friends and family, and millions of fans around the world.
To celebrate the life of Downie, we’re revisiting Courage: in Memory of Gord, a tribute special honouring the long and inspiring career of Downie. The special covers Downie’s work with The Tragically Hip, his time as a solo artist, and his long history of involvement with charities across Canada.
Starting with one of the band’s first interviews at Much in 1987, the tribute features interviews with Gord and the members of the Hip over a thirty year span, including music videos and footage from live concerts.
Capturing the essence of Downie, who was one of the most accomplished artists in Canadian history, the interviews depict Downie’s endearing love for his band, his fans, and his country. Remaining humble throughout a three-decade career that included countless awards and honours, Downie’s curiosity about life and his commitment to leaving the planet better than how he found it comes through in droves. Interviews from the late 1990s include Downie talking about the band’s involvement in Camp Trillium, a camp for families of children with cancer, an altruistic nature that followed Downie until his final days, using his last tour with the Hip to help raise money and awareness for Sunnybrook Hospital where he was being treated.
Downie’s work was an ongoing oral history of Canada, with his poetic prose the topic of many debates and discussions around campfires and coffee mugs across the country. Leaving interpretation up to the listener, the new tribute includes many interviews with Downie politely sidestepping the explanation of lyrics, instead intent on using his platform to help the many social and environmental causes close to his heart, including the reunification of Canada’s aboriginal peoples.
Downie’s Tragically Hip family also paid tribute to the late singer today, sharing pictures of Gord from his final years. What’s evident throughout the new tribute video is that much of the reason for the group’s three-decades of success was their sincere love for one another and commitment to collaboration. We can’t imagine a Tragically Hip without Gord Downie, and he couldn’t imagine a Tragically Hip without Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay.
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