One Year On: Canadians Remember Gord Downie A Year After His Passing
Photo: Marcus Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images.
With Oct. 17 marking the one year anniversary of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie’s passing from brain cancer, Canadians can’t help but reflect on the artist, singer, songwriter and poet who unified this nation through music. And from coast to coast to coast, a variety of tributes honour the man, his music and the courage he exemplified in his final years.
The Tragically Hip began the day with a tweet that read, “We’re missing Gord today and all days, we love you brother. Sincerely, The Hip.”
Meanwhile, Tragically Hip tribute bands — with names like Artificially Hip, Fabulously Hip, the Fabulously Rich, Practically Hip, Way 2 Hip and the 100th Meridian — will take to stages across the country for concerts in memory of the late singer as Burlington’s Performing Arts Centre hosts an evening of music dedicated to Downie’s work in bringing awareness to issues related to Canada’s Indigenous communities. And the Dartmouth, N.S. based New Scotland Brewing Co. is celebrating the Hip by playing the band’s final concert on a big screen at their brewery.
Downie’s doctor, James R. Perry, MD, penned a moving tribute in the Globe and Mail, revealing what it was like to go on the road with him during the Hip’s final tour in 2016, concluding that, “Gord was astoundingly courageous to allow his cancer story to be shared. He generated awareness and raised millions of dollars for research. Just as importantly, he gave other patients a new type of hope by casting away the indignity of the disease and focusing upon what you can do, not upon what you cannot.”
At the same time, an article in Forbes highlighting Downie’s sense of purpose offers a lesson for us all, noting that, “Downie did not wait for things to happen; he pushed himself to learn, to develop, to create. He did not wait to die; instead, he willed himself to live each day to its fullest even in his darkest hour. It is a story of purpose. It is a reminder to me and hopefully you not to take things for granted, but to always remember it is up to each of us to define, develop and decide our purpose.”