Music News Photo by Matt Barnes

Published on July 17th, 2019 | by Amber Healy


Attention, Tragically Hip fans: Secret Path Live set for October 19 at Roy Thomson Hall

In 2016, two months after the final Tragically Hip show, Gord Downie returned to the stage for a very limited run of shows, during which he presented Secret Path.

A series of 10 poems turned into song, it tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy born in Ogoki Post on the Marten Falls Reserve. In 1963, at the age of 9, Chanie was sent to the Cecelia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario. Three years later, Chanie ran away from the school, attempting to reunite with his family 600 kilometers away in Ogoki Post. Chanie’s body was found beside the railroad tracks on October 22, 1966, a week after he fled. He succumbed to starvation and exposure.

Secret Path, the music and accompanying graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, is the legacy project Gord most wanted Canadians to keep in their hearts and minds after he left us.

Now, three years later, the musicians who worked with Downie on the album and performed with him at Roy Thomson Hall are reuniting for what promises to be a powerful night honouring the legacies of both Downie and Wenjack, all in support of the organization that bears their names. On Saturday, October 19, Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers), Dave Hamelin (The Stills) and Charles Spearin (Do Make Say Think) will once again take the stage at Roy Thomson Hall to perform Secret Path.

Standing in Downie’s place will be a series of
as-yet-unannounced singers, representing both Indigenous and non-Indigenous

The concert will be a fundraiser for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund and takes place during the second annual Secret Path Week, a national movement commemorating the legacies of both Downie and Wenjack, taking place annually from October 17-22. During this time DWF calls upon all Canadians to answer Gord’s call to “Do Something” by creating a reconciliACTION and furthering the conversation about the history of residential schools.

“The idea is to recreate the 2016 performance,” said Rob Ferreira, who has been supporting DWF for several years and first organized fundraising efforts in Downie’s name during the final Hip tour in 2016.

There will also be guest dancers and other artists to round out
the evening, creating an “immersive cultural experience, celebrating Indigenous
history, commemorating the lives of Gord and Chanie,” he said. “It’s going to
be a very special night.”

Tickets for the October 19 show – two years and two days after Downie’s death and just less than three years after Downie’s final singing performance – go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. with a presale code sent to those on the DWF’s mailing list for a Wednesday morning availability.

Roy Thomson Hall has around 2,600 seats, meaning this will be an intimate performance for those who attend. Prices range from $75 CAD for balcony seating to $500 for a seat up close to the stage, but some tickets offer a special bonus: Each ticket sold for $500 will also provide a seat for an Indigenous youth or DWF Legacy School student who would otherwise not afford to attend the show.

Bringing students into the audience is a key element of what DWF was created to do, improving the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education and connection among all Canadians.

“The hope is there’s a bunch of kids there. We expose the
kids to these 10 poems and this cultural immersive experience…they come, they
experience this, then they go home with questions. That’s how these
conversations start,” Ferreira said.

Tickets at the $150, $175, $250 and $500 level are also eligible for charitable tax receipts.

“I think it’s going to bring people back to a place that was
so emotional for them a few years ago,” he said. “They’re going to relive that
experience again and have that connection to what Gord asked us to do.”

The evening is being produced in part by Patrick and Mike Downie, Gord’s brothers, lending yet another layer of magic to the event.

“To have Indigenous people singing Gord’s music? Man. Gord’s going to be watching over this with a big smile on his face,” Ferreira said. “He’s going to love this.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑

  • EntertainmentTO

    Music Tech MeetUp

    EntertainmentTO is the best way to expand your knowledge and network within Toronto’s Entertainment Tech community. Our mission is to inspire and empower those interested in shaping the future of Entertainment, including music, video, sports, and gaming.

    EntertainmentTO is led by Alan Cross, best known nationally and internationally as host of the syndicated radio series The Ongoing History of New Music, The Edge, Q107, and more.

    Join us as we bridge the gap between technology, innovation, and entertainment.

  • Twitter