(October 18, 2017 – Toronto, ON) Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has died, according to a Twitter announcement from the band, which released the news early this morning. Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 53.
(October 16, 2017 – Toronto, ON) To commemorate the 51st anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death, the CBC has announced a special commercial-free broadcast of Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert, this Sunday, October 22.
Filmed at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall on October 21, 2016 with more than 30 members of the Wenjack family in attendance, this broadcast premiere captures Downie’s remarkable and emotional Secret Path live performance with musicians Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers) Dave Hamelin (The Stills) and Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene), interwoven with intimate backstage moments and footage from The Secret Path animated film that premiered on CBC last October.
A multimedia project conceived by Gord and Mike Downie spanning a Juno award-winning album and graphic novel by Jeff Lemire in addition to the animated film, Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history – the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system – with the hope of starting a national conversation and furthering reconciliation.
Secret Path began as 10 poems written Downie who was inspired by the story of Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died of exposure on October 22, 1966 while running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. He was trying to walk back to the family he was taken from over 600 km away. In October 2016, Downie took the Secret Path on tour to sold-out audiences in Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. Proceeds from the Secret Path project are being donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.
CBC has also launched an online collection of inspiring and thought-provoking short documentaries, which highlight Canadians who have been inspired by Secret Path to undertake their own unique acts of reconciliation. From an elementary school class that wrote heartfelt letters to the Wenjack sisters and a high school theatre production inspired by the project, to a group of inmates who discovered how deeply they relate to Chanie’s story, this collection of digital shorts document the ongoing journey of reconciliation inspired by Wenjack and thousands of other victims and survivors of residential schools.
Produced by Antica Productions Ltd. in association Edgarland Films and CBC, Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert is executive produced by Mike Downie, Gord Downie, Patrick Downie, Patrick Sambrook, Craig Baines and Stuart Coxe.
Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert will be broadcast Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC. It will also be available online at the CBC’s Secret Path website.