(October 13, 2016 – Toronto, ON) Kicking off a new round of activism and building on the recent highly successful farewell tour of The Tragically Hip, Gord Downie sat down with CBC News Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge – who has known Downie for 25 years – to talk about life, The Tragically Hip, music and his latest project, Secret Path. For the first time, Downie will talk about his health and his dedication to Indigenous issues in a powerful and emotional interview to be broadcast tonight on The National at 9 p.m. on CBC News Network and at 10 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC. But that’s just the beginning.
While Downie might be the focus, the topic is actually centred on Downie’s Secret Path project, which acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history – the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system. The hope is this that Secret Path will start Canada on a road to reconciliation. Downie began Secret Path as 10 poems inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died 50 years ago on October 22, 1966 in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away.
The poems were reworked into 10 songs on the Secret Path album. The music was then brought to graphic novelist Jeff Lemire for his help illustrating Chanie Wenjack’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life. The 10-song album will be released by Arts & Crafts accompanied by Lemire’s 88-page graphic novel published by Simon & Schuster Canada on Tuesday, October 18, in a deluxe vinyl and book edition, and as a book with album download. Both can be pre-ordered online. But it doesn’t stop there.
Adapted from the album and graphic novel, The Secret Path is also an animated film to be broadcast by CBC in an hour-long, commercial-free television special on Sunday October 23 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) and streamed online worldwide at 9 p.m. ET. Divided into 10 chapters, the film chronicles the heartbreaking story of Chanie’s residential school experience and his subsequent death from hunger and exposure as he attempted to return home. The television special will include documentary footage of Downie tracing Chanie’s steps with the Wenjack family in Ogoki Post, Ontario.
In support of the Secret Path project, Downie will play two special concerts. One at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday, October 18 and another in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday, October 21.
All proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.
And don’t miss Downie’s interview with Peter Mansbridge on The National at 9 p.m. on CBC News Network and at 10 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC.