Mike Downie says Secret Path Live was ‘powerful’ and he’d ‘love to do it again’

TORONTO — A brother of the late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie says a weekend benefit concert performance of his “Secret Path” album was a “powerful” show and he isn’t ruling out making it an annual event, possibly in different cities.

On Saturday musical acts including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sam Roberts, Serena Ryder, Tanya Tagaq, and Whitehorse performed a sold-out concert at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall to benefit the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.

The Secret Path Live show was a recreation of the original October 2016 concert, which Downie performed after revealing he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He died on Oct. 17, 2017.

“It was so powerful, so … I would love to do it again, but maybe we’ll have to try it in a different city next year or something,” Mike Downie, who is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the Downie Wenjack Fund, said Sunday in a phone interview from Toronto.

“It would be great. The Downie Wenjack Fund is a national charitable organization, so it probably would be a good idea to not just keep popping up in Toronto.”

But Downie said there is no concrete plan in place to make it an annual event, noting it was a lot of work to put together.

The show marked the first time members of the “Secret Path” band — who include Kevin Drew and Kevin Hearn — had performed the album together since the 2016 show with Downie.

“I heard from a few people that they felt the presence of Gord while they were going back to these songs that they hadn’t performed since the last time, which would have been with Gord,” said Downie.

“Leading up to it it really felt like, ‘Wow, this would be pretty hard to do every year.’ Then when the show starts, it’s a really powerful experience for everybody in the audience, and halfway through the show you’re thinking ‘Oh, we have to do this again.”’

The multi-platform “Secret Path” project tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while trying to escape an Ontario residential school in 1966. The initiative aims to raise awareness about Canada’s history of residential schools through music, dance and art.

Saturday’s show also saw comedy star Bruce McCulloch of “The Kids in the Hall” read a letter he had written based on correspondence he’d had with Downie, with whom he was friends.

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, performed a drum song with some of his friends.

Wenjack’s sister, Pearl, sang a prayer song while other members of the family sat in the audience.

The event capped Secret Path Week, an annual initiative involving various tribute shows and activations with the Downie Wenjack Legacy Schools Programs, which aims to support educators with lesson plans about Indigenous culture. That program started a year ago as a pilot project in 200 schools and has expanded to over 1,300 schools, said Downie.

Downie didn’t have figures on how much money was raised on Saturday but felt it was a success in achieving their goals of raising awareness about reconciliation.

“We are trying to get more and more Canadians interested, involved, committed to reconciliation, everyone in their own way,” Downie said.

“When you have a roomful of people like that, I hope it inspires Canadians from coast to coast who hear about it, who see the video that will be out there, that there’s a place for everyone in this movement and it’s going to take literally millions of us to really make a significant impact on reconciliation.”

Just Posted

Pros and cons of western separation to be discussed in Red Deer

To stay or not to stay. That is a question that may… Continue reading

Red Deer area’s Canyon Ski Resort to open Saturday

The Canyon Ski Resort near Red Deer will open this Saturday. The… Continue reading

Hwy 2 backed up after morning collisions near Red Deer

Two collisions less than a kilometre apart on Hwy 2 south of Red Deer

Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair coming to Red Deer College’s Cenovus Learning Commons

Central Albertans can connect with employers on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Police looking for 13-year-old girl last seen in Ponoka

Police are looking for public assistance to locate a 13-year-old girl. Alexandra… Continue reading

Election handed federal leaders a lesson in humility

Three weeks after the votes were counted, the point of the 2019… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Reflections on writing about the lives of Beckett, Beauvoir

“Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir,” Nan… Continue reading

Ensign Energy Services slashes dividend in half, reports $37.8M Q3 loss

CALGARY — Ensign Energy Services Inc. cut its dividend in half due… Continue reading

Top teams in good shape as Euro qualifying reaches climax

With the Netherlands missing out on Euro 2016 and Italy absent from… Continue reading

Ricky Gervais returning to host the 2020 Golden Globe Awards

LOS ANGELES — Look out Hollywood, Ricky Gervais is returning to host… Continue reading

Most Read