It’s taken me a few days to get my thoughts together, but here we are. October 17th, 2017 was a dark day for Canada. We lost our one true poet, Gord Downie.
I’m certain the rest of the world has spent the last few days looking at us, confused. Our Prime Minister was crying, our House of Commons held a moment of silence. And for who? Why is Canada collectively mourning?
Gord Downie wasn’t just a musician, or just the frontman for the Tragically Hip. He was the face of Canadian music. When you think about Canadian bands that resonate throughout the years, you think of the Hip.
They never really made it big across the border, but in my opinion, how could they? Their lyrics were unequivocally Canadian. They shone a light on Canada’s history, social problems, legal injustices, and they shared the stories of small town Canadians.
Bobcaygeon got us to pull out our maps to find the reference. He painted a picture with his words, and I could see the stars shining over the Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, village.
Fifty Mission Cap gave us a small look into the disappearance of Bill Barilko. The last goal he scored won the Leafs the cup.
Wheat Kings didn’t shy away from the miscarriage of justice that was the David Milgaard story.
Downie and his lyrics touched all of us. They made us look at our country, and see all the good, and all the bad. But it wasn’t just his lyrics that spoke to us, it was his actions. Downie worked to raise awareness of the impact of residential schools. He feared that his cause would die with him, and if we want to honour his memory, we must continue his work.
This is why Canada mourns. The Hip, and Gord, were ours. We tried to share them with you, but you didn’t want them, and you have missed out on a electrifying band, and an amazing person.
Prime Minister Trudeau said it best: “We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it.”