CORNWALL, Ontario – Rob Butler, a teacher at Holy Trinity Catholic High School was shocked when he learned of students at his school who were not familiar with the Tragically Hip and their frontman Gord Downie and wanted to organize a small concert for this outstanding Canadian.
During the lunch hour at Holy Trinity on Friday, Oct. 20,several members of faculty and one student got out their guitars, and make shift drums and played some Tragically Hip hits in the school’s atrium.
“It is a shame that some younger Canadians don’t know him,” Butler said. “I thought that this would be a good way to honour this great Canadian.”
Gord Downie passed away on Oct. 17, 2017 after a long battle with brain cancer, he was 53.
Prior to his passing, Downie and the rest of the Tragically Hip had a farewell tour across Canada, including a final show in Kingston, ON that was aired live on the CBC and was viewed by more than 11 million Canadians.
Downie was known for his music, poetry and activism. He advocated for issues such as First Nations rights and reconcilliation.
To commemorate Downie’s civil minded spirit, the school had a dress down day, where students donated money to dress in more casual wear for a day. All the money raised went to buy more books and supplies for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario’s (CDSBEO) Indigenous Studies Program.
Holy Trinity grade 11 student Ben Smith was happy to play guitar during this impromptu tribute concert to Downie.
“They were my favourite band growing up,” he said. “My dad used to play them all the time.”
Smith says that his favourite Tragically Hip song is “38 Years Old”.
Other members of faculty who took part in the concert were Kevin McCue, Grant Winchester and Jay Malyon.