These are people that believe so strongly in the potential of their city and are doing all they can for the world to understand one thing: "You don't need to leave Hamilton to enjoy the fruits of a growing exciting world. And if you don't live here, please do come and be part of our family to create wonder with us."
Before Gord, Mike Downie and Pearl (Chanie Wenjack's sister) got on stage at WE Day, I knew about the conditions of the indigenous communities, but like most Canadians, we weren't taught what a residential school was and why both the truth and reconciliation is so important to not only the indigenous community.
I've had the honour and privilege of treating Mr. Downie over the past few months, and working with his health-care team during this summer's tour. When the band stepped on stage in Victoria, B.C. for the tour's first stop, like many others in the audience, I cried. I've been asked a lot this summer if I'm a Hip fan, and I am. I treat 250 new patients year, and I'm a fan of all of them -- for the strength they show and for the determination they have to make the cancer journey better for those who face it after them.
The CBC's decision to air the Tragically Hip's farewell concert Saturday was a stroke of public broadcasting genius. Better than almost any event one could imagine, it demonstrated the power of a national public broadcaster to bring a nation together to celebrate its shared values, to honour its prodigies, to connect.
The whole country came together. Not since Terry Fox have we seen such a strong example of how a Canadian could summon so much national camaraderie among the people.... All we had to do was sing along to songs we knew by heart, allow ourselves to feel the moment, let our tears express how we felt, let our fellow Canadians know we were all in this together, and then, as a nation, say goodbye to Gord Downie. The best part is we will never really say goodbye to The Tragically Hip. As long as we have kids, camping trips, road trips, backyard barbecues, headphones and private moments, we will never have to say goodbye.
The Tragically Hip has heavily influenced Canadians ever since the band first broke the scene 30 years ago, and The Hip's music continues to influence Canadians of all ages to this day. Canadian music has become synonymous with The Tragically Hip. In addition to their music being adored across the country, each of their 14 studio albums is laced with lyrics that pay homage to Canada.
While more fashionable bands have faded into musical footnotes, the Hip has enjoyed a 32-year career and domestic deification. But now the part of their name that has the most resonance as the Hip rocks its way across the nation one final time is "tragically." Not that you could tell from the surface euphoria onstage and in the stands as Gord Downie's incurable brain cancer took a backseat for a couple hours of communal rock catharsis during the band's 25-song concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.