Oct 25, 2017

By Jane Brown

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More than a thousand people gathered in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square last night for a special sing-a-long to pay tribute to Gord Downie.

The directors of the singing collective Choir! Choir! Choir! invited fans to the Tragically Hip’s singalong, following lead singer Gord Downie’s death last week at the age of 53.

Toronto Mayor John Tory wasn’t surprised by the turnout.

“I’m never surprised in this city when it comes to an artist they love, a sports team they love, somebody they’re mourning, somebody they’re celebrating, they show up because I think they feel good being with each other,” Mayor Tory said.

Nearly two years ago, the Canadian musician, poet and activist was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an invasive brain tumour with one of the poorest survival rates of any cancer.

Downie’s older brother, Mike Downie, made an appearance on stage near the end of the set to thank those in attendance, which was met with a rousing applause from the crowd.

“The outpouring of emotion, grief and love has been overwhelming and my family and I have felt it,” Mike Downie explained.

Mike Downie also took the opportunity to talk about the Secret Path Project, which he and his brother worked on together. He says “it’s up to all of us” to help in the reconciliation efforts for the Canada’s Indigenous people.

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