#CBC: “Thousands gather at Nathan Phillips Square to honour Gord Downie with Hip singalong – Toronto”

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A week after Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie died at age 53, Toronto-based singalong collective Choir! Choir! Choir! hosted a tribute to the Canadian icon at Nathan Phillips Square.

More than a thousand people braved the brisk, windy weather to sing about a dozen songs from the Hip, including Wheat Kings, Bobcaygeon and Courage.

Nathan Phillips Square tribute to Gord Downie0:41

Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, the directors of Choir! Choir! Choir!, said organizing the evening felt like the right thing to do.

“If we can provide a space where people can come together and share the music and feel connected in a difficult time, then we’ll do it,” Adilman said.

Choir! Choir! Choir!

Daveed Goldman (left) and Nobu Adilman are the directors of Choir! Choir! Choir! (John Sandeman/CBC)

Nearly two years ago, Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an invasive brain tumour with one of the poorest survival rates of any cancer.

Downie’s brother Mike gave an emotional speech to the fans in the square.

“The outpouring of emotion, grief and love has been overwhelming,” said Downie.

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Mike Downie is the brother of the late Gord Downie. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

“My family and I have felt it, and it’s made things easier and it’s made things harder. Made it easier because you showed how much you loved our brother, and harder because we realized how many people were hurting and how many people were affected by this.”

He also took the opportunity to talk about The Secret Path project, on which he collaborated with his brother. Choir! Choir! Choir! had asked that those in attendance to make a minimum donation of $5 to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

Gord Downie Tribute

People arrived clad in stylish suit jackets and hats similar to the ones Downie wore on the Hip’s ‘Man Machine Poem’ tour in 2016. (John Sandeman/CBC)

Toronto actors Pat Thornton and Grant Cumming took the stage to sing Poets. Thornton read a Facebook post he wrote the day after Downie’s death, saying the singer was his “person.”

Grant Cumming and Pat Thornton

Toronto actors Grant Cumming (left) and Pat Thornton took the stage to sing ‘Poets.’ (John Sandeman/CBC)

Thornton told the crowd he always felt like he was a weirdo who couldn’t fit in, and that Downie — with his “trembling voice, this soul on fire, a dancing being of pure light” — was the “king of Canadian weirdos.”

Choir! Choir! Choir! capped off the show with some audience members onstage to sing Ahead by a Century.

Gord Downie Tribute

The Toronto sign lights up Nathan Phillips Square during a tribute for Gord Downie. (John Sandeman/CBC)

Note: “Previously Published on: 25 October 2017 | 7:37 pm, as ‘Thousands gather at Nathan Phillips Square to honour Gord Downie with Hip singalong – Toronto’ on CBC RADIO-CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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