Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie performed at the We Day youth empowerment event at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre on Wednesday, a day after his sold out Secret Path concert.
Organizers announced the surprise performance in a news release Wednesday morning and Downie was quoted saying he looked forward to the opportunity to connect with young people “passionately working towards a better tomorrow.”
Downie, the release said, was expected to perform for about 8,000 youth and educators, though some cancellations of participants occurred due to a storm that made its way across the Maritimes Tuesday night.
It’s not the first time Downie has performed at We Day this year. Much like Wednesday, he gave a multimedia performance from Secret Path in Toronto last month for thousands of students at the Air Canada Centre.
His Halifax performance started with a video about Downie’s visit to Ogoki Post, Ont. to share the Secret Path project and meet Chanie Wenjack’s family. Wenjack was a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure 50 years ago when trying to return to his family from a residential school in Kenora, Ont.
The project was inspired by Wenjack. Proceeds from Tuesday’s concert are being donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.
Following the video, Downie took the stage and performed “The Stranger” from his new album before bringing up Wenjack’s sisters – Pearl and Daisy – who led the audience in a “prayer for all people.”
Described as a series of “life-changing” events and a “true celebration of youth taking action,” We Day brought speakers and performers including Margaret Trudeau and rapper Classified to the Scotiabank Centre.
—With files from The Canadian Press
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