TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) — Organizers for Canadian Music Week announced that Gord Downie, the late frontman of the iconic Canadian rock group The Tragically Hip, will be posthumously awarded the 2019 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award.
Downie is being recognized for his efforts on raising awareness of the plight of Canada’s indigenous poeples, and for his work with the Lake Ontario Waterkeepers among other organizations.
Representatives from the Downie family will receive the award at the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala Dinner at Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto on Thursday, May 9, 2019, as part of the annual Canadian Music Week festivities.
“Gord Downie was an inspiration to all Canadians, and his life’s work represented the embodiment of all that the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award celebrates. His legacy continues to resonate through his music and lyrics and, most importantly, through the growth and enterprise of The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund,” said Gary Slaight, CEO and President of Slaight Communications/Slaight Family Foundation.
Downie was particularly inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy who in 1966, died from hunger and exposure after trying to walk home frollowing an escape from an Indian Residential School.
Downie’s final musical work before his death in 2017 was Secret Path, a concept album based on Wenjack’s story that included a graphic novel recounting the unhappy tale. The graphic novel was later adapted into an animated film which aired on CBC Television.
The Wenjack and Downie families officially founded The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund in 2016 to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. DWF operated as a fund through the Toronto Foundation and Tides Canada until receiving charitable status in March 2018.