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'Secret Path' to return with 'recreation' concert telling Chanie Wenjack's story

Gord Downie performs on stage in Toronto, on Friday October 21, 2016. Gord Downie's "Secret Path" concert is returning to the stage as part of a live "re-creation" project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Gord Downie’s “Secret Path” concert is returning to the stage as part of a live “re-creation” project.

Three years after the late Tragically Hip frontman performed his concept album at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, some of the artists who brought the story of Chanie Wenjack to life are planning an encore of sorts at the same venue Oct. 19.

The new version incorporates the original band from Downie’s “Secret Path” shows, a cast of dancers and surprise guests who will “create a fully immersive and cultural experience that celebrates Indigenous history and commemorates the lives of Gord and Chanie.”

Downie launched his “Secret Path” project in October 2016 after revealing he had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The album recounted the story of a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while trying to escape an Ontario residential school in 1966.

It was comprised of a music album, a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire that illustrated Wenjack’s life and an animated film featuring Downie’s songs.

Following its release, Downie’s brother Mike launched the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund to encourage reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Last year, the fund introduced Secret Path week, an annual event running Oct. 17 to 22 that encourages people to learn about the history of residential schools.

Organizers say proceeds from the “Secret Path” concert will go towards the fund. Tickets are on sale through Roy Thomson Hall’s website.

Downie died Oct. 17, 2017 at the age of 53.


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The Canadian Press