Canada lost one of its brightest stars on Tuesday night when Gord Downie passed away, more than a year after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in May 2016. A philanthropist, human rights activist, prolific poet and frontman for The Tragically Hip, Downie leaves behind an incredible legacy that fans across Canada and around the world won’t soon forget.
Following his diagnosis, Downie and The Tragically Hip set out on their ambitious final set of shows across Canada with the Man Machine Poem Tour. Going along for the journey were Canadian documentary filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, who shot footage of Downie, his bandmates and their millions of fans to create what now has become the documentary Long Time Running.
To honour Gord, the world TV premiere of Long Time Running will now take place on Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. ET. The special, which had its debut in September at TIFF, will also be available for CraveTV subscribers in November. In addition to the CTV broadcast, the film is available in a free live stream on CTV.ca and in the CTV GO app, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/MT.
The Man Machine Poem Tour was a celebration of not only Gord Downie, but of The Tragically Hip’s music and their indelible imprint on fans. It’s the soundtrack of our country. It’s the music traveling Canadians put on when they’re across the world and feeling homesick. It’s the albums we point to when media outlets outside of the true north claim that Canada has only been making good music for the past decade. It’s the Canadian geography, history and poetry lesson that was weaved into iconic songs.
The band’s Man Machine Poem Tour, including their final show in their hometown of Kingston, which was broadcast around the world, inspired Hip fans to share their favourite memories of the band and make new ones. Here are just a few.
When it came to The Hip, everyone was a fan, including fellow musicians The Sam Roberts band.
Even for those who attended the final shows, it felt like a dream.
One fan perfectly summed up The Hip’s final concert in Kingston, saying “Canada shut down.”
One fan shared an incredible portrait they drew of Gord and carried it with them to a screening of the band’s final concert.
Me and Mike and my hand drawn #GordDownie portrait sign, after @thetragicallyhip’s Kingston show. We watched it in Assiniboine Park and we proudly raised Gordie above the crowd throughout the night, singing along and doing our best to soak in every moment, trying to lock every note, every word, and every beloved Downie dance move forever into our memories. It was unforgettable. And now Gord’s head has become a permanent fixture in our living room. ❤️🇨🇦
The Hip have amassed a legion of devoted fans over their three decades in music, including some fans who have been around since the early days. One fan reminisced about the first time they saw the iconic Canadian band shortly after The Hip had released their first cassette.
After reading so many heartfelt news stories recently, I thought I would dig up this early show poster from 1988, when The Tragically Hip played the Fireplace Lounge at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. I bought their debut cassette at this show, my first year of university. Anyone else remember being there? Great show. #thetragicallyhip #thetragicallyhip🇨🇦 #tragicallyhip #manmachinepoemtour #gorddownie #thehip #ywg #winnipeg #universityofmanitoba #umanitoba #umsu
The band’s final tour was a goodbye for many fans, but for younger viewers, it was a chance to say hello to a world of music they’ve yet to explore.
Our first “concert” date. It may be late but when I’m old and gray the petit can remind me of that one night when he was little and we watched our first concert together (on tv), so no parenting regrets tonight. We both cried. Thanks @thetragicallyhip for so many years of great memories!! #manmachinepoemtour
One fan who attended the Ottawa concert thanked The Hip for making “the smallest of rural towns feel like someone understands them.”
It’s taken me a few days to process how epic @thetragicallyhip show was here in #Ottawa last week. To be able to witness the tremendous courage and grace these men have shown is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Playing hit after hit; all provoking nostalgia from different times in my life. Thank-you for making even the smallest of rural towns feel like someone understands them. Thank-you for giving the townies a soundtrack for all those nights shooting the shit, and sharing a case. Thank-you tweeking our imaginations, and being political enough to make us ask “why?” Thank-you for forever enriching the cultural fabric of #Canada. thank-you for giving me all the feels in one night! #theTragicallyHip #theHip #manmachinepoemtour
The Tragically Hip may be ‘Canada’s Band,’ but as this couple proves, fans from outside of Canada knew how important it was to see the band’s final tour.
Seeing The Hip perform on their Man Machine Poem Tour was a full circle moment for one fan, whose first concert was seeing the Kingston band.
Last nights live stream of the #tragicallyhip at Fully Completely in the Square. Massive turnout for the event. I think the entire country was briefly united over this shared experience- despite our day to day differences, music and art have the capacity to bring so many souls together to celebrate, cry, and heal. Sometimes all at once. . . . . . #fredericton #tragicallyhip #gorddownie #manmachinepoemtour #instagood #instadaily
Fans who attended the tour knew they were seeing history in the making.
Still reeling from the incredible show last night. @thetragicallyhip have been the soundtrack to my life and I didn’t realize it until recently. I’m just glad I was able to give my thanks in person. The essential #Canadian band. The essential Canadian in #GordDownie. 🇨🇦 Still so much love in my heart and I’m still not convinced I was there in person. I was on the verge of tears in the lead up to the show, started shedding them during 50 Mission Cap and #Courage, and then the floodgates opened during #WheatKings. Just incredible to witness history. Thank you. #manmachinepoemtour #thehip #thetragicallyhip #Kingston #krockcentre #gordstrong #kingston #flag #canadianflag #canadianmusic #hipinkingston #cbc
One couple whose first concert together was the Hip celebrated their five year anniversary with the band.
One year ago tonight we went to the last Tragically Hip show we will ever see. It was bittersweet, so emotional, and such an amazing experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The Tragically Hip were mine and Dave’s first concert and for our five year anniversary a year ago to this day we saw them for the last time. There was tears, hugs, laughs, singing, and such good memories. We were all friends that night. True Canadians. The memories are still so fresh in my mind and I miss my favourite band so so much. ❤️ #tth #thehip #thetragicallyhip #august3 #lastshow #memories #missthemsomuch #canadianpride #courageforgord #calgary #manmachinepoemtour #row11 #somuchlove #gracetoo #yyc #august32016
Another Tragically Hip superfan attended seven of the final tour dates and ditched their camera to focus on the music.
🎶2016 in review🎶The year of learning, growth, change, travel, heartbreak, music and new beginnings. 💔This brings us to the heartbreak 💔 If you know me at all, you know this band means the world to me. I got to see 7 shows on the #manmachinepoemtour All my pics are bad. I have 1000’s over the years, it was time to concentrate on the music. I am so grateful to Gordie, Gord, Paul, Johnny, Rob and Billy Ray for everything they have given me over the years. My life would not be the same without @thetragicallyhip in it! This concert was on a whole other level. A metaphysical experience that will never be duplicated ❤️#musicislife #courageforgord #gorddownie #travelformusic #travel #music #livemusic #kingston #kingstonontario #yyz #thetragicallyhip #thehip #thc #myhero #inspiration #endofanera #courage #loveofmylife #grateful #emotional #musiclover #concert #concertjunkie #ilovemusic #canada #bestconcertever #musicmakesmehappy #happiness #concertphotography
It’s been over a year since The Hip’s final Kingston show and many fans paid tribute to the special anniversary.
One year ago today, we were camping at Elora Conservation Area with a solid crew of Dads and our 16 kids under 12 (I think?). All huddled by the fire, live streaming the Man Machine Poem show on an iPad and a Bose dock. We made a make shift shelf for it all and watched. The setting made the show that much more special for us. A canopy of old cedars, clear late August sky and the crackling of the camp fire. One of the most memorable moments in our lives. @thetragicallyhip #manmachinepoemtour #thetragicallyhip
Gord may have left this earth, but he’ll still be bringing people together, as family, for a long time to come.
Catch it again later this fall on CraveTV.