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The most Canadian band of all time? We think there’ll be little competition for the title. The Tragically Hip were singing about the Canadian experience since the early ’80s. And before that, was there really even a Canada to sing about? OK, yes there was, but we think it got just a little bit more Canadian after the Kingston, Ontario friends came together to make music.

The news of Gord Downie’s death was a blow to music fans in Canada and around the world. And while it’s hard to imagine a world without Gord, we know we’ll always share the music that makes The Hip Canada’s band.

Listen with us:

19. THE DIRE WOLF

At the Dire Wolf’s Crest, the Newfoundland paused
Desolate’s best was gotten across
We were never more here, expanse getting broader
When better boats been done by this water

Canadiana: Dire Wolf’s Crest, at Newfoundland’s The Isles Aux Morts. 

18. 38 YEARS OLD

Twelve men broke loose in seventy three
From Millhaven Maximum Security
Twelve pictures lined up across the front page
Seems the Mounties had a summertime war to wage

Canadiana: Millhaven Maximum Security, located in Bath, Ont. 

17. THE DARKEST ONE

Come in, come in, come in, come in
From thin and wicked prairie winds come in
It’s warm and it’s safe here and almost heartening
Here in a time and place not lost on our imagination

Canadiana: Dare we say more than the wicked prairie winds?

16. THE BEAR

I think it was Algonquin park
It was so cold and winter dark
A promised hibernation high
Took me across the great black plate of ice

Canadiana: Bears + Algonquin Park + plate of ice. 

15. BORN IN THE WATER

Smart as trees in Sault Saint Marie
I can speak my mother tongue
Passing laws, just because
And singing songs Of the English unsung

Canadiana: First we’ve heard of someone rhyming with Sault Saint Marie. 

14. ALL CANADIAN SURF CLUB

Well, there’s a rocking little spot next to the Regent Theatre
And if you want to make the scene you’ll make it sooner or later
You’re really hanging with the crowd, you know the ins and the outs here
All Canadian Surf Club, denim jackets and long hair

Canadiana: Surf Club aside, Toronto’s Regent Theatre gets a revamp here. 

13. ULTRA MUNDANE (In Violet Light Bonus Track)

On your everyday nights
Into northern lights
Pour it all at their service

Canadiana: Guys… northern lights await us. 

12. A BEAUTIFUL THING

In the ulcerating silence perspective comes
The way it always does for it’s ransom
So randomly somebody calls
The phone rings and it brings Niagara Falls

Canadiana: For once someone is talking about the Canadian — not American — side of the falls.

11. HUSH (Bonus track from We Are the Same)

Hush, hush, people hush
I’m missing too much
Want to see how he talked, how he skated
Rush, rush, after rush
I’m missing too much
Want to see how walked, how he played it

Canadiana: We totally hate it when people talk during hockey games, too.

10. PROBLEM BEAR

Writing a song about Lake Memphremagog
And tonight I don’t believe
There are words to spare and be a tip and a nod
Admitting it’s half the defeat

Canadiana: The freshwater lake is mostly in Quebec, so why does Vermont take all the credit?

9. FLY

There’s Mistaken Point, Newfoundland
There’s Moonbeam Ontari-ari-o
There are places I’ve never been
And always wanted to go
That’s right

Canadiana: Canadians love to travel, so why don’t we travel our own country more?

8. BOBCAYGEON

‘Cause it was in Bobcaygeon, where I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time

Canadiana: The song that put Bobcaygeon on the map. 

7. THE LONELY END OF THE RINK

I hear your voice cross a frozen lake
A voice from the end of a leaf
Saying, “You won’t die of a thousand fakes
Or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes”

Canadiana: Few other artists would get away with using the word deke in a love song. 

6. SKELETON PARK (We Are the Same bonus track)

In Skeleton Park
One fine summer evening
The sun teased the dark
Like the last strawberry
I could hear them on the breeze
Hear them moving through the trees
The ghosts of the Rideau Canal start to sing
And patting the grass you said
“Come sit next to me, be my sweetheart”
Over in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park

Canadiana: Most may now recognize the supposedly haunted Kingston, Ont. park (and former burial ground) under its new name, McBurney Park. 

5. FIFTY-MISSION CAP

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored
Won the Leafs the cup
They didn’t win another till nineteen sixty two
The year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card
I keeped tucked up under

Canadiana: These lyrics are the only way most Leafs fans remember the last time they won a cup. 

4. FIREWORKS

If there’s a goal that everyone remembers
It was back in old seventy two
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember is sitting beside youYou said you didn’t give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

Canadiana: Again, hockey + love song = only The Hip.

3. AT THE HUNDREDTH MERIDIAN

Me debunk an american myth?
And take my life in my hands?
Where the great plains begin
At the hundredth meridian
At the hundredth meridian
Where the great plains begin

Canadiana: The 100th meridian west, aka the line of longitude that separates Western Canada from Central and Atlantic regions of Canada. Naturally, this is one of The Hip’s biggest hits. 

2. WHEAT KINGS

Late breaking story on the CBC
A nation whispers, “We always knew that he’d go free”
They add, “You can’t be fond of living in the past
‘Cause if you are then there’s no way that you’re going to last”

Canadian: What’s more Canadian than the CBC?

1. LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HAPPEN

Jacques Cartier, right this way
I’ll put your coat up on the bed
Hey, man, you’ve got the real bum’s eye for clothes
And come on in, sit right down
No, you’re not the first to show
We’ve all been here since, God, who knows?

Canadiana: This song traces Jacques Cartier and his journey to claim Canada for the French back in the day. That’s pretty darn Canadian.