Where to celebrate the life and music of Gord Downie in Vancouver

Gord Downie. David Bastedo photo.

Even non-Canadians probably noticed a pall over the country these past couple of days.

On Oct. 17, we lost one of our greatest poets and chroniclers. Gord Downie, frontman for Kingston band the Tragically Hip, was 53 when he passed away from brain cancer.

Fans of the singer and the group he helped form over three decades ago were, and still are, bereft. There have been gatherings and impromptu musical tributes to Downie, in his hometown of Kingston and across the nation. Fans are still coming to terms with their grief. No doubt we can expect many tributes to Downie and his music in the weeks and months to come.

In the meantime, there are a couple of events in Vancouver that will allow people to grieve together, to share stories, memories and music. One is a screening of the new documentary about the Tragically’s Hip’s final tour; another is a chance to sing one of the band’s greatest songs with others.

CTV is screening Long Time Running, the new doc about last year’s final Tragically Hip tour, this evening (Oct. 20). But those looking for a more communal experience, not to mention the chance to see it on a big screen, can do so at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway) Oct. 21 at 4:15 p.m. The theatre is urging interested parties to buy advance tickets online, as they are expecting the show to sell out.

Gord Downie receiving the Order of Canada.

The Impromptu Rock Choir is gathering twice next week to pay tribute. On Tues., Oct 24, the choir—open to everyone—gathers at The Wise Hall & Lounge in East Vancouver to sing the Tragically Hip song “Ahead By a Century”. On Wed. Oct 25, the choir moves to St. James Community Square in Kitsilano. Organizers suggest arriving at “7.15-ish” (p.m.), with singing to begin at 7:30. “No singing experience is needed, and no need to read music either!” we are assured.

Got a Gord Downie/Tragically Hip open-to-the-public event in Vancouver to share? Please let us know in comments.

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