‘The poet is at rest’: Ottawa mourns loss of Gord Downie



With news of Gord Downie’s death on Tuesday, Ottawa’s music and arts community is in mourning alongside the Tragically Hip frontman’s legions of fans. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Tariq Anwar, singer-songwriter 

“Gord was a poet who could dance. A dancer who could sing. A singer who would act. An activist who cried out. A man who would not be ignored. The pulse of a nation. An artist’s artist. He came from the stars. And now he returns to them. The poet is at rest. But he will never sleep.”

Malcolm Burn, Cornwall-born Grammy award-winning producer and musician 

“I had the pleasure of sitting in on a song or two with [the Tragically Hip] when they were recording their second album at Daniel Lanois’s Kingsway studio in New Orleans. Gord casually just mentioned to me if I’d like to jam along…. The whole band were very easy going and seemed totally focused and intent on everything they did as a group, which I truly admired. This, I believe, allowed Gord to flourish as a lyricist and evolve into more than just a rock singer, into a full-grown poet. He’ll be missed and there’s a big empty hole now for someone he might have inspired to fill.”

Karen McHarg, CHUO 89.1 FM

“I loved the Hip. I would go see them whenever I could. The year they played the secret show at Barrymore’s I was one of the people in that line at 6 a.m.”

Rolf Klausener, The Acorn

“They really epitomized Canadian rock radio but existed in this completely different artistic plane.”

Heather Gibson, NAC Presents

“He very much believed what he was doing. He changed the conversation when it came to reconciliation.”

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