While we said goodbye to Gord Downie in 2017, the message he continued to spread until the end of his life through his music and activism left a lasting effect on Canadians. In a survey of broadcasters and editors in newsrooms across the country, Downie captured 53 per cent of votes to be named Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year by the Canadian Press for the second consecutive year.
Downie was appointed to the Order of Canada for his work on Indigenous issues in June of 2017. Even in failing health, the singer and social activist used his celebrity to stand up for the causes he felt were important to this country. Downie was lauded for his efforts to bring attention to Canada’s shameful history of residential schools and to reconciliation causes.
— The Canadian Press (@CdnPress) December 19, 2017
Downie also released another solo record in September of 2017, a 23-song double LP titled Introduce Yerself. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, Indie88 asked listeners to vote for the greatest Canadian song of all-time. The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon” from their 1998 record Phantom Power was voted No. 1 in June of 2017.
On October 18 of this year, The Tragically Hip confirmed that Downie had passed away at the age of 53 following a battle with brain cancer. Downie now joins a small group of Canadians to be named the CP’s Newsmaker of the Year more than once. Former prime ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and activists Terry Fox and Rick Hansen are the other Canadians to receive the honour on more than one occasion.