It’s one last chance to hear one of Canada’s most iconic bands. Saturday August 20th marks the very last time the Tragically Hip will perform as lead singer, Gord Downie will take the stage one last time in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
Back here in Prince George, the love of the ‘Hip’ is stronger than every. Fans of the band gathered at Canada Games Plaza for a fundraising barbeque with all proceeds going to brain cancer research at the Canadian Cancer Society. Many people showed up in honour of Downie who was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer earlier this year.
Matt Hutcheon was born and raised in Kingston, but moved to PG just a couple of years ago. When he heard of Downie’s diagnosis, he knew he needed to do something to help. “Once we found out about Gord’s diagnosis, it was incredibly emotional for me, like it was for so many other people,” he said “Fortunately we found a great way to help out and be involved.”
Hutcheon began to organize the barbeque after he saw a Facebook post from his friend Mick Harper who also wanted to give back. “I’ve been a fan of the Hip for 25 years,” Harper said. ” I love this band, I love their music, they’ve given so much to me, and other fans and to us as a country. I wanted to give back and if I wasn’t able to go to the last show or see any of the shows on the last tour, I wanted to get involved and I knew that right from the get-go.
Also in attendance today was Crystal Styler from the Diller Family & Friends. She says brain cancer has had a very personal impact on her life. “Brain cancer is really dear to our hearts because we lost a niece just a couple of years ago,” she said. “When we need to get together, we band together, it’s so nice to see everyone out.”
Styler was selling special Gord Downie teddy bears and other items with all proceeds going to brain cancer research as well. In fact, the event was such a success that the City of Prince George even declared Saturday August 20th, ‘The Tragically Hip’ Day.
More festivities continue Saturday night at the Ramada Hotel as fans gather at 4:30 to watch the band’s final show on the big screen.