In light of the current situation, all Artist Ambassador visits will now be live on Instagram. Join us Monday, Wednesday, and Friday @ 2pm EDT.

The Legacy Schools Celebration in Winnipeg has also been postponed to a later date.

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Whitehorse visit James Bay

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The Story Of Secret Path Live

Secret Path Live was a re-creation of the 2016 performances that brought together renowned musicians to share the Chanie Wenjack story through an immersive multimedia experience.


The project, conceived by Gord and Mike Downie, intertwined the music from the Juno award-winning album, graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, and the animated film Secret Path to bring to light the painful legacy of Canada’s residential school system, and the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families, to the national stage. The hope was to start a national conversation and further reconciliation.

Featuring the original Secret Path band, surprise guests, dancers, and artists came together to create a fully immersive and cultural experience that celebrated Indigenous history and commemorated the lives of Gord and Chanie.

To learn more about Gord’s journey and the making of Secret Path, listen to our podcast “Understanding the Secret Path”, hosted by Tanya Talaga.

About the Secret Path Live Band & Special Guests

Gord Downie began Secret Path as a collection of 10 poems inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died of exposure on October 22, 1966. He was attempting to walk home from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, to return to family he was taken from over 600km away.


Gord’s remarkable and emotional Secret Path original performance featured musicians Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers), Dave Hamelin (The Stills), and Charles Spearin (Do Make Say Think).

Taking place during the 2nd annual Secret Path Week, Secret Path Live returned to Roy Thomson Hall almost three years since Gord himself performed the album on the same stage. The recreation of the iconic performances reunited the original band members with other special guest artists.

Secret Path Band


Kevin Hearn

Barenaked Ladies

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Kevin Hearn is best known as a multi-instrumentalist from Barenaked Ladies, the multi-platinum selling band he’s played with for over two decades. One of the most respected Toronto musicians of the past 25 years, Hearn’s solo albums always attract equally brilliant collaborators such as singer/songwriters Ron Sexsmith and producer Gavin Brown (Metric, The Tragically Hip, Sarah Harmer), not to mention his 22-year-relationship with the rhythm section of Chris Gartner and Great Bob Scott. Hearn’s recently released album Calm and Cents features violinist Hugh Marsh, alongside Gartner, and Brown. Also released earlier this year is Hearn’s exclusive EP titled Kevin Hearn and Friends Present: The Superhero Suite. The special edition 12” EP is a wild medley of vintage superhero-related songs, including iconic music from TV and film running the gamut from the classic Batman theme to the 1978 soundtrack of Superman. The musical luminaries include Ron Sexsmith, Michael Ray of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Carole Pope, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Alan Doyle, The Persuasions and more. One noteworthy highlight is Violent Femmes, Barenaked Ladies and Colin Hay joining forces for the theme song from TV’s Batman. One of Hearn’s closest relationships, both musical and personal, was with the late, great Lou Reed, for whom Hearn acted as keyboardist and musical director from 2007 up until his passing in 2013. Though Hearn has contributed songs to Barenaked Ladies albums in the past 10 years, the songs on his solo records are much more personal, both in subject matter and musical exploration. “It’s fun for me to make music that doesn’t have to fit a certain criteria, whether it be regarding the style or sound, or who is playing it,” he says.

Kevin Drew

Broken Social Scene

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Kevin Drew is co-founder, songwriter and de facto bandleader of Toronto baroque-pop collective Broken Social Scene, and co-founder of multi-faceted Toronto music company Arts and Crafts Productions. Drew has been a cornerstone of independent music in Canada for over two decades, spearheading and articulating some of the most timeless rock music the country has created. Drew co-produced Secret Path with Dave Hamelin, also co-writing four songs on the album, which was released on the Arts and Crafts label. He also produced Downie’s Juno Award-winning album Introduce Yerself, as well as co-producing The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem. In addition to releasing records with Broken Social Scene, Drew has also released the solo albums Spirit If and Darlings, and has written and co-starred in the theatre production A&R Angels.

Josh Finlayson


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Founding member of Skydiggers since formation in 1988. Over 12 albums to their credit. Long-time collaborator with Gord Downie’s solo recordings and tours starting with Coke Machine Glow.

Dave Hamelin

The Stills

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Working out of Los Angeles, Dave Hamelin has recently been writing and producing tracks with 070 Shake, Leikeli 47, Amber Mark, May, Harold Lilly, and Clyde Guevara. Hailing originally from Canada, Dave was the principle songwriter and drummer in the internationally acclaimed band The Stills. His accomplishments include the co-production and mixing of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem album and Gord Downie’s Secret Path album (both Juno Award winning and landmark Canadian albums of 2016). Hamelin has written and produced songs for the solo projects of Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and is the creator of the critically beloved artist Eight and a Half.

Charles Spearin

Do Make Say Think

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Charles Spearin is an original member of the influential Toronto indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene, co-founder of the art-rock ensemble Do Make Say Think, as well as a touring musician for celebrated Canadian songstress Feist. In 2010 he won a Juno for his critically acclaimed solo album The Happiness Project in which, by artfully playing with the cadence and rhythms of his neighbor’s voices, he arranged recorded interviews as though they were songs. Altogether, Spearin has won seven Junos and he continues to be an active, influential member of Canada’s thriving music community.

Special Guest Appearances By

Buffy Sainte-Marie

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Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Sainte-Marie has spent her whole life creating, and her artistry, humanitarian efforts, and Indigenous leadership have made her a unique force in the music industry. In 1969, she made one of the world’s first electronic vocal albums; in 1982 she became the only Indigenous person to win an Oscar; she spent five years on Sesame Street where she became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. She’s been blacklisted and silenced. She’s written pop standards sung and recorded by the likes of Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Donovan, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. She penned “Universal Soldier,” the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century. She is an icon who keeps one foot firmly planted on both sides of the North American border, in the unsurrendered territories that comprise Canada and the USA.

Sam Roberts

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Canadian singer/songwriter Sam Roberts released his debut in 2002, following a popular independent demo recording he had made in Montreal. The Inhuman Condition was released and became the best-selling independent EP in Canadian history. In 2003 he released his first full-length album We Were Born In A Flame. The album is a double-platinum hit in Canada and won the JUNO Award for Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, and Artist of the Year. He continued to release hit albums for the remainder of the decade: Chemical City in 2006 and Love At The End Of The World in 2008. Each album also won the JUNO for Rock Album of the Year. For his 2011 release Collider, Roberts changed from using his name to using Sam Roberts Band. In 2014, Lo-Fantasy was released to great acclaim. Lead single "We’re All In This Together" reached the top of both Canadian rock radio charts, followed by Top 10 hits "Human Heat" and "Shapeshifters". In 2016, TerraForm was released, the band’s 6th studio album. Lead single “If You Want It” reached #2 at both rock radio charts. The album was nominated for the Rock Album Of the Year at the 2016 JUNO Awards.

Tanya Tagaq

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Tanya Tagaq is an improvisational singer, avant-garde composer and bestselling author. A member of the Order of Canada, Polaris Music Prize and JUNO Award winner and recipient of multiple honourary doctorates, Tagaq is one of the country’s most original and celebrated artists. In 2014, Tagaq sent shockwaves through the music world with Animism. The album’s Polaris Music Prize victory disrupted the music industry and contributed to a change in conversation about Indigenous artists. The follow-up, 2017’s Retribution, brought Tagaq’s inimitable and powerful artistic vision to even broader audiences. Tagaq’s recent projects include debut novel Split Tooth, nominated for the Giller Prize and other awards, and National Maritime Museum commission Toothsayer, a soundscape for the permanent “Polar Worlds” exhibit.

July Talk

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Since 2012, July Talk has risen with purpose and poise. Three sold out nights at Massey Hall to close out 2017 made an undeniable statement about the band’s potency and community. July Talk has also grown as mentors and allies of an urgent and fundamental industry recalibration. From the New Constellations Tour and recording project with high school students in Thunder Bay to curatorial partnerships with festivals to creating safe spaces at rock shows, July Talk is working to build community, raise resistance and advance equality.

William Prince

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Born and raised on the Peguis First Nation of Manitoba, Canada, William has been honing his craft since the age of nine when he first picked up the guitar and piano. Counting Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson (as well as books like April Raintree and Fahrenheit 451) among chief influences, he ultimately cites his preacher and musician father as the biggest inspiration. “My whole life I listened to my dad’s deep voice singing gospel,” he says. “In a sense, I make folk-country tunes inside of a gospel framework. It can be really powerful, but it brings a calm..


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Since their debut in 2011, Toronto’s Whitehorse has evolved from magnetic folk duo to full-blown rock band. In truth, Whitehorse is never fully either one or the other, but an ever-evolving creative partnership between Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet. As four consecutive JUNO nominations in multiple categories in recent years attest, whether it be a holiday album or reworked blues covers or pop noir album, Whitehorse rises to every challenge with guitar wizardry and magnetic harmonies.

Tom Wilson

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Tom Wilson was raised in the rough-and-tumble world of Hamilton—Steeltown— in the company of World War II vets, factory workers, fall-guy wrestlers and the deeply guarded secrets kept by his parents, Bunny and George. For decades Tom carved out a life for himself in shadows. He built an international music career and became a father, he battled demons and addiction, and he waited, hoping for the lies to cease and the truth to emerge. It would. And when it did, it would sweep up the St. Lawrence River to the Mohawk reserves of Quebec, on to the heights of the Manhattan skyline.With a rare gift for storytelling and an astonishing story to tell, Tom writes with unflinching honesty and extraordinary compassion about his search for the truth. It’s a story about scars, about the ones that hurt us, and the ones that make us who we are.

Thank you to our generous sponsors

Gold – Reconciliation Partner

Silver – Action Partner


Bronze – Conversation Partners




Sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Click here for more information.

Secret Path Live was bullfrogpowered with 100% green electricity.

This means that Bullfrog Power’s generators put 100% green power into the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity the event uses, displacing energy from polluting sources. Across Canada, Bullfrog’s green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities.

For more information on Bullfrog’s green energy, visit www.bullfrogpower.com.

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

Registered Charity Number: 784055915RR0001

Get in touch

PO BOX 749