The Secret Path 

After hearing about Chanie Wenjack’s story, Gord Downie began a personal project to tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and share that story with other Canadians.   

The project began as ten poems written by Gord as he imagined what it would be like to be Chanie.  These poems later became the lyrics to the Juno award winning album, “The Secret Path”.  

In 2014, Gord and Mike brought “The Secret Path” to comic artist Jeff Lemire for his help illustrating Chanie’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life.  Despite his busy schedule, Jeff saw the merit in committing some time to this project and, together with Gord, created “The Secret Path” illustrated book.  

The Secret Path illustrations later formed the basis of Secret Path - the documentary, co-produced by Mike Downie & Stuart Coxe, animating Chanie’s story and threading in footage of Gord’s northern Ontario visit to the Wenjack sisters.  

Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.

To learn more about the Secret Path project, visit

Impact of the Secret Path 

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The Secret Path has had a tremendous impact on people across the country and around the globe. To honour Chanie's short life, many have been inspired to create artwork and write letters to Gord Downie and the Wenjack family.

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