A week after Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie died at age 53, Toronto-based singalong collective Choir! Choir! Choir! hosted a tribute to the Canadian icon at Nathan Phillips Square.

More than a thousand people braved the brisk, windy weather to sing about a dozen songs from the Hip, including Wheat Kings, Bobcaygeon and Courage.Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, the directors of Choir! Choir! Choir!, said organizing the evening felt like the right thing to do.”If we can provide a space where people can come together and share the music and feel connected in a difficult time, then we’ll do it,” Adilman said.

Nearly two years ago, Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an invasive brain tumour with one of the poorest survival rates of any cancer.

Downie’s brother Mike gave an emotional speech to the fans in the square.

“The outpouring of emotion, grief and love has been overwhelming,” said Downie.

“My family and I have felt it, and it’s made things easier and it’s made things harder. Made it easier because you showed how much you loved our brother, and harder because we realized how many people were hurting and how many people were affected by this.”

He also took the opportunity to talk about The Secret Path project, on which he collaborated with his brother. Choir! Choir! Choir! had asked that those in attendance to make a minimum donation of $5 to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

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