WATCH: The Tragically Hip had a special connection with Victoria and on Wednesday, fans were grieving Gord Downie’s loss. April Lawrence reports.
When Tragically Hip fans packed the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in July 2016 to kick off to the band’s farewell tour, the mood was bittersweet.
Now 15 months later, news of frontman Gord Downie’s death brings a new wave of grief.
Callers on 100.3 The Q in Victoria shared emotional stories on the air of the charismatic singer.
The radio station has been a friend of the Hip since the very beginning.
After decades of memories, including an incredible show in a lightning storm at Rock the Shores five years ago, Q radio host Ed Bain says the greatest moment for him came at last year’s Victoria concert.
“The emotions and the electricity combined in the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre that night was like nothing I’ve ever felt in there or at a concert for that matter ever before,” said Bain.
Hip fans were mourning together Wednesday. Even the View Royal Fire Department paid tribute to Downie on its digital sign outside the fire hall.
Rip Gord Downie!!#thehip#tragicallyhop pic.twitter.com/xvP4sPENej
— View Royal Fire (@VRFD) October 18, 2017
“Gord was a Canadian icon not just for his music but also for his work with First Nations and reconciliation so losing a true Canadian icon like that it was pretty sad,” said Assistant Chief Rob Marshall.
At Ditch Records in downtown Victoria, there was a lineup of customers Wednesday morning, all wanting a piece of Hip memorabilia.
“Even though it was something we kind of knew was coming it doesn’t make it easier,” said Assistant Manager Kara Rogerson.
It’s a feeling shared by 54-40’s lead singer Neil Osborne who lives in Victoria.
“It just hurts, it’s a tough one,” said Osborne, who has known Downie since the 1980s when they met while both on their first cross-country tours.
“It’s like that guy that’s in the trenches with you, and I think every Canadian feels this way like you know he’s kind of the guy you know if he’s there you’re okay and once he’s gone you just don’t feel right,” said Osborne.
Gord Downie leaves an incredible legacy, bringing Canadians a little closer through his music.