WATCH: The Victoria Royals are raising money and awareness for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. April Lawrence reports.
With 15 million Canadians watching, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie made a passionate plea for Indigenous reconciliation at his final concert in Kingston, Ont.
His brother Mike Downie is in Victoria this week to help further the Canadian icon’s legacy.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity in the country right now for non-Indigenous Canadians to become more aware of Indigenous lives, to try to move the needle and I think create a more inclusive country,” Downie said.
A custom-designed goalie mask is one of the items that will be auctioned off as the Victoria Royals raise money and awareness for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.
“It’s a simple thing to be able to do to just ask people to care because I think Canadians by and large care about each other,” said Victoria Royals General Manager Cam Hope.
Twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack died in 1966 after running away from a residential school in Ontario.
His story inspired Gord Downie’s Secret Path project, an album, graphic novel, and animated film, being used in more than 100,000 Canadian classrooms.
And now that message has come to Victoria.
“This is a rink that Gord started many tours in, started other tours always in Victoria so it feels really good to be here,” said Downie.
Downie Wenjack merchandise will also be for sale at the royal’s team store, with all proceeds going to the fund.
“It’s just a matter of taking those small steps that we can take to raise awareness, try to inspire people to educate themselves about indigenous issues in their own communities,” said Hope.