In a solemn, heartwarming ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie was appointed a member of the Order of Canada “in recognition of outstanding Indigenous leadership.”
Twenty-seven other awards were handed out to notable Canadians for their extraordinary service to the country, particularly in the area of Indigenous advancement and reconciliation.
In May 2016, Downie revealed he had been battling incurable brain cancer since December 2015. Shortly after, The Tragically Hip announced a 15-show tour in celebration of their latest studio album Man Machine Poem.
Following the Hip’s tour, Downie released a solo album and graphic novel named Secret Path, which tells the story of a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure trying to escape from a residential school near Kenora, Ont.
The Order of Canada is one of Canada’s highest civilian honours which recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.