CBC offers the world premiere of Gord Downie’s The Secret Path in a special one-hour, commercial-free broadcast on Sunday, October 23 on CBC and worldwide stream at cbc.ca/secretpath. Immediately following the ET broadcast, The Road to Reconciliation: A Panel Discussion about The Secret Path will be live-streamed worldwide at cbc.ca/secretpath and on facebook.com/cbcarts.
Spanning an album, graphic novel and one-hour CBC television special, Gord Downie’s Secret Path project 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 Canada on a road to reconciliation. Downie began Secret Path as 10 poems inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died 50 years ago on October 22, 1966 in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away.
Adapted from the album and graphic novel and divided into 10 chapters, The Secret Path is an animated film that chronicles the heartbreaking story of Chanie’s residential school experience and his subsequent death from hunger and exposure as he attempted to return home. In addition to the animated film, the CBC one-hour television special includes documentary footage of Downie tracing Chanie’s steps with the Wenjack family in Ogoki Post, Ontario.
How can Chanie Wenjack’s story make a difference? Immediately following the broadcast, CBC will live-stream The Road to Reconciliation, a special one-hour panel conversation with CBC’s Jesse Wente, filmmaker Tasha Hubbard, and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation director Ry Moran, live from CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. In an engaging discussion, these Indigenous leaders will reflect on how art can help us face the past and work together to change Canada’s future. The panel can be streamed in Canada and worldwide at cbc.ca/secretpath on Sun. Oct. 23.
Produced by eOne and Antica Productions Ltd. in association with CBC, The Secret Path was created, written, and directed by Gord Downie, composed by Gord Downie with Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin, and illustrated by author Jeff Lemire. The film is executive produced by Mike Downie, Patrick Downie, Gord Downie and Sarah Polley.
Downie’s poems were fleshed into the 10 songs of the Secret Path album. The music was then brought to graphic novelist Jeff Lemire for his help illustrating Chanie Wenjack’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life. The 10-song Secret Path album released by Arts & Crafts accompanied by Lemire’s 88-page graphic novel published by Simon & Schuster Canada are now available, in a deluxe vinyl and book edition, and as a book with album download.
Downie will play two special concerts in support of Secret Path at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa tonight and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Friday October 21st.
All proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.
On October 13, Downie launched The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, which focuses on cross-cultural education to support healing and recovery. The Fund will foster new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.