By Emily Rawbon

Pioneer Staff

I grew up in a village in central Ontario known as Bobcaygeon. And by grew up, I mean that literally. It was in this cottage country community that I went from being a five-foot nothing tweener to the six feet three inches I am today.

My grandparents had a home on Dunn Street, just a short walk to the Kawartha Dairy. Grandpa taught me how to fish, play the piano and appreciate music. My sister and I gave away our mother as she married our stepfather at Knox Presbyterian Church. It was where my Opa taught me that it was okay to fail, and that it was through failure that we may have our greatest successes. And it was in Bobcaygeon where I first heard the music of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip.

These were some of the thoughts that went through my mind this past weekend at the Invermere MusicFest where a group of acquaintances began talking about the Tragically Hips finale in Kingston that evening. One gentleman asked, What was the big deal? Another friend had asked a similar question on her Facebook page.

Well, I believe it is a big deal. Why? Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year. In his life, he has written some of Canadas most iconic songs. Songs such as Bobcaygeon, Fiddlers Green or Ahead By A Century are perfect examples of how his music connected many of us as Canadians.

Before Mr. Downie got up on stage that night, quite possibly for the last time, I was reminded of my connection to Bobcaygeon and how that village is not unlike the communities of the Columbia Valley. I am also very grateful that we as a country had the opportunity to celebrate Downies life and his music before this horrible disease takes him away from us. He is and will continue to be an inspiration. Thank you, Gord.