US & Canada

Tragically Hip: About a third of Canadians watch farewell concert

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWatch: The gig that broke Canadian hearts

About one in three Canadians tuned in for the Tragically Hip's poignant show in the band's hometown of Kingston, Ontario.

The sold-out gig drew 11.7m people, according to broadcaster CBC.

It makes it one of the country's most watched events, behind the 16.6m viewers who watched men's gold-medal hockey at the 2010 Olympics.

The tour was announced after lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in May.

An average of four million viewers watched the Tragically Hip, known as the most Canadian band in the world, on television or via livestreaming, according to Canada's national broadcaster CBC.

Some of the largest TV audiences in Canada include:

  • 16.6m - Canada beats USA at ice-hockey in 2010 Winter Olympics
  • 11.7m - Tragically Hip concert in Ontario, 2016
  • 10.5m - Canada beats USA in 2002 Games
  • 5.2m - British royal wedding, 2011

The network cut away from the Olympic coverage in Rio to air the nearly three-hour television broadcast on Saturday.

About 5.2m tuned in for the British royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

Mr Downie and bandmates Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fay kicked off the Man Machine Poem 15-stop tour in Victoria on 22 July.

Saturday's final concert, at the Rogers K-Rock Centre, sold out in minutes.


Who are The Tragically Hip?

Image copyright Invision/AP

Formed in the 1980s, the blues and rock band penned lyrics which explicitly referenced Canadian life, with a small-town charm that won the country over.

They started as a college band working the local circuit and then took off, but their success across 14 albums was mostly confined to within Canada.

Known simply as The Hip to many Canadians, their songs became part of a national identity.

Related Topics