A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 180: Tragically Hippin’ Canadiana


They are the quintessential Canadian band, unapologetic in their Canuck references and consistently constant in seeking out the Great White North source for material: The Tragically Hip. Their songwriter and front-man, Gord Downie has been his country’s unofficial poet laureate for the past 30 years. In the land of the Loonie it is said, “In Gord We Trust”.

tragically hip logo

As we inch closer to Canada’s 150th birthday, I thought I’d share some of the Tragically Hip’s most Canadian lyrics. I cannot take credit for this as my source for material was an article on the website The Loop (You can take a look at the entire article yourself at http://www.theloop.ca/the-19-most-canadian-tragically-hip-lyrics). The Loop article listed 19 song lyrics of which I gleaned a tidy 10. The Canadiana listed and the comments come from the author of the article, Amber Dowling.

10. “38 Years Old”

Twelve men broke loose in seventy three
From Millhaven Maximum Security
Twelve pictures lined up across the front page
Seems the Mounties had a summertime war to wage

Canadiana: Millhaven Maximum Security, located in Bath, Ont. 

9. “Bear”

I think it was Algonquin park
It was so cold and winter dark
A promised hibernation high
Took me across the great black plate of ice

Canadiana: Bears + Algonquin Park + plate of ice. 


8. “Bobcaygeon”

‘Cause it was in Bobcaygeon, where I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time

Canadiana: The song that put Bobcaygeon on the map. 

7. “The Lonely End of the Rink”

I hear your voice cross a frozen lake
A voice from the end of a leaf
Saying, “You won’t die of a thousand fakes
Or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes”

Canadiana: Few other artists would get away with using the word deke in a love song. 

6. “Skeleton Park”

In Skeleton Park
One fine summer evening
The sun teased the dark
Like the last strawberry
I could hear them on the breeze
Hear them moving through the trees
The ghosts of the Rideau Canal start to sing
And patting the grass you said
“Come sit next to me, be my sweetheart”
Over in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park

Canadiana: Most may now recognize the supposedly haunted Kingston, Ont. park (and former burial ground) under its new name, McBurney Park. 


5. “Fifty-Mission Cap”

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored
Won the Leafs the cup
They didn’t win another till nineteen sixty two
The year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card
I keeped tucked up under

Canadiana: These lyrics are the only way most Leafs fans remember the last time they won a cup. 

4. “Fireworks”

If there’s a goal that everyone remembers
It was back in old seventy two
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember is sitting beside youYou said you didn’t give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

Canadiana: Again, hockey + love song = only The Hip.

3. “At the Hundredth Meridian” 

Me debunk an american myth?
And take my life in my hands?
Where the great plains begin
At the hundredth meridian
At the hundredth meridian
Where the great plains begin

Canadiana: The 100th meridian west, aka the line of longitude that separates Western Canada from Central and Atlantic regions of Canada. Naturally, this is one of The Hip’s biggest hits. 


2. “Wheat Kings”

Late breaking story on the CBC
A nation whispers, “We always knew that he’d go free”
They add, “You can’t be fond of living in the past
‘Cause if you are then there’s no way that you’re going to last”

Canadian: What’s more Canadian than the CBC?

1. “Looking for a Place to Happen”

Jacques Cartier, right this way
I’ll put your coat up on the bed
Hey, man, you’ve got the real bum’s eye for clothes
And come on in, sit right down
No, you’re not the first to show
We’ve all been here since, God, who knows?

Canadiana: This song traces Jacques Cartier and his journey to claim Canada for the French back in the day. That’s pretty darn Canadian. 

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