Guelph’s Jack MacKenzie spent a lot of his Halloween weekend carving a special tribute to Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie – a pumpkin featuring a detailed image of the singer that MacKenzie has dubbed “Gourd” Downie.
MacKenzie’s pumpkin face features Downie wearing the now-iconic hat he sported during the band’s Man Machine Poem tour this summer. Before the tour in May, Downie announced he had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable and aggressive type of brain cancer.
Since then, tributes to the singer have been pouring in across the country.
‘Guts and splatter’
Mackenzie, 27, says it took him more than five hours spread over the weekend to create the tribute pumpkin, including set up time, three hours of carving and then “cleaning up all the pumpkin guts and splatter.”
Mackenzie, a researcher at the University of Guelph, told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo in an email, “I took the path of a scientist instead of artist, but enjoy painting and drawing as much as I can in my spare time.”
The time-lapse video he shot shows the detailed steps he took to get the pumpkin just right.
MacKenzie says he watched the final stop on the Tragically Hip’s tour this summer, broadcast live by the CBC, with friends at his family’s cottage in Oro-Medonte.
Downie’s well-publicized illness has personal resonance too, for MacKenzie.
“My Aunt Norah passed away from glioblastoma earlier this year, so Gord’s battle with cancer is especially saddening for me and my family,” he said.