Music News

Published on June 30th, 2018 | by Amber Healy

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Autographed flag auction raises $6,700 for Sunnybrook Hospital

Wave that maple leaf flag high and proud this weekend, Canada. You really came through.

When the eBay auction ended Friday night, someone paid $6,700 for the large Canadian flag autographed by 50 bands and musicians sold as a fundraiser for Sunnybrook Hospital in Ontario.

Nearly 70 people bid on the 31″ by 72″ flag, signed by, among others, The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo (Jim Cuddy), Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts Band, Arkells and even a few American outfits, including Counting Crows and Collective Soul.

The autographs were collected by the Big Music Fest over the past decade or so. Whatever the original purpose for collecting the signatures, the focus might have shifted on May 24, 2016, when The Hip announced Downie’s diagnosis with glioblastoma, a terminal kind of brain cancer.

Starting almost immediately and continuing well past the band’s last show in Kingston, fans have been raising and donating money to Sunnybrook Hospital, where Downie was treated. It makes sense, then, that the money raised from the nine-day auction would benefit the same institution.

The money will be donated on July 3- a date selected for its proximity to Canada Day – and will be earmarked for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. Since its creation in 2016, the fund has received more than $1.8 million in donations, which will be used toward the Gord Downie Fellowship in Brain Oncology and the establishment and construction of the G. Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre, which will feature clinical and research space and facilities for neurologists that specialize in treating patients with brain cancer.

And a little more about the man behind the flag: Mark Higgins is a musician, promoter and entrepreneur, organizer of the Hip’s 2011 Bobcaygeon concert and creator of Big Music Fest.




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I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.


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