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Watch the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie read Al Purdy

Al Purdy died in 2000, leaving behind a career's worth of poetry that has remained vibrantly, feistily alive on the page, and in the hearts of Canadian artists of all stripes. Fifteen years on, Purdy is being recognized with a much-anticipated new documentary, Al Purdy Was Here, directed by long-serving Canadian arts critic Brian D. Johnson, makes its world premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival, and CBC Arts has an exclusive clip from the film, featuring poet, lyricist and singer Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, reading Purdy's 1968 poem "At The Quinte Hotel" at a gala in Toronto from 2013.

Director Brian D. Johnson's Al Purdy Was Here debuts at TIFF

Al Purdy died in 2000, leaving behind a career's worth of poetry that has remained vibrantly, feistily alive on the page, and in the hearts of Canadian artists of all stripes. Fifteen years on, Purdy is being recognized with a much-anticipated new documentary, Al Purdy Was Here, directed by long-serving Canadian arts critic Brian D. Johnson. The doc makes its world premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival, and CBC Arts has an exclusive clip from the film, featuring poet, lyricist and singer Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, reading Purdy's 1968 poem "At The Quinte Hotel" at a gala in Toronto from 2013.

In an excerpt from the documentary Al Purdy Was Here (2015, dir. Brian D. Johnson), The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie recites the Canadian poet's 1968 poem "At The Quinte Hotel" live in Toronto in 2013. 3:27

Fun fact: Downie made his acting debut in a short film adaptation of the same poem in 2003. 



For more Purdy, check out CBC Archives' Poetry collection, featuring numerous clips of Purdy being interviewed.

Al Purdy Was Here, directed by Brian D. Johnson, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2, 350 King W., Toronto. Advance tickets sold out; $20 rush. Second screening: Thursday, Sept. 17, Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles W., Toronto. $25; $21 seniors; $18 students; $20 rush.

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