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Mike Downie

Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker | Co-Founder, Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

Speaker Reel
Gord and Country
Three Ways Secret Path Can Transform Us
Speaker Reel
Gord and Country
Three Ways Secret Path Can Transform Us

Mike Downie is a multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker and the co-founder of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. A celebrated and inspirational storyteller, Downie takes his audiences on a ride that explores how our stories define us, remind us of our past, and shape our future, both as individuals and as a nation.

Downie shares memories from growing up in a small town, leaving home to work in a mine, and watching his brother — celebrated musician Gord Downie — rise to fame, to travelling the world and directing award-winning documentary films.

One story in particular has been life-changing for Downie — Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibway boy who died while running away from his residential school. Downie told the tragic tale to his brother Gord and the two vowed to find a way to share this story with the world. The result was the multi-media project Secret Path that has captured the hearts and minds of Canadians across the country.

Downie is a writer, director, and producer of numerous award-winning documentaries including Secret Path, Invasion of the Brain Snatchers, One Ocean, and The Hockey Nomad. His most recent project, The Covid Cruise, told the February 2020 story of the Diamond Princess cruise ship as it became a microcosm of the coronavirus pandemic in the early days of the global crisis.

Before his career in film and television, Downie worked as a deep shaft miner in Northern Ontario; a medical researcher at McGill University; a junior economist in Toronto; and as a windsurfing instructor in the US Virgin Islands. He holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from Queen’s University, and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“Gord and I spent our lives learning, again and again, the power in a story, everyone’s story.”

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • The ability to impart an idea, an outcome or a direction in order to influence an audience is a powerful skill. Mike Downie demonstrated his unique ability to captivate an audience with his own story. Blending humour, a lifetime of memories and the poignant message of reconciliation with this country’s indigenous people, Mike took us on a journey that helped us to understand the power not just in his own story, but in everyone’s story.

  • Your presentation was extremely meaningful to many of our attendees who have all contributed in different ways to shape this great country we proudly call home. Your speech about your family, life lessons and your current passion project sent us all away with the resolve to follow our true passions in life and to embrace what makes each of us different and unique. Judging by the fact that we ran out of books during the signing your words resonated quite deeply with all our guests. Mike, it was an absolute pleasure working with you.

  • The evening with Mike had a way of inspiring the audience to be their better self. It’s not a story that Canadians can read about in newspapers and magazines. He takes the deeply personal and invites you in to his/their story and doesn’t leave you out of it. Somehow he knows – it is your story too.
    Also worth noting: Mike is charming and responsive to work with and customized his talk so that all generations could relate to what he had to say. It was an evening our clients won’t soon forget.

  • Mike Downie was wonderful. His message was powerful, heartfelt, interesting and inspiring. I know he resonated strongly with the audience. I am so glad that we had youth there as well to hear his message. All in all just a caring, compassionate and interesting human being. It was an honour to meet him and host him.

  • An absolutely captivating speaker and an excellent filmmaker. He was an absolutely wonderful guest.

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