Keynote Speaker

The CAPSLE Conference 2019 Committee is pleased to welcome Mike Downie as our keynote speaker.

Downie Mike HIres Nov 2016 PT

Mike Downie is co-founder of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, which aims to inspire Canadians to walk a path of reconciliation and help bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

A celebrated storyteller, Mike takes his audience on a ride that explores how our stories define us as individuals and as a nation. Mike shares memories of growing up in a small town outside Kingston with his brother, celebrated musician Gord Downie. Although the two would have very different careers, at the heart of it, they were both storytellers. “It’s my hope that in hearing our story, you recognize the beauty and power in your own, and how the intersections of our stories are what frame the experience and future of a country.”

After Mike first heard the unforgettable story of Chanie Wenjack—an Ojibway boy who died while running away from his residential school—he shared the story with his brother, and the two vowed to find a way to tell it to the world. The result was their multi-media project Secret Path, consisting of a music album, a graphic novel (by Jeff Lemire), and an animated film that has captured the hearts and minds of Canadians across the country. “Gord and I spent our lives learning, again and again, the power in a story, anyone’s story.”

Mike is a writer, director, and producer of numerous award winning documentaries. He recently won a Canadian Screen Award (CSA), the prestigious Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, for Secret Path. He is also a CSA winner for Best Science Documentary for Invasion of the Brain Snatchers. He received a nomination for the Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary from the Director’s Guild of Canada for his film, One Ocean. He also won a Gemini Award for his film, The Hockey Nomad.

Before his career in film and television, Mike worked as a deep shaft miner in Northern Ontario; a medical researcher at McGill University; a junior economist in Toronto; and 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.