'Life is a Highway' in Manitoba: Stretch of road honours Tom Cochrane
A Manitoba stretch of road will be named after Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane. (Larry MacDougal / The Canadian Press)
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, October 31, 2016 1:50PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 31, 2016 2:55PM EDT
WINNIPEG -- Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane said he was overwhelmed Monday, as the Manitoba government named a section of highway near his hometown of Lynn Lake after one of Cochrane's biggest hits, "Life Is A Highway."
"If you can be humbled and flattered at the same time, I guess I'm a mixture of both," the singer said.
"The town is, you know, a pioneer frontier town. People just have an indomitable spirit there. And I think that my dad and my mom instilled that in me. You know, my dad was a bush pilot up there. He helped open up the north. So I think I've taken some of that strong community spirit they had with me and sort of incorporated that into my music."
A 322-kilometre section of provincial Highway 391, connecting Lynn Lake to Thompson, is being renamed Tom Cochrane's Life Is A Highway, 25 years after the song reached best-selling charts in Canada and abroad.
Cochrane performed the song and another hit from that era, "Big League," before an audience of dignitaries at the foot of the legislature's grand staircase.
Premier Brian Pallister called Cochrane a great composer who wrote a song that is a metaphor for life.
"Because life is a highway. It's got its on-ramps, it's got its off-ramps, it's got its ditches, it's got its side roads, it's got its up and its downs, and it's got its adventures," Pallister said.
The recognition is the latest in a series of honours for Cochrane, 63, who broke onto the music scene with Toronto-based Red Rider in the late 1970s. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada and is in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He has also been recognized for his charity work with groups such as World Vision and Amnesty International.
He joked that he still runs into many people who seem to have a connection with him from his days in Lynn Lake.
"I get people coming up to me saying 'so-and-so went to high school with you' -- it's happened more than once -- and I've stopped saying 'well, I left there when I was five or six.' I was a pretty precocious youth if I was in high school at five or six."
Cochrane still visits the northern community from time to time and plans to drive the renamed highway next summer.
"I'd like to go along the route and say 'hi' to the communities going up there and pay my regards to indigenous communities as well."