The Juno-Award nominated band

The Juno-Award nominated band

Even rock bands like The Trews have heroes

The Trews perform new music at the Port Theatre tonight.

When The Trews bandmates and brothers John-Angus and Colin MacDonald began writing the song Highway of Heroes, they had no idea just how powerful it would become.

Since being released nearly five years ago, Highway of Heroes has grown from just a song to a patriotic remembrance of fallen Canadian soldiers.

“That song went from being an idea in a jam space between my brother and I, to what it has become and in those moments I am humbled by it,” John-Angus MacDonald said.

Highway of Heroes was written in honour of Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Nichola Goddard, who became the first female killed during the War in Afghanistan in 2006. The song takes its name from a stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario named ‘The Highway of Heroes’.

“She’s [Goddard] from Antigonish, a little town where I grew up … My mom was her teacher,” MacDonald said.

The Trews’ song Highway of Heroes, above, has over 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Tonight (Nov. 25) The Trews will be performing at the Port Theatre. Their show is part of Got Pop? Concerts’ 10th anniversary celebration.

“We love the Port Theatre,” MacDonald said. “I think this will be our third or maybe even fourth time playing there. It’s always a great show. The fans are always really enthusiastic and we’re playing really well because we’re jacked about the new record.”

In April, the Nova Scotia band released its latest record titled The Trews.

“It’s strong stuff, we really focused on the writing aspect of things way before we set into the studio,” MacDonald said.“We put the onus on ourselves to deliver some great songs.”

In order to pay for the album, The Trews turned to, a crowdsourcing website that allows users to donate to various music projects and receive prizes in return. The Trews offered their fans everything from free downloads of the new record, to Skype calls and even four-on-four hockey games.

“We only did two of those [hockey games], but man that is fun,” MacDonald said. “I gotta say, paying for a record by playing street hockey is not a bad way to go. There are worse ways.”

The Trews hail from Antigonish, N.S. and were originally formed back in the early 2000s.

In 2002 they earned some much-needed radio airplay when they won a contest put on by a radio station in St. Catharines, Ont. Their win would prove to be a big stepping stone for them as they signed to Bumstead Productions.

“In the moment we didn’t know that was going to happen and we didn’t know how good that would be for our career,” MacDonald said. “We were just stoked to have won it. It wasn’t like an Earth-shattering thing at the moment.”

Since then, The Trews have gone on to earn East Coast Music Awards, Independent Music Awards and received multiple Juno Award nominations.

Last month, The Trews were preparing to play two shows in downtown Ottawa when they suddenly found themselves under lockdown.

“We were scheduled to play two nights at a club called Mavericks,” MacDonald said.

The band would later learn that they were under lockdown because of the shooting that took place on Parliament Hill and at National War Memorial and cost Canadian Armed Forces Cpl. Nathan Cirillo his life.

“The place where he [Cirillo] was shot, the memorial, is in view of the club.”

The following morning they were suppose to appear on a television program in Ottawa to promote their new record, but instead they performed Highway of Heroes to honour Cirillo.

“Everybody stood as if the anthem were playing or something. All the cameramen were standing still and watching and there were the hosts and they were kind of crying,” MacDonald said. “The moment was profound and people were in such shock and people were still grieving and I think it was just an outlet. I think that song has become an outlet for grief in moments like that.”

The Trews perform with The Glorious Sons at the Port Theatre tonight at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $35. For more information, please visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod

Just Posted

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Small town residents Reed and Dusty, played by drama students Niya Irving and Cole Simpson, contemplate what brought them to a condemned park and what is keeping them there in the Dover Bay Secondary School production of ‘Bethel Park Falls.’ (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
High school drama students present outdoor performance at Nanaimo’s Dover Bay

Production to be staged in school courtyard with in-person audience

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Sarah Duguay so investigators can check on her well-being. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to find woman who called police for help but hasn’t been located

Sarah Duguay, 40, not reported missing, but police want to check on her well-being

Beef to the pet owner who brought his puppy into the cold beer and wine store, where it promptly peed on another customer’s ankle.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 9

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read