Island holds a special place in Tyson’s heart

The 80-year-old Order of Canada recipient will be heading out on a four-day British Columbia tour

It was an injury that helped kickstart legendary country singer Ian Tyson’s music career.

“I got to really start playing while I had smashed my ankle and it took a long time to mend and I had a lot of time on my hands,” Tyson said. “That’s what really got me going with learning and trying to learn to play the guitar properly.”

Beginning next week, the 80-year-old Order of Canada recipient will be heading out on a four-day British Columbia tour, which will see him make stops in Burnaby, Victoria, Campbell River and Nanaimo.

“It’s been quite awhile. I’ve been ranching,” Tyson said. “I am looking forward to it. The road is always easier than being at home. When you’re at home there is so much stuff piled up that you gotta do.

“Sometimes going on the road is like vacation.”

For much of his life, Tyson has called Alberta his home, but the Juno Award winner was actually born in Victoria and spent his teenage years living in Duncan.

“It’s always nice [to come home],” Tyson said about returning to Vancouver Island. “I really enjoy going back to the fatherland.”

Tyson has released over 15 albums throughout his career.

His most recent album, All The Good ’Uns Vol. 2, was released last year and is a collection of some of his greatest hits between 1999 and 2012.

The Alberta resident is currently working on his next album,  which he is hoping to release in the near future.

“I am in a meeting trying to get this album done,” Tyson said.

In 2006, Tyson  suffered a serious vocal injury that nearly cost him his career.

Tyson credits the work of throat specialist Tom Gillis and vocal therapist Katherine Ardo for helping him recover.

“I was very happy recipient of that [treatment] and I can sing my damn ass off now,” Tyson said.

There has been no shortage of standout moments in Tyson’s long career, which include everything from hosting his own TV show, The Ian Tyson Show, on CTV, to having his song Four Strong Winds named by CBC Radio One listeners as Canada’s No. 1 song of the 20th century.

“It was amazing,” Tyson said about having his song picked by CBC listeners. “It was a total surprise and I was very honoured.

“I don’t think honoured is the right word. I was taken aback and very pleased.”

In 2005, Tyson performed for Queen Elizabeth II during her royal visit.

“It was a usual Alberta summer day, I don’t think it snowed, but it did everything else,” Tyson recalled. “She is amazing. I didn’t meet her or shake hands with her but I waved and I was singing.

“She’s the ultimate professional. Of course she’s done it all her life I suppose, but yeah, she’s an amazing woman.”

Ian Tyson appears 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 27 at the Tidemark Theatre. Tickets are $52.75 plus taxes and fees and are available at the Tidemark Box Office or buy online at