Bill would create Ontario poet laureate position in memory of Gord Downie


TORONTO — An NDP member of the Ontario legislature wants to enshrine the name of late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie in a law creating the province’s first poet laureate.

Percy Hatfield’s Poet Laureate of Ontario Act (In Memory of Gord Downie) was introduced Tuesday in the legislature.

Hatfield notes that Canada has a poet laureate, as do numerous cities in the province.

The poet laureate would write poetry, occasionally for use in the legislature, visit schools, present or arrange poetry readings, and assist with writing workshops or other activities.

The poet laureate would also advise the legislative library regarding its collection and acquisitions.

Hatfield says Downie, who died of brain cancer earlier this year at age 53, was a poet, a singer and advocate for Indigenous issues.

“It’s fitting that we remember him by creating the position of Ontario’s poet laureate in his name,” he said.

“Downie viewed Canada through a distinctly poetic lens, and I believe this is a beautiful way to honour him, and to continue his legacy.”

The Canadian Press