Photo of Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip by Flickr user Moyia Misner-Pellow. Used with a Creative Commons licence.

Hatfield Proposes Poet Laureate Named After Tragically Hip Frontman

If Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield has his way, Ontario will have a poet laureate, and the position will be named after Gord Downie, the late frontman of the Tragically Hip.

Hatfield introduced a private members bill in the Ontario Legislature Tuesday.

“Our country celebrated with the Tragically Hip knowing it was Gord Downie’s final tour. He was a poet, a singer, and an advocate for Indigenous issues,” said Hatfield. “It’s fitting that we remember him by creating the position of Ontario’s Poet Laureate in his name.”

Canada has a poet laureate, and so does the City of Windsor. Many other cities in the province do too.

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

The role would include writing poetry, occasionally for use in the legislature if called upon by the speaker or the lieutenant governor. The poet laureate would also visit schools, presenting or arranging poetry readings, and assisting with writing workshops or other activities. The candidate would also advise the legislative library on its collections and acquisitions.

Downie died of brain cancer in October.