After Gord Downie died, a private member’s bill was introduced in the Ontario Legislature by NDP MPP Percy Hatfield to create the position of an official poet laureate for the promise. The bill passed the house in December 2019. That job has now been filled.
Scarborough’s Randell Adjei, a poet, motivational speaker, and founder of the community group RISE Edutainment has become Ontario’s first-ever poet laureate. He was awarded the position by a pane that included included Speaker Ted Arnott, Ontario Arts Council chair Rita Davies, former PC cabinet minister David Tsubouchi, and legislative librarian Vicki Whitmell. Adding support was Gord’s daughter Willo.
Adjei: “As Ontario’s first ever Poet Laureate, we know he will make an extraordinary contribution to the province’s literary arts.” His gig will involved writing poems for special occasions, promoting the role of arts and culture, and continuing his work in community outreach.
Somewhere, Gord is very happy.