It was an honour for Councillor Tovey to nominate Wali Shah to be the City’s Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate was introduced to City Council on April 26th 2017.
Wali’s selection as Poet Laureate makes a statement about the arts in Mississauga,” said Paul Damaso, Director, Culture Division, City of Mississauga. “Like Wali, our arts scene is young, cool, and emerging with unlimited potential. Wali is the perfect Poet Laureate for our City and he’ll do a fantastic job with championing and raising the profile of literary arts and spoken word across Mississauga and beyond.”
According to Damaso, Shah will focus on three key objectives as the new Poet Laureate:
• serve as a literary ambassador for the City of Mississauga to audiences both within and outside of the city;
• raise the profile of writers in Mississauga; and
• create an artistic legacy through public readings and civic interactions.
Wali was very thankful to his mother and everyone who encouraged and believed in him. He recited his newest work, “Poem for Canada Day” which describes his experience coming to Canada at a young age and making Canada his home.
Over the years, Wali has been speaking to youth at local schools and universities as well as being a TEDx speaker and representing Mississauga on CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Wali a lot more at many City events and also representing the City around Ontario, so keep an eye out for this talented guy!
Poem for Canada Day
By: Wali Shah
When I came to Canada with my Mom in 97.
Mom told me that North America was the land of freedom. Of opportunity and
multiculturalism. She always told me, that we were home.
And I think back to how long that’s been,
How this child who came from Pakistan has grown since then,
When, I think of home, home is Mississauga, Ontario.
Home is 5 and 10, Dundas and Hurontario.
This the true north, home of the strong and the free.
This where you can be whoever you wanted to be,
Home is where we embrace differences between you and me.
Home where we celebrate our diversity,
Home where your neighbours catch you in adversity,
We’ve been home since 97. Diaspora never made us feel alone. We live in a cultural tapestry,
beautifully sown. Canada, the land we call our own. Let my pride and my joy be known.
When I think of Sauga, I think,
Home sweet home.