Poet Laureate

New Westminster’s Poet Laureate acts as a literary ambassador for the City of New Westminster and the community; advocating for literacy and the literary arts and helping to raise the status of poetry, language and the arts in the everyday consciousness of New Westminster residents. The Poet Laureate also develops meaningful engagement opportunities that enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the City.

Subscribe to Citypage Online or follow New Westminster Art Services on Twitter for opportunities to participate in projects involving the Poet Laureate.

  • Poet Elliott Slinn was named New Westminster’s fifth (and youngest) Poet Laureate in June 2021, actively beginning his tenure in August. Slinn was born and raised in the Queen’s Park neighbourhood of New Westminster and still resides in the Royal City today. He has performed at the 2015 Lululemon Leadership Conference, a LUSH product launch and for both the Vancouver and New Westminster Arts Council. Slinn, in addition to being a poet, is also a singer-songwriter whose first single, It’s You, was featured on Apple Music’s “Hot Tracks” list and in BeatRoute magazine. Slinn’s poetry and lyrics focus on the existential events of our day-to-day existence. As one article noted, “the lyrics are straightforward romance bordering on Sufism. Slinn’s sparse vocals let the poetry of the lyrics take center stage.”

    Slinn’s work has been described as immediate and accessible, as he aims to transform his personal tale into a shared experience. He is currently working on his first book of poetry and aims to record more music in the future.

    You can find excerpts of his work on his Instagram account: @elliott_slinn

    New Westminster Poet Laureate, Alan Hill (2017-2020) in partnership with the City’s Arts Services Department published A Poetry of Place: Journeys Across New Westminster which highlights the work of 35 local poets all working with the poetic form of the “poetry postcard.”  The intention of this collection was to highlight and explore physical location and its emotional and cultural significance specific to New Westminster residents. 
    Starting in June of 2019, Hill workshopped the project with a variety of community partners including: Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Royal City Literary Arts Society,  Douglas College, New Westminster Secondary School, Burnaby Central Secondary School and New Westminster Public Library.  Afterwards, a call was put out to the New West community for submissions for the book.  With the help of a selection committee of local literary professionals, the Poet Laureate curated and edited the submitted works and designer Johanna Bartels began work on the layout and cover.  Images include photographs from Bartels and the participating poets as well as selected maps and archival images from the New Westminster Museum and Archives.
    To purchase your copy of this vibrant, multicultural and multi-dimensional collection of poetry postcards please contact Cultural Facility Clerk, JoAnn Tosh: jtosh@newwestcity.ca or (604-527-4640, press 2).
    Books are $12 (tax included).
  • Poet Alan Hill was chosen in February 2017 as New Westminster’s fourth Poet Laureate. Mr. Hill is a resident of the Glenbrook North neighbourhood of New Westminster. He is co-manager of the Poetry New West reading series and has been a regular on the Vancouver reading circuit for over ten years. He has been published in North America and Europe in numerous print and online journals. Publishing highlights in Canada include having poetry included in Event, CV2, Canadian Literature, Vancouver Review, Antigonish Review, Sub-Terrain, Poetry is Dead, Quills and Cascadia Review. He has also published two collections of poetry, ‘The Upstairs Country’ (Silverbow 2012) and ‘The Broken Word’ (Silverbow 2013). In 2007 he featured in the ‘Rocksalt’ anthology (Mother Tongue), the first BC wide anthology of poetry for over thirty years. Alan immigrated to New Westminster from the UK after meeting, and being sponsored by, his Vietnamese-Canadian wife while working in Botswana.

    Remembrance During a Pandemic
    Remembrance Day 2020
    We need our dead, those that never came back
    the body parts of our boys, not quite men
    we left on the beaches at Dieppe, Normandy, 
    the never to be lived dreams of the perpetually young 
    that were left out to wither, disappear 
    in the deep-set lanes, arthritic hedgerows of the 
    Italian interior, sun shot Ortona back lanes.
    You would have thought we had asked enough of them.
    But no, we cannot let them rest.
    We come back again, then again,  
    to ask them how we must be, what courage is
    how we would recognise it, know it for our own 
    how to be resilient, compassionate, face aging, illness
    those things that they will never have to face
    because of what we took from them, insist they give. 
    The dead, those changed by war 
    will never let us down, never have
    when we come to them, insist they tell us how 
    to live. 

    To Our Indigenous Veterans 

    Remembrance Day, New Westminster, 2019 
    What does it mean to fight for a country that wants you gone
    that sees you an as anachronism, throwback, embarrassment-  
    at the very least, has no interest in your survival 
    will not recognise your worth, unless it is the time to kill…
    unless it is a time when those that can hunt, know weaponry 
    can be utilised, are now needed? 
    I do not know how to answer those questions…
    yet, 7000 indigenous people DID answer them… 
    found a way to serve in World War One, Two, Korea  
    often came home, disenfranchised, wanted by nobody, to poverty
    off the reserve too long to keep their status, not 
    white enough for veterans’ benefits.  
    Each of those 7000 must have had their reasons to enlist, particular 
    to their lives-
    …perhaps for a way in, a way out, tradition, pride, belief 
    in our common humanity 
    or a pathway out of debt, or to see the world 
    …perhaps a few had even come to find a compromise  
    with the many headed beast, the Empire that was killing them. 
    I would like to think my grandfather, who 
    fought for four years on the Somme
    in Belgium, France in Turkey, who
    joined the trade union for a better world, would
    have seen these indigenous men and women 
    as his brothers, his sisters, as his comrades 
    Again, I can’t answer that. I have nobody left that can tell me.  
    Yet I know it is not too late; 
    we are family, Canadians, there is no time left for secrets 
    no more time for lies. 
    Let us celebrate how we have worked, we can still work 
    let us remember all the sacrifices made, 
    remember what we would have never had, who would not be here, if 
    fascism has not been defeated   
    remember ALL of those that fought, how they must be honoured 
    how we must go forward together, beyond the gas, the guns and shells  
    into our suburbia, our glittering city in its greatness-  
    yes, all of us, together now. 

    It is Time 
    Canada Day, New Westminster 2019

    Hold this fire in your hands, this day of us.
    Let it burn, purify.
    Let it clean the spaces where we live
    the gaps between us, where we are real
    that cannot be seen.
    Let our anthem carry your breath
    straighten your tongue,
    temper it into a truer intent   
    unleash the words of what we have achieved
    let them lose onto the air. 

    It is time to share,
    this good fortune, who we are

    It is time to be ourselves, become us,
    reconciled, in reconciliation
    with what we have done, what we can become.  

    It is time to show our love in what we have achieved,

    celebrate what we have won
    through our work, enterprise, good government

    It is time now to admit, that it was more than that

    that there are stains, shadows,
    there is a darkness we must face

    there are people that have not come with us,
    that we left behind
    the dead, living, that we must learn to remember

    that are here now, in this our home and native land,
    where we must be reconciled, in reconciliation

    For What Is Within Us
    City of New Westminster, May Day Gala, 2019

    To prod our dank, unwilling, thoughts into the sun

    the tethered cattle of our passions into light

    into air still smeared with Easters saints.

    This dark interior mountain range of what we are

    can finally begin to bud.

    The vast and lonely shore of death denied once more.

    Spring begins to linger like a restless teen

    that is learning

    to trace the contours of his fathers laugh

    become his mothers calming hands

    to wrestle off the carcass of the winter brute

    pay homage to the bleak grey stones

    the monuments of our people

    dance under a trimming of stars

    for a moment take the shadows of ourselves, the

    doubts, the fears; slip out of them like skin.

    The Undefeated
    Remembrance Day, November 2018

    “The Battle of the Atlantic was not won by any Navy or any Air Force, it was won by the courage, fortitude and determination of the British and Allied Merchant Navy”
    Rear Admiral Leonard W. Murray: Royal Canadian Navy.

    Incinerating oil
    the Atlantic, Artic freeze, the few brief moments before the ship blew, rolled over.
    If you were down below, you knew it, you had no chance.
    A door that would not open, gangway blocked spelled death.
    Most accepted that, it was the bargain you had made.
    You knew there would still be terror, you would still burn, call for your mother
    when the boilers burst, the water forced your mouth.

    It was 50/50 if your ship was hit. You knew it.
    Sometimes, if you survived, got to the ocean alive, you were left.
    Too dangerous for other ships to stop, rescue you, as if you were still human.
    No blaze of glory, just a lonely, terrifying end.
    There were no uniforms, no proper pay, the ships were often old
    rusted hulks not fit for the job, converted great lake steamers
    semi retired coast huggers.

    It was that we had family, community, a bond across continents
    brothers, sisters, that knew the same farm, factory, history.
    There were people, our people
    that we would not let starve, become victims, prisoners of power sniffing little tyrants
    of a self-appointed master race.

    We were one people then.
    Our religions, ethnicities all pooled in strength to defeat a tyranny
    welded, pressed with the same rivets, floated in the same kind of love
    its broken fingered, imperial, imperfection:
    Because our sailors died, served, sometimes partly survived
    we are still one people. We are here, undefeated, ready.

    Some Words for the Young 
    City of New Westminster, May Day Gala, 2018

    This is more than the dance; this is being alive.
    In your life, there will be hard times, disappointments, yet
    you will always have this

    every May for ever. Every time the sunlight comes again, that
    life returns, the world is young once more. 

    This is something that is ours, yours. 
    Nobody can take it 
    anymore than they can steal the fuse
    that forces the flower through the field

    or they can pocket the heavy thatch of thickened blossom
    or take the rain, invest it, live from the surplus labour of the clouds
    claim light, air, as their own
    or steal away how springtime hardens in your blood
    coagulates your thoughts, pushes you out into the world

    to be with others, friends, community, in the
    parks and forests of tomorrow
    in a ship less ocean, empty sky, with
    the springtime that has laid its box of chocolates at your feet.

    Poem Read for National Poetry Month Proclamation - March 2017 

    The King of Glenbrook North    

    First my parent’s garden
    its Eden of children’s parties   
    filthy knees

    perpetual summer ecosystem,
    of sugared up boys
    microclimate of budded hormones     
    punctured soccer balls.

    Then the garden I tended as a student.
    Industrial grade carrots,
    cannonball sized cabbages
    between which my fiancé Michelle    
    in her wedding dress, netted herself
    in front of the unsteady flesh
    of the neighbours fence-
    her peasant’s hands, bony and white
    from the lack of a ring
    that even then, I knew, I
    was to never acquire for her. 

    Then this garden I have now- small
    secret, suburban

    each corner
    a continent overcrowded with trees
    Laburnum      Pine      Magnolia
    pockets of Spring light    
    that only I have seen-
    uncharted silences in the raspberry canes:

    bordered by a pelt of rough cut lawn
    shimmying itself shyly     
    towards the back of the house   

    squared up    
    to the edge of the known world. 

    Poem Read at the May Day Gala - May 24th 2017

    May Day- New Westminster

    This Maypole, middle world axis
    for the earth to turn
    lighthouse inside us, hormonal summer vision
    bringer of buds, idolatry, difference
    for us to wrap ourselves, pull the ribbons tight
    climb back in the box of who we are.

    Twist and turn, step around each other, avoid each other
    each in our way, our role, individual, team
    learning to be, to welcome it back
    what is bigger than us, this god, or gods
    law of nature. law of science
    what it is we are, that we cannot know
    maybe do not need to know

    whatever that it is that gives us everything
    owes us nothing
    life in its cruelty, beauty, indifference, magnificence. 

    We watch our children dance
    these ones that will replace us
    each hand held to the next like a thirst in need of
    Breath in their joy, charge on it
    in the knowledge that they understand, know a little now
    of what we are, where we come from

    that whatever world they make
    what we give them now will not be in vain

    that in this dance
    whichever way they run they will be back
    meet in the middle, weaved, stitched, more complete. 

    Poem Written for Canada Day- July 2017  Canada Day
    New Westminster, 2017

    This City will not die.
    The torn moon stitched tight
    fire swept backwards into
    the pocket of an Edwardian morning
    river rooted around the sky into
    a tree of smoke.

    Our forefathers could hate
    left the hard stumps of the excluded

    They could also build
    brought us the lung lines of our streets
    the verdant foliage of the
    collective head
    schools, churches, temples, the
    knife sharp shopping of our being

    the fields and factories of tomorrow
    palaces of the nine to five
    hard shipping of Pacific
    bleached, bloodied in Panama sun
    Atlantic salt

    our people
    sprinting from the River edge
    multiplying in grids.

    Own this history, what has been done
    has yet to come

    no barrel bombs or gas

    the barbed wire from around the heart
    then all that is left of us is love.   

    The Hunger Winter

    Dedicated to Gert Heijkoop – Consulate General Vancouver

    Kingdom of the Netherlands.   

    A mad man under Berlin 
    tap danced on his pyramid of skulls

    his armies shifted, regiments paraded
    peopled died -

    the old, children, the ill
    those that the utopians, the pure, master race
    had no function for

    who were not the right height, weight, colour
    religion, shirt size
    who spoke the wrong language.

    People had to be murdered
    for someone else’s fantasy of paradise.

    Isn’t that always the way?  

    All we had left to give, us Canadians, British
    was our children

    Eighteen, twenty years old’s.
    Men then, who would be kids to us now.

    We sent them out with guns, tanks
    food they swapped for flowers

    with bullets, their lives
    that they bartered for a country

    to give it back to those that owned it.  

    In the slice of bread, spread of butter
    there is a meal we will always share
    a life we built together, will keep on building

    Not heaven,
    not the world of jumped up little fascists
    with their answers, uniformed corpses

    just this acceptance of ourselves
    honouring of who we want to be
    hope we can be better in what we do
    how we include, value, honour

    There are some
    that would simply call this love.  

    Alan Hill – Poet Laureate, City of New Westminster, November 11th, 2017. 


  • Candice James

    Candice James is a professional writer, poet, visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter, workshop facilitator and book reviewer. She completed her second three year term as Poet Laureate in June 2016 and was appointed Poet Laureate Emerita November 2016. She is board advisor to Royal City Literary Arts Society and director of the Pacific Festival of the Book. She is founder and past president of Royal City Literary Arts Society; past president of the Federation of British Columbia Writers; and past director of SpoCan. She is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. She also is founder of: Poetry New Westminster; Poetry In The Park; Poetic Justice and Slam Central. She has been keynote speaker at Word On The Street, and Black Dot Roots Cultural Collective and has judged the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and Jessamy Stursberg Youth Poet Award for the League of Canadian Poets. She is the recipient of Vancouver Pandora’s Collective Citizenship Award and recipient of the Bernie Legge Artist/Cultural award.

    Candice is author of thirteen books of poetry with five different publishers: A Split In The Water (Fiddlehead 1979); Inner Heart – A Journey (Silver Bow 2010); Bridges and Clouds (Silver Bow 2011); Midnight Embers – a Book of Sonnets (Libros Libertad 2012); Shorelines – a Book of Villanelles (Silver Bow 2013);   Ekphrasticism – Painted Words (Silver Bow 2013); Purple Haze (Libros Libertad 2014) A Silence of Echoes (Silver Bow 2014); Merging Dimensions (Ekstasis Editions 2015); Short Shots (Silver Bow 2016) and Colours of India (Xpress Publisher, India 2016; The Water Poems (Ekstasis Editions 2017).

    Candice has featured at many venues both civic and public and appeared on television and radio.  She has presented workshops, mentored writers; written prefaces and reviews, published articles, and short stories. Her poetry has appeared in many international anthologies and her poems have been translated into Arabic, Italian, Bengali and Farsi. Her artwork has appeared in Duende at Goddard College of Fine Arts, Vermont, USA.




    (Commissioned for the Civic Dinner Feb 26, 2013)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate

    Outside the New West courthouse

    There stands a bronze statue;

    Of a man bound by integrity,

    Steadfast, strong and true.

    In 1858 he came to shape our history,

    A man of dedication,

    Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie.


    And just like this great gentleman

    You’ve answered duty’s call

    To serve in your community

    For the greater good of all.

    You give your time and effort

    On advisory boards, committees.

    You are the very heart and soul

    Of our Royal City!

    You’re the citizens’ advocates;

    The guardians of progress;

    The underlying spirit

    Of our City’s success. 

    You create a better tomorrow,

    Exercising conscience.

    With service and commitment

    You are making a difference.

    Tonight we’re gathered here

    To honour and to thank you

    For your care and dedication;

    And though there’ll be no statue

    You are the grass roots soldiers

    Filled with civic passion.

    You are the unsung heroes

    When all is said and done.

    You are the very heart and soul

    Of our Royal City!



    (Commissioned and read at Remembrance Day 2012)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate

    Freedom bought at such a cost;

    The fallen soldiers loved ones lost.


    Distant and so far away,

    On battlefields the soldiers lay;

    What a grievous price to pay.


    Words alone cannot portray

    This debt we owe but can’t repay.

    We honour the fallen soldiers today.


    But for the grace of God

    Go yours or mine

    To fight freedom’s battles

    On the front line.


    But for the grace of God

    Go you or I

    With a broken heart

    And tear filled eye.


    To the sons and daughters

    Who lost their lives…

    We salute you. 

    Your legacy lives. 

    Your memory survives.


    Freedom bought at such a cost;

    The fallen soldiers, loved ones lost.


    We wear the blood red poppy,

    Lest we forget.



    (Commissioned poem © 2014 read at May Day Banquet)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    The young girls of May

    Pristine, beautiful and elegant;

    Cheeks polished to a rosy shine,

    Eyes sparkling like fine wine,

    Are shining

    In this, their moment in the sun.


    The warm caress of history

    Casts its spell of enchantment

    Onto the May Day Ceremony

    And the young girls of May,

    Setting their hearts aglow.


    The May Queen

    And her Royal Suite

    Hold court in the Royal City

    Decorating the day

    With windblown wishes

    And perfumed dreams.


    May Day arrives on little cat feet

    And slides away on sleepy smiles.


    It comes and goes in a heartbeat

    But its echo remains forever

    In the hearts and souls

    Of the young girls of May.



    (Commissioned for 2012 May Day Banquet)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    Apple blossoms dress the trees

    And kiss the morning dew

    On this day of celebration

    In the Royal City.

    Today will shine in wisps of white

    And sparkle bright with crowns

    As our May Queen and entourage

    Grace this day of joy.


    The Maypole dancers ring the pole.

    Music fills the air.

    A feeling of camaraderie and people everywhere.

    Queens Park shines and comes alive,

    With pomp and ceremony on this special day,

    To see our May Queen crowned.


    The Royal Knights, a sight to see,

    Tuxedos and dress vests;

    These proud guards of chivalry

    Stand by their lady’s side.

    The May Queen and her Royal Suite,

    True grace and elegance, decorate each May Day

    In tiaras, gowns and crowns.


    The Honorary Banquet,

    A feast fit for a Queen;

    The Mayor’s regal remarks,

    The Royal Lancer Dance,

    And as the celebration ends


    The scent of apple blossoms;

    The sparkle of spring dew;

    The soft touch of a white glove;

    A young girl’s magic smile.


    The flavour of this day and night

    Indelibly imprinted….



    (Commissioned poem for Remembrance Day ceremonies 2011)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    Courageously they marched forth into Hell

    Amidst the gunfire, mortar shells, and death;

    The brave hearts left there where their bodies fell

    What name was on their lips at their last breath?

    They have our admiration and respect

    These architects of freedom; heroes all,

    As teardrops fall old memories reflect

    The brave young hearts that answered duty’s call.

    They gave their lives to keep the hounds at bay,

    These saviors still remembered through the years.

    A somber day, this day, Remembrance Day;

    A day of courage, sacrifice and tears.


    To these brave hearts we owe an unpaid debt;

    The blood red poppy worn, “Lest We Forget”.



    (Commissioned poem for 145th May Day Celebration 2016)

              © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    There’s a special feeling in the air

                        spilling over everywhere;

    a vibrant mood that permeates

                        a history that resonates.



              There’s a special magic to this day

    we love to celebrate each May.



    At the May Day Festival,

    the Civic Dinner and the ball,

    the Royal Suite, the May Day Queen

    and Maypole Dancers set the scene.



    These young girls and boys of May

    are dressed up in such grand array;

    handsome boys and girls so pretty

    decorating our fair city.



    Glory, pomp and history,

                        dancing, rhyme and melody;

                                  a breath of fresh air every year,

                          eliciting a smile and tear.



         There’s a special magic in this day

                       we love to celebrate each May.




    (Commissioned and read at the 2010 Remembrance Day Ceremonies

    with the Duke of Westminster, the keynote speaker)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate



    We wear the blood red poppy

    Lest we forget.


    Warfare, bombs, shrapnel, torn bodies,

    Threat of foreign occupation,

    Our flag raised, unfurled;

    Sound of bugle and drum;

    Our sons and daughters

    Called to battle,

    Fighting, in distant lands

    To keep our true north strong and free.


    Veterans and raw recruits

    Fighting, laughing, crying, dying;

    Side by side, adrift,

    On a bloodied tide of bodies.


    On Armistice Day

    We remember

    Those who stood tall

    For freedom;

    Freedom, bought with blood,

    Sweat, death and tears;

    An indelible debt

    Impossible to repay.


    We honour these heroes;

    These architects of liberty;

    These fallen saviors of freedom;

    Today, tomorrow and forever.


    We wear the blood red poppy

    Lest we forget.




    (Commissioned poem read at the opening of Anvil Centre September 14, 2014)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    In the heart of downtown

    She stands proud and tall;

    A community gathering place for all;

    The Anvil Centre shaping and molding

    Arts, drama, poetry, dreams unfolding.


    A theatre, state of the art in all ways.

    Recitals, performances, conferences, plays;

    Artists, actors, writers, musicians

    Dressing her halls with creative expressions.


    Our City’s fingerprints nestled inside

    Museums and Archives on history’s tide


    The Anvil Centre…

    Bold in her architectural face;

    Truly a landmark to celebrate

    The meeting of minds in a cultural zone;

    The Anvil Centre – New Westminster milestone.



    © 2014 ~ Read at Metal Sculpture Dedication at Hyack Square

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    In a heartbeat,

    so near

    yet so far,

    the separation,

    once impending,

    becoming reality.


    He’s going away.


    The line of soldiers

    march down the street

    toward a foreign land.


     ‘Don’t go Daddy.

    Wait for me Daddy.’


    Too young to understand

    the meaning of war,

    he stretches out his tiny fingers

    to grasp his Daddy’s hand;

    to hold on tight;

    to make him stay.


    ‘Don’t go Daddy.

    Wait for me Daddy.’


    In a heartbeat,

    so near

    yet so far ,

    his Daddy fades from view…


    He’s gone away.



    (Commissioned for May Day Banquet 2015)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    May …

              A special texture to the days;

                       A satin flow to the nights.


    May …

              Filled with warm gentle breezes

                       That wrap themselves around you

              Like a gossamer blanket of dreams.


    AND …

              Sparkling inside this blanket of dreams,

                       Innocence coming of age,

                                 Climbing out of childhood’s cradle.

                       Skipping through star-dusted minutes and hours,

                                 The May Queen and her Royal Suite,

                       The Royal Knights and May Day dancers

                                 Decorating a city tradition

    again and again; again and again.


    May Day in the Royal City,

    So many memories:

                       Rehearsals, Speeches, Parades, Banquets.

    Years become windblown pages,

                       Crowns handed down throughout the ages.


    These special days of May

                       Ebb and flow,

                                 On waves of enchantment,

                                          In the everlasting sea

                                 Of New Westminster history.


                       May Day in the Royal City;

                                 A time honoured tradition.


    May … 

                                                              It never cease to be.



    (Commissioned poem Remembrance Day 2015)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    They live on in our memory

    Those architects of liberty,

    Who travelled to a foreign land

    To serve our country on command.


    They set their boots on foreign shores

    To fight for freedom by the scores.

    The gunfire echoed overhead.

    Men fell wounded; some fell dead.


    Embattled soldiers in the Corp.

    Will tell you.

    War is hell…

    And hell is war.


    Reverberating through the years:

    The emptiness and the tears;

    The stain of anguish and bloodshed;

    The silent bodies of the dead.


    They gave their lives to keep us free,

    Those architects of liberty.


    We wear the blood red poppy...

    Lest We Forget.



    (Commissioned for Canada Day 2011)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    Canada, the land of the strong and the free,

    Is filled with lush beauty and bold pageantry.

    The tree lined shores of the five Great Lakes;

    The Yukon gold rush, the miner’s stakes;


    The jagged rocks and harsh craggy shore

    Of Newfoundland and Labrador;

    New Brunswick’s famous magnetic hill;

    Nova Scotia’s storms and Atlantic swill;


    Prince Edward Island’s red soiled ground;

    Quebec, where French accents still resound;

    Ontario, the Canadian Parliament’s base;

    Manitoba, the proud Cree and Metis race;


    Saskatchewan nights painted with a soft kiss

    And the true north’s Aurora Borealis;

    Alberta, Lake Louse, Banff National Park,

    Sparkling jewels, each a shining landmark;


    British Columbia, Rocky Mountains high;

    Waterfalls whisper as Eagles fly by.

    Chilly nights in the Northwest Territories;

    Wolves howl at the moon and whisper ghost stories.


    This land is ours from sea to shining sea.

    Each one of us is very fortunate to be

    Residing in this great land of liberty

    Helping to shape Canada’s history.


    Peer through this Canadian Kaleidoscope

    Stand strong, proud and tall with your heart full of hope

    This brilliant creation splashed on nature’s page,

    This glorious country is your heritage.



    (Commissioned poem for May Day Banquet © 2013)

    © Candice James, Poet Laureate


    Wishing, hoping, dreaming

    Anticipation and emotion,

    Excitement, nerves, anxiety


    Time ripples by

    In slow motion frames

    Splashing into this moment


    Suddenly the day arrives

    May Day 2013 in the Royal City


    Organdy dreams

    And golden smiles

    Sparkling eyes

    And fluttering hearts

    Young girls

    Spun into young ladies

    In the twinkling of an eye


    How beautiful they look

    In their flowing gowns of white

    Their perfumed hopes and dreams


    The May Queen, Her Royal Suite

    And the Royal Knights

    Infusing the atmosphere

    With windblown wishes

    And surreal sighs


    This day and these moments

    Will resonate forever

    In your hearts and minds

    And shine throughout the years

    Star dust and diamonds

    In a black satin sky….

    Incredible, indelible moments!