Meet Mississauga's New Poet Laureate

Wali Shah has ‘TEDx speaker’ and ‘performed with Selena Gomez and Kendrick Lamar’ on his resume.

Now the Mississauga resident is adding Poet Laureate to his credentials.

The University of Toronto Mississauga student will assume the role - taking the reins from Anna Yin - this week.

Shah’s selection as Poet Laureate makes a statement about the arts in Mississauga, said the city’s director of culture Paul Damaso.

"Like Wali, our arts scene is young, cool, and emerging with unlimited potential,” said Damaso.

“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."


During the April 26 council meeting , Shah read a piece called Poem for Canada Day.

“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 is 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.”


The spoken word poet is performing at Mississauga Celebration Square during Canada Day celebrations.

Shah will be serving as a literary ambassador to audiences within and outside of the city, raising the profile of writers in Mississauga, and creating an artistic legacy through public readings and civic interactions.

He’ll also serve as a mentor to the city's Youth Poet Laureate, Rebecca Zseder.

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