Poet Laureate

Crafting a voice for Tofino!

The Tofino Poet Laureate acts as an ambassador of literacy, writing poetry that celebrates, commemorates and comments on significant events and issues in the community.

desk with writing quill

Current Poet Laureate

Janice Lore 2024 - 2026

Janice Lore Tofino Poet Laureate

Photo: Nora Boileau Morrison

Janice Lore has had a life-long love of poetry and theatre, and has written poetry, plays and stories since she was 7 years old. “Writing,” she says, “is one of the ways I make sense of the world.” As Tofino’s 2024-2026 Poet Laureate and longtime Tofino resident, Janice can be found around town performing poetry and facilitating community events that celebrate local poets and other creatives.

Janice was raised on a farm in southern Alberta, and comes from a large family of entrepreneurs. In 1994, she moved to Tofino BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Janice ran her own accounting business for almost 40 years while writing poetry, creative non-fiction, fiction and plays, and collaborating with other artists on various performances. She has the ubiquitous novel in a drawer (as well as a play!) and is still trying to write a poem about a dream she had, in which she was looking for the balancing accounting entry for a poem.

Janice’s work has appeared in various anthologies and literary magazines, and on CBC Radio. She is interested in multi-disciplinary art projects and is inspired by collaborating with other artists. She scripted and staged a performance of her poetry chapbook, Ipsissima Verba, a “found” poem about math, philosophy, definitions and a middle-aged woman’s life. Her first commissioned work, “Requiem for the Fridge”, was written on the door of a dead refrigerator. She also makes handmade books to showcase her poetry.

Janice is a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group and Federation of British Columbia Writers, and an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. She is a founding member of Performance Anxiety Collective, a performance poetry collective, which first presented its work to the public in December 2011. She is also a member of The Diversity Project, a performance group formed to explore universal themes through a tapestry of art forms. Their first show, Unwrapping Fear, was performed in 2014.

I Mention This Because - Presented at the Opening Ceremony for Headwaters Housing on June 7, 2024.

Past Poet Laureates

Heather Hendry 2022 - 2024

Heather Hendry is an emerging poet who has lived in Tofino, BC for 5 years, on the unceded traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. She is a passionate school teacher and has worked at Wickaninnish Community School in roles ranging from kindergarten, Indigenous support, to grade 6/7.

This year she is making the move to Ucluelet Secondary School where she will join the Indigenous Support team. She shares her passion for writing with her students through her after-school creative writing club, which she has offered for the last 3 years.

A member of the Federation of British Columbia Writers and an associate member of the Canadian League of Poets, Heather is the author of her debut collection Handmade Binoculars. Her work has appeared in Sea & Cedar MagazineVan Isle Poetry Collection and League of Canadian Poets Poetry Pause. Heather is also an active member of the Clayoquot Writers Group, which has been an immense support in her writing journey.

Christine Lowther 2020 - 2022

Christine Lowther has gratefully resided in ƛaʔuukwiiʔatḥ ha’huulthii since 1992. She is the editor of Worth More Standing: Poets and Activists Pay Homage to Trees and its youth companion volume, Worth More Growing. She is the author of four poetry collections: Hazard, Home; My Nature; Half-Blood Poems; New Power. Her work has been published in literary magazines, on public transit, and in anthologies including Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia. In 2014 the Pacific Rim Arts Society presented Christine with their inaugural Rainy Coast Award for Significant Accomplishment. Her memoir, Born Out of This, was shortlisted for the 2015 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. She won the Federation of British Columbia Writers’ 2015 Nonfiction Prize and was shortlisted for the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize. Christine works for Vancouver Island Regional Library: Tofino branch and at Tofino General Hospital.

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Joanna Streetly 2018 - 2020

Joanna Streetly is the inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate. She grew up in Trinidad and moved to Vancouver to study Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness Leadership. A deep love of sea kayaking and the ocean brought her to the coast and she has lived here since 1990.

Joanna’s most recent book, Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast, is a BC Bestseller published by Caitlin Press. Other titles include Paddling Through Time (Raincoast Books) and Silent Inlet (Oolichan) as well as This Dark (poetry, Postelsia). She has worked as a sea kayak and whale watch guide and in the nineties, she co-edited The Sound Magazine. You may also find her working weekends at the Tofino General Hospital.


To learn more about the Tofino Poet Laureate program, contact:

Karen Habib
Culture & Events Programmer

250-725-3229 ext. 604
Email Karen