In September 2017, the Clayoquot Writers Group, Pacific Rim Arts Society, and Tofino Arts Council formed to create the ad hoc Tofino Poet Laureate Working Group with technical support provided by the District of Tofino. At the April 20, 2018 Committee of the Whole meeting, Joanna Streetly was announced as the inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate.                

After the success of the inaugural Poet Laureate's term, the Tofino Poet Laureate Working Group returned to Tofino Council at their December 10, 2019 regular meeting to request that Tofino Council consider a commitment of longer term funding for the program.  The goal of this request was to provide greater certainty for the program, which would enable increased access to literary grants available for projects the Poet Laureate may wish to pursue during their tenure.

Matched funding for the program was considered by Council through the 2020 budget process and was included in the draft 2020-2024 Financial Plan presented to Council on April 31st, 2020.  The program is administered by the District of Tofino with core program fundraising undertaken by the Working Group.

On May 12, 2020, Christine Lowther was appointed as the 2020-2022 Tofino Poet Laureate. Christine Lowther is an accomplished writer who has lived in the Tofino area for about 28 years.  In her application she shared that “[she] came here specifically to join the logging blockades, … [and] was swiftly introduced to some of this place’s most controversial issues and values.”  She “saw right away that Tofino was not only one community.  It was and is made up of locals/ old timers, settlers’ descendants, loggers, fish farmers, oyster farmers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, visitors, surfers, and three or four Indigenous Nations.” 

Stay connected with the Tofino Poet Laureate through the Tofino Poet Laureate website and on facebook  @tofinopoetlaureate and twitter @TofinoPoet.

Christine Lowther 2020-2022

A member of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, Christine Lowther is the author of Born Out of This, a memoir that was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize.  Her poetry books are Half-Blood Poems, My Nature, and New Power.  She is co-editor of Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place and Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast.  Her work has appeared in Rising Tides, Refugium, Sweet Water, Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia, Canada's Raincoast at Risk, The Malahat Review, the Goose and others.

Chris enjoyed a 3-month author residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House.  She gratefully received the inaugural Rainy Coast Arts Award for Significant Accomplishment.

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.

A sample of completed works by Joanna Streetly during her term:

Storm Force!
Inauguration Day
Sound Range

For more works by Joanna Streetly during her term as Tofino Poet Laureate, please visit the Tofino Poet Laureate website.

For more information on the Tofino Poet Laureate Program visit the Tofino Poet Laureate website.