Senior Nationals

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2020 Online National Finals


On Friday, April 17 at 1pm Eastern, watch as the top 9 student reciters from across Canada lift poetry off the page and compete for over $35,000 in prizes. Meet our judges, poets Joséphine Bacon, Gwen Benaway, Anne-Marie Desmeules, Moe Clark, Pierre Nepveu, and Greg Santos, and find out who they’ve chosen as this year’s champions. Our host, former CBC Radio personality Johanne Blais, will lead the celebration and honour all 24 of our National Semifinalists.


In previous years, the 24 top-scoring students from our Senior Online Qualifiers are invited to compete at the National Semifinals. Then at the National FInals, the top 3 students in each of our three contest streams (English, Bilingual, and French) compete and we award the following:

  • 1st place: $5,000 for the student, $1,000 for their school library, with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books
  • 2nd place: $1,000 for the student, $500 for the purchase of poetry books for their school library
  • 3rd place: $500 for the student, $250 for the purchase of poetry books for their school library

With poetry-themed cultural activities, this is a truly immersive event: To date, we’ve hosted a Q&A with Margaret Atwood for finalists and their teachers; poetry-themed gallery tours of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario; a screening of Al Purdy Was Here followed by a Q&A with director, Brian Johnson; the Amazing Recitation Race in Vancouver; the Epic Toronto Poetry Showdown; the Epic Winnipeg Poetry Hunt; writing workshops for students; and best-practice workshops for teachers.

    Looking back at the 2019 National Finals in Winnipeg

    Watch the Finals

    Watch the English Semifinals


    Watch the French & Bilingual Semifinals


    Looking back at the 2018 National Finals in Toronto

    The Awards Show:


    The English Qualifiers:


    The French & Bilingual Qualifiers:




    Looking back at the 2017 National Finals in Vancouver

    English Finals & Showcase

    In this event hosted by Bill Richardson, the top 6 students from the English Stream Qualifiers competed for the prizes for themselves and their school libraries. The French and Bilingual winners from earlier in the day were also showcased.



    French & Bilingual Finals

    During this event hosted by Johanne Blais, six students in the French Stream and six in the Bilingual stream competed for the $5,000 grand prizes.



    English Qualifiers

    Hosted by former English Champion Roan Shankaruk, this competition features twelve high school students from across Canada reciting 3 poems from our anthology. The top 6 students advanced to our English Finals.



    Resisting, Surviving, and Embracing: Nationhood and Identity on #Canada150

    Poet Jordan Abel led a discussion among indigenous writers on the concepts of Canadian and Indigenous nationhood and the ways in which those ideas are expressed through poetry. 





    More information

    For judges:


    National Finals
    National Finals