On Sept. 10, the City of St. Catharines received a major $500,000 donation for the new Performing Arts Centre. The money was given by Niagara-on-the-Lake residents Joe and Anita Robertson. In recognition for their gift, the city has decided to name the centre the Robertson Theatre.
The Robertson Theatre currently under construction is located at the corner of Carlisle and St. Paul streets, near Brock University’s Marilyn L. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The new downtown theatre will feature a wide range of arts and performances when it opens, including theatre, music, dance and film. The total cost of building the theatre was approximately $60 million.
“Supporting the Arts community is important to our family, Joe Robertson said to guests at the Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery where the announcement was made.
“Anita and I moved to Niagara a long time ago, because we felt that the quality of life was unparalleled compared to other regions. And now adding thus purpose built and beautifully designed performing arts venue will enhance the Niagara experience for everyone who lives and visits here. For this reason we are honoured to be part of this project,” he said.
Mayor Brian McMullan, who accepted the donation on behalf of the city, recognized how the new Robertson Theatre will help establish a reputation for the city as a centre for the arts.
“Donor support will help set the stage for success at our new Performing Arts centre and put St. Catharines in the spotlight,” Mayor Brian McMullan said.
“We appreciate the community’s generosity as their support furthers our efforts to encourage growth of the arts and culture in our city,” the May added.
After the announcement, Quebec-based Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie gave guests an amazing dance and musical performance – the occasion was to highlight the kind of talent the performing arts centre hopes to attract to the venue for future shows. The 95,000 square-foot Robertson Theatre was designed by Diamond & Schmitt Architects which will feature four venues.
The Government of Canada contributed nearly $18 million to the construction and design of the theatre through the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund. The Ontario government also contributed $18 million and the remaining $24 million was donated by the City of St. Catharines. The city is also looking to raise a further $5 million through a community fundraising campaign before it opens next year, sometime in the fall.