More than just the movies at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre


The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre located Downtown St. Catharines has provided an outlet for entertainment for the residents and visitors of the Niagara Region since its establishment. Hosting a variety of events, shows and performances, and with over 600 events annually, there is surely something for everyone to enjoy here throughout the year. There is never a dull moment as the PAC has “7 day-a-week activity for 48 weeks a year”.

Considering their loaded schedule, PAC welcomes hundreds of volunteers. Brock University students wishing to get involved at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as a volunteer can contact Cora Sperry at or apply directly through their website at Note that volunteers must be over 18 years of age and a Smart Serve certificate is required along with a criminal police check.

Communications coordinator at the PAC, Jordy Yack, extends an invite for students to check out the upcoming instalments of The Film House. Films from every genre are showcased, such as drama, comedy, sci-fi, thriller and family friendly movies. Yack mentions, “(at) The Film House, we have the region’s only dedicated arthouse cinema. We pride ourselves in not screening typical Hollywood films. We have first-run features, documentaries, international and local films, cult classics and more.” For those wishing to divert from the typical movie going experience, you will find on August 24 2017, a free outdoor screening of the film Splash directed by Ron Howard. Patrons attending are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets for seating on the Mann Raceway Plaza (behind the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre). The event is beach themed so all are encouraged to come out at dusk to enjoy a laid back event under the summer sky before the semester starts.

The Film House also offers membership packages which allows discount offers on films and screenings. Yack guarantees an exceptional experience at the Film House, “our cinema is licensed, so patrons can enjoy a glass of wine or beer with their popcorn.” Among the list of diverse narratives are:  Turner Ross & Bill Ross’ Contemporary Color, (August 23), Beatriz at Dinner (Aug 25), Fantastic Mr. Fox (Aug 26) and Strangers on the Earth  (Aug 30). Do not to worry if you cannot make these dates, these films are running throughout the month at different times.

Another noteworthy upcoming event at the PAC is highly anticipated, Celebration of Nations from September 8 to 10 2017. The event is promised to bring -a chance for the Niagara community to enjoy and experience a heightened appreciation for the contributions of the Indigenous arts and artists. Scheduled for an perfomance is Buffy Sainte-Marie with The Ollivanders on Sep 8, 2017, with tickets beginning at $17.50., She is also scheduled to be featured on Sep 9, 2017 for In Conversation w/ Buffy Sainte-Marie & Santee Smith.

This event provides a platform for the works, art, and achievements of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to be celebrated. Also on the program are fashion shows, interactive workshops, musical showcases and definitely an unforgettable experience for those in attendance.

For those looking to expand their musical horizons, on Friday September 29 at 7:30PM, award winning Maesha Brueggergosman is scheduled to perform her showcase of the “Canadian African Experience.

Student tickets are 25$ and can be bought from the box office or PAC’s website. Maesha will bring to the stage a showcase of the “Canadian African experience”. Her set is based on her forthcoming album and documentary film, Songs of Freedom.

Beginning September 12 2017, tickets go on sale for PAC’s Hot Ticket line up. A plethora of artists, musicians, both local and international celebrities and actors will be gracing the stage.

Some include the works of Lisa Simone, Benoît LeBlanc with special guest Christine Bougie, poet Shane Koyczan and Jann Arden to name a few.

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre provides an space for eye opening, inspiring and an interesting assortment of narratives for its patrons to indulge in.

I will encourage you to go and check out what this gem right in St. Catharines has to offer as it provides a varying outlet for entertainment at an reasonable cost all year round.

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