The Mary Winspear Centre is beginning a $2.5 million fundraising campaign for eventual renovations, and it began on July 9 with a $100,000 donation from Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier.
In an interview, Trottier said she and Morgan have been residents of North Saanich for 12 years, and Sidney is their home base and their community.
“The Mary Winspear Centre is really the heart and soul of Sidney,” said Trottier in an interview. “It’s used for everything, activities like yoga, arts, sculpture, antique shows. So without the Mary Winspear Centre, there’d be a real hole in this community.”
Trottier said the expansion and upgrade was important, and the community was important to them.
Their foundation typically focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers (STEM) for youth, but Trottier said they made an exception because of the facility’s importance to their community. In the past, they have also donated $1 million to Camosun to support women in trades and to the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, among other recipients.
Brad Edgett, executive director of the Mary Winspear Centre, said the facility is 17 years old and requires continual maintenance and improvement.
“Gifts like this will go to new lighting, new sound, new technology in the theatre. Constantly upgrading the centre to give the patrons what they deserve,” said Edgett.
Edgett said it is the first major fundraising initiative the Centre has undertaken in the last decade. The community raised $7.3 million to build the theatre at the turn of the millennium, but he said it is time to bulk up the reserve fund for continual improvements.
The Centre is funded in part by the District of North Saanich and the Town of Sidney, said Edgett, but that only covers about a third of their operating costs. It is not wholly owned by a government entity like the Royal and McPherson Theatres, which are owned by the Capital Regional District. The remainder of their operations are funded from the proceeds of their events.
The Centre recently upgraded the flooring in the Bodine Family Hall, and the donation from Morgan and Trottier would go to similar infrastructure improvements via a reserve fund.