Ontario Supports the Stratford Festival's New Tom Patterson Theatre Centre
Infrastructure investment will stimulate tourism and culture sector, creating jobs
STRATFORD — The Ontario Government, along with its federal counterparts, are supporting infrastructure investments to help build the new Tom Patterson Theatre Centre at North America's largest classical repertory theatre company. This infrastructure investment will boost Ontario's tourism and culture sector.
Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary and Member of Parliament for London West, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, joined Ontario Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton to mark an important project milestone. Today, the festival held a topping off ceremony, which was celebrated by lifting a beam signed by festival supporters into place.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are each investing $20 million in the infrastructure project.
"Cultural spaces like the Tom Patterson Theatre Centre in Stratford are a vital part of our communities — they bring together artists, families, neighbours and friends," said MP Young, on behalf of the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. "This new theatre will also attract more visitors and create more opportunities for people to work, play and enjoy our city."
"The Stratford Festival is an exciting theatrical experience for the whole family," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure. "William Shatner, Maggie Smith and Christopher Plummer have graced its stages. This is a special place, one that nurtures talent and a strong local economy that benefits the whole community. This infrastructure project will help the festival prosper into the future."
"We're proud to support the Stratford Festival so it can continue to attract locals and visitors to experience world-renowned live theatre," said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "The Stratford Festival has a long history of enchanting audiences with a wide range of theatre productions. Our investment will build on this legacy, so the festival can remain the gem of southwestern Ontario that it is."
"Building a new Tom Patterson Theatre has been a dream for many years, and it is so thrilling to see the project coming to fruition with the placement of this beam today," said Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival. "We are grateful to the federal government and the Province of Ontario for their enormous support of this project, which promises to bring millions more in spending to the beautiful city of Stratford."
The old Tom Patterson Theatre was located in a converted curling rink, had cramped seating and limited backstage areas. The 110-year-old building had reached the end of its lifespan. The new theatre will provide increased seating capacity and extend the venue's theatre season; this will draw an additional 52,000 patrons to Stratford each year, creating more than 200 new jobs and economic activity of $14.5 million annually.
The project broke ground in March of 2018 and is expected to open in the spring of 2020 — on time and on budget.
- The Stratford Festival is a classical repertory theatre company that presents an annual season of plays ranging from Shakespeare and other classics to Broadway musicals and premiers of new Canadian work.
- Between April and November each year, the festival presents 12 or more plays in its four venues in Stratford.
- The festival welcomes 500,000 visitors per year; about 25 per cent of its audience comes from the United States, with tours and transfers of its productions into New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and many Canadian cities.
- The direct and indirect jobs created by the festival total nearly 2,200 in Ontario alone, representing $103 million in wages and salaries.
- The festival generates about $134 million in economic activity annually.
- The 2019 Ontario Budget includes planned infrastructure investments of $14.7 billion for the fiscal year and a commitment to invest about $144 billion over the next 10 years.
- The Government of Canada’s Budget 2019 builds on the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, under which the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in community infrastructure across the country – $25.3 billion of this funding is supporting social infrastructure in Canadian communities.