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Archived - Construction Begins on Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre

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KINGSTON, ONTARIO, May 15, 2012 Queen’s University students and Kingston residents are one step closer to having a new cultural landmark. Federal, provincial and municipal representatives along with Queen’s University and the Bader family are celebrating the start of construction on the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. 

The new complex will help to ensure that Queen's University students, as well as Kingston residents, have access to exceptional creative and artistic experiences in their community. Scheduled to open in early 2014, the world-class teaching and performance venue will feature a 560-seat concert hall with superior acoustics; a 150-seat ‘black box’ studio theatre; a climate-controlled art gallery; a film screening room; and rehearsal space. In addition to presenting performances, concerts and festivals from the local region and all across Canada, the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts will become the new home for four creative arts departments at Queen’s University. 

“I am delighted that this project is moving forward and that Queen's and Kingston will soon be able to enjoy first-rate artistic and cultural experiences on campus,” said John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister, regional minister for Eastern and Northern Ontario, and Queen’s University alumnus. “This is the type of investment our government is proud to support as we focus on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in communities across Canada.”   

“The Ontario government recognizes the contributions of the performing arts sector to local communities and to Ontario’s economy. In 2010, the sector generated nearly $516 million in revenue,” said the Honourable John Gerretsen, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “Kingston and Queen’s University are leaders in the cultural life of our province.  With this investment, we have not only created jobs, but we’ve given students and staff the facility they need to keep Ontario at the forefront of the performing arts and postsecondary education.” 

“Today is an exciting day as we celebrate this dynamic facility that will bring together and showcase arts and culture in Kingston, said Mark Gerretsen, Mayor of Kingston. “Kingston has a thriving arts and culture community and the construction of the Isabel Bader theatre at Queen’s is a great extension of that. I look forward to all the opportunities this new performing arts centre will bring to our great city.”

“Queen’s has grown in many ways since my happy and life-altering days in the early 40s,” says Queen’s benefactor Alfred Bader. “Our world seems to have gotten smaller and we need even greater opportunities to interpret, understand and appreciate it. Isabel and I believe that the study of the arts can help us do that, and a performing arts centre is a way for us to thank Queen’s for the wonderful help I received here.” 

“The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts will provide Queen’s University with one of the finest collaborative arts facilities in Canada, and will create opportunities for more diverse programming,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “The Centre will also enhance creative cooperation between Queen’s and the City of Kingston; the increased artistic programming will help develop cultural tourism in our region, generating significant economic benefits for local residents.” 

The Governments of Canada and Ontario are each contributing up to $15 million toward the eligible project costs. Generous benefactors of Queen’s University, Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader, have provided $31 million to the Centre. The City of Kingston has committed up to $6 million in funding support, and Queen’s University will contribute $5 million. The total estimated cost of the performing arts centre is $72 million. 

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on creating new opportunities for jobs and growth, and securing long-term prosperity for Canadians. Infrastructure investments are an important part of this strategy. Thanks to the Government of Canada's leadership, and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other countries. Canada has been a leader among G-7 countries throughout the recovery with more than 750,000 net new jobs created since July 2009. To learn more about the opportunities in Economic Action Plan 2012, visit

This project supports Building Together, Ontario's long-term infrastructure plan, to build better hospitals, roads and transit and is part of the Ontario government's plan to create and support jobs for Ontarians.  Building Together will strengthen Ontario’s economy and help meet the needs of local families. Ontario’s planned investments of more than $35 billion over the next three years will create or preserve over 100,000 jobs on average each year. Since 2003, the Ontario government has invested more than $75 billion in infrastructure. 

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For additional information about federal investments in infrastructure, visit

For more information on how Ontario is revitalizing its infrastructure, visit


Geneviève Sicard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Tanya Blazina
Media Relations
Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Michael Onesi
Media Relations Officer
Queen's University
613-533-6000, ext. 77513 

Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251 or toll-free 1-877-250-7154

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