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Conexus Arts Centre Commemorates Fifty Years of Making Memories

Conexus Arts Centre Commemorates Fifty Years of Making Memories

August 24, 2020

On this day in 1970 the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts was officially opened by Governor General Roland Michener to serve Southern Saskatchewan as a Centre for performing arts and exhibitions, banquets, meetings and graduations.

The building, designed by Izumi, Arnott, and Sugiyama, is an Estevan brick and Manitoba Tyndall stone structure which houses a performance theatre, Convention Hall, Jacqui Shumiatcher Room and various conference rooms and lobby display areas and is also home to the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Although originally intended as a Canadian centennial project in 1967, it was not opened until 1970 at a cost of $7.7 million. The reason for the delay was due to an overheated construction industry and rising costs. With finances unavailable the steel structure sat for almost two years with a large sign in front stating "World's Largest Monkey Bars."

The Centre immediately provided a replacement for downtown cinema buildings which were also theatres for stage plays, such as the Regina Theatre (which had burned to the ground in 1939), Regina Grand Theatre (which closed in 1957), and the Capitol Theatre (demolished in 1992). Regina's Globe Theatre performed at the Centre of the Arts from its opening, till they moved to their current downtown location in 1981.

From the first day of opening to the present, the Centre has accommodated world renowned, travelling performers as well as serving as a theatre and concert hall for local performers; it has often been used as a private facility for social functions such as wedding receptions, banquets, graduations, meetings, conferences and cabarets throughout its 50 year history.

Key dates and facts in the Centre's 50 years:

  • August 24, 1970 the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts officially opens with a Gala evening

  • August 30, 1970 Fiddler on the Roof is the first musical to perform

  • September 15, 1970 The Regina Symphony Orchestra performs for the first time

  • March 4, 1978 The Centre hosts Telemiracle 2 organized by the Saskatchewan Kinsmen and Kinettes

  • December 31, 1989 The Centre hosts the first of many annual White Night New Year's Eve celebrations for families with entertainment, games and fireworks

  • 1990 saw the conversion of the Box Office system from manual tickets sold in two locations to computerized network available across the province.

  • September 24, 1992 Phantom of the Opera makes its Saskatchewan debut for a month long run at the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts

  • December 9, 1992 Les Miserable makes its Regina debut with the start of a 3-week run over the holidays

  • November 16, 1995 the Centre is the host venue for the CFL Players awards as part of the Huddle up in Saskatchewan Grey Cup festivities

  • March 17, 1998 Riverdance makes its Regina debut on St. Patrick's Day

  • In 1998 the Centre underwent a significant renovation project to address building structure, mechanical systems as well as accessibility concerns

  • March 12, 1999 the Centre hosts the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards to recognize outstanding career achievements of First Nations Metis and Inuit people

  • June 3, 2002 Prince performs a sold-out show, ticket prices averaged $100

  • During the Saskatchewan Centennial in 2005 the Centre hosts a luncheon with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip as honoured guests

  • January 5, 2006 the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts was renamed the Conexus Arts Centre when Conexus Credit Union made a very generous donation

  • October 28, 2007 the Centre hosts the Gemini Awards and Post Gala. The Geminis recognize achievements of the Canadian Television Industry

  • March 26, 2010, for a second time, the Centre hosts the 2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards for distinguished First Nations, Metis & Inuit people

  • November 21, 2013 the Centre hosts the CFL Players Awards during the 101st Grey Cup celebrations

  • August 31st, 2018 the Centre hosts the 1st Shake the Lake Music festival featuring classic rock entertainers Cheap Trick and Trooper as the headliners

  • March 17, 2020 the Conexus Arts Centre temporarily closes due to COVID 19

A more comprehensive timeline of key events, dates and acts that have performed over the last 50 years can be found at https://www.conexusartscentre.ca/50th-anniversary.

The Conexus Arts Centre is an Agent of the Crown responsible for providing facilities for entertainment, exhibition and the promotion and presentation of artistic, educational and cultural activities of a local, provincial, national or international nature. In addition, the Centre provides catering and convention services.

The Conexus Arts Centre is managed by a team of dedicated employees experienced in many aspects of the entertainment and hospitality industry and an appointed, volunteer Board of Directors and Chair of the Board. A listing of the executive over the 50 years is as follows:

1970/72

Executive Director - Michael Wood

Chair of the Board - H.W. Padwick

1972 to 1976

Executive Director - Michael Wood

Chair of the Board - E.G. Anderson

1976/77

Executive Director - George C. Haynes

Chair of the Board - Donald C. Keith

1977 to 1982

Executive Director - George C. Haynes

Chair of the Board - Kim Thorson

1982 to 1987

Executive Director - George C. Haynes

Chair of the Board - Orris J. Keehr

1988 to 1990

Executive Director - John Hill

Chair of the Board - Joan P. Berntson

1990 to 1991

Executive Director - John Hill

Chair of the Board -Gerry Edwards

1991 to 1993

Executive Director - John Hill

Chair of the Board -Deborah Wells

1993 to 1994

Executive Director - John Hill (April 1993 to January 1994)

Chair of the Board -Deborah Wells

1994 to 1995

Executive Director - Paul Moulton

Chair of the Board -Deborah Wells

1996 - 2007

Executive Director - Jim McCrum

Chair of the Board -John Paul Ellson

2007 - 2009

Executive Director - Jim McCrum

Chair of the Board Bryan Leier

2009 - 2012

Executive Director - Jim McCrum

Chair of the Board -Kenneth W. Noble, QC

2012/2013

Executive Director - Jim McCrum

Chair of the Board -Rick Mantey

2013/2014

Executive Director - Pat Youzwa

Chair of the Board - Rick Mantey

2014/2015

Chief Executive Officer - Neil Donnelly

Chair of the Board - Rick Mantey

2015 to 2020

Chief Executive Officer - Neil Donnelly

Chair of the Board - Jim Hopson

Present

Chief Executive Officer - Neil Donnelly

Chair of the Board - Mary Taylor-Ash

Thank you to all the amazing performers, staff, volunteers, event organizers, and guests for an incredible 50 years and we look forward to welcoming you back for the next 50.

Over the last 50 years the Conexus Arts Centre has consistently delivered memorable guest experiences by facilitating and providing convention, catering and entertainment activities. Be it a theatrical production, a wedding, a conference or graduation, many residents of Southern Saskatchewan have been enriched through the events held and produced at the Centre and we look forward to holding many more events in the future.

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Administration: 306-565-4500

 

Box Office: 306-525-9999

 

Toll-Free: 1-800-667-8497

Fax: 306-565-3274

 

Email: reception@conexusartscentre.ca

 

Address: 200 Lakeshore Drive Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 7L3

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