May 23, 2015


Happy birthdays

The West End Cultural Centre had a big birthday bash on the weekend, marking 25 years at the corner of Ellice and Sherbrook entertaining Manitobans and helping to reshape its neighbourhood.

Begun by folkies as a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation of music outside the mainstream, it has grown and expanded over its short life without losing its animating focus or appeal, drawing 28,000 people a year to a funky venue recently renovated at a cost of about $4 million.

The milestone birthday party, however, was only one of many held in Winnipeg this year. While the WECC can boast that the core of its renovated venue is nearly 100 years old, at 25 it is the new kid on the block.

Prairie Theatre Exchange reached middle age this year, marking the Big 4-0 as a professional theatre specializing in works by Canadians and Manitobans.

It was joined by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, which also was formed in 1972 and turned 40.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra turned 65, with no retirement in sight. And the Winnipeg Art Gallery is in the midst of celebrating its 100th birthday, making it Canada's oldest civic art gallery with a collection of about 24,000 works.

While not milestones, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet turned 73 this year and Le Cercle Molière turned 87.

Happy birthday to them all.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2012 A10

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