2019 Award Recipients

2019 Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award Recipient

Antoni Cimolino CM,
Artistic Director, Stratford Festival

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A tireless champion of the arts nationally and internationally, Antoni is now celebrating his 32 years with the Stratford Festival.

“Antoni has consistently championed Canadian artists,” said Sylvia Chrominska, Chair of the Stratford Festival’s Board of Governors. “He has actively promoted diversity and gender parity; he has introduced a myriad of training opportunities for emerging artists; and he has forged partnerships with artists and arts organizations from coast to coast to coast.”

Beginning as an actor with the Stratford Festival in 1988, Antoni moved quickly into directing and then took on key leadership roles, serving as general manager, executive director, general director and now artistic director. In each of these capacities, he has had a transformative effect.

Among his earliest accomplishments was the extensive renovation of the Festival’s Avon Theatre and the creation of its Studio Theatre in 2002. This was followed by the establishment of an endowment foundation, which currently stands at $81 million, to help support the long-term stability of the Festival, along with such unique artist-development programs as the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, programs that benefit not just the Festival but the cultural life of the country as a whole.

In 2013, he created the Stratford Festival Forum, a season-long program of celebrated speakers, panel discussions and special performances that explore ideas arising from the works on stage and relate them to the events and issues of today. Also during that year, he created the Laboratory, a space for creative research and development with an experimental mandate, aimed at exploring new perspectives through a mutual exchange with others in the performing arts industry.

In 2018 the Festival embarked on a project to replace its Tom Patterson Theatre with a spectacular new facility. The campaign to build the space and support its operations has already reached more than $88 million of its $100-million goal, including grants of $20 million each from the provincial and federal governments, which Antoni played a central role in securing.

Building on his belief that arts should play a central role in society, Antoni was key to the founding of Culture Days, Canada’s nationwide celebration of arts and culture, which this year will celebrate its 10-year anniversary.

Throughout his career, Antoni has been dedicated to maintaining strong collaborative bonds with other cultural institutions across Canada and internationally.

Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award Partner

2019 Arnold Edinborough Award Recipient

Paul Desmarais III,
SVP, Power Corporation of Canada

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Recognizing a young business professional (40 and under) who demonstrated exemplary volunteer leadership in the arts, Business / Arts is thrilled to name Paul Desmarais III as our 2019 Arnold Edinborough Award recipient.

Leveraging his passion and knowledge of traditional and contemporary Inuit art, Paul chaired the Kenojuak Cultural Centre capital campaign, a groundbreaking partnership between the Hamlet of Cape Dorset, Nunavut and West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, which successfully raised almost $11M.

An SVP with Power Corporation of Canada, Paul committed a personal contribution to the campaign, invoked the resources of Power Corporation and leveraged his considerable professional network to achieve the fundraising goals of this campaign. Paul also engaged the Cape Dorset community, making visits to the settlement, becoming familiar with the regional history and working closely with many of the local artists.

“Paul is an avid collector of Inuit art from Cape Dorset and it was clear that this was a project of passion for him,” said Pauloosie Kowmageak, President, West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. “Paul truly embraced the spirit of this project and it’s thanks to his leadership that it became a success. As a result of this project, the artists now have state of the art facilities that are enabling the creation of larger works and new printing techniques.

Arnold Edinborough Award Partner


2019 Edmund C. Bovey Award Recipient

Mrs. Jenny Belzberg CM, AOE., LLD

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A prominent force in community and cultural affairs in Western Canada for over 50 years, Mrs. Belzberg’s vast contributions to the arts include: Board of Governors of Banff Centre, directorships or governorships with the National Arts Centre, Founding member of the Honens International Piano Competition, Alberta College of Art and Design, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation, Royal Conservatory of Music, Calgary Philharmonic Society, Calgary Art Gallery Foundation, Calgary Arts Partnership in Education Society, among many others.

Among the many organizations to have benefited from Mrs. Belzberg’s time, support and expertise, it is at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity where her impact is most felt. During her tenure, which included roles as Chair and Governor, she oversaw significant projects including the opening of the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Building and the TransCanada Pipelines Pavilion and established the Jenny Belzberg Scholarship Endowment, supports the training of Canadian and World artists.

She was also responsible for establishing Banff Centre’s premiere fundraising weekend,

Midsummer Ball, which plays a critical role in raising scholarship funds, allowing artists to access Banff Centre’s professional development programs.

“Jenny is a “classic Albertan” in her very direct and straight‐shooting way,” said Janice Price, CEO and President of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. “She is always gracious and embodies elegance, style, and conscientiousness. Artists are at the centre of her heart; she, and her family before her, deeply value artists and elevate art in their lives and community. As demonstrated by the numerous endeavours she was a driving force behind launching, she is a true visionary who sees, and finds ways to realize, the potential for the arts’ place in our communities. Jenny is wise, well‐studied and informed with regards to the arts, and her patronage and commitment to the arts organizations she supports are truly enduring. This spring, Banff Centre announced a transformative naming gift from Jenny’s children that will revitalize a world‐class learning and performance environment on campus. We are delighted to celebrate and recognize Jenny with this prestigious award.”

2019 Community Impact Award Recipient

TELUS for their partnership with Green Thumb Theatre

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Vancouver-based Green Thumb Theatre has become a staple in many schools across Canada. Each year, they tour to hundreds of schools, bringing professional productions to students who may otherwise have no exposure to theatre in their communities. 

For the past 13 years, TELUS has been a committed and supporting partner, allowing Green Thumb Theatre to create and execute relatable, educational and relevant theatre for young audiences. Throughout this partnership, TELUS has supported the development of plays that address important topics including bullying, homophobia, drug addiction, respectful relationships and consent. 

“TELUS is proud of its long association with Green Thumb Theatre,” said Nini Baird, Chair Emeritus of the TELUS Vancouver Community Board.  “With constant integrity and high artistic standards, Green Thumb has spent more than 40 years challenging youth to think differently about their actions and how they can impact social issues affecting their lives. TELUS shares this commitment to empowering youth to make social change and create remarkable outcomes in this increasingly connected world.”  

“It is an honour to work with an organization as supportive of our work as TELUS,” said Bronwyn Carradine, Education & Outreach Coordinator, Green Thumb Theatre. “Together, we are making a positive contribution to the lives of Canadian youth by addressing relevant issues that youth face in their day to day lives regardless of their cultural, socio-economic, or geographical background. As a partner, TELUS is a staunch supporter of our content and execution. This type of respect and open relationship is key to the success of our partnership, and because of this we are absolutely grateful for the continuous and specific support TELUS offers us.

Community Impact Award Partner

2019 Corporate Champion of the Arts Award Recipient

RBC Foundation

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With a commitment to investing in the places where they live and work, the RBC Foundation’s support of the arts has been a long-standing priority. As a company, RBC recognizes that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies.

Delivered primarily through RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project, RBC helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established. With a focus on three core pillars: Exposure to new and diverse audiences; access to networks and connections; and mentorship, RBC Foundation has reached over 11,000 emerging artists since 2015, and given more than $80M to arts organizations across Canada since 2003. The RBC Foundation supports organizations including: The Royal Conservatory of Music, Canadian Film Centre, Canadian Opera Company, TIFF, Writers’ Trust, UNITY, Canadian Stage and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

“At RBC, our commitment to the arts includes supporting artists in the earliest stages of their careers and helping artists bridge the gap from “emerging” to “established”,” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “We are thrilled to continue our support of the Arts, and to help even more emerging Canadian artists pursue their bold ambitions.


Corporate Champion of the Arts Award Partner