The West End Cultural Centre is one step closer to its redevelopment goal. In a lunchtime press conference at the venerable Ellice Avenue venue, Cliff Penner -- President of Ventura Custom Homes -- announced a $250,000 donation towards the West End's project, called Take Centre Stage. As a result, the concert hall will be named the Ventura Theatre when the new West End opens in 2008.
“Music has always been one of my passions,” Penner said in a press release, “and I have spent many great evenings enjoying concerts at the West End.”
The West End is internationally recognized as one of Canada's best small music halls. It's hosted countless performances from every musical genre, fostered the careers of emerging talent, and made a real impact on its inner city community through its programs. The building itself was converted from and church in 1987, and over the years has started to show its near-100 year age. There was talk of relocation, but the West End ultimately decided to rebuild and stay in its community.
The new West End is intended to be North America's first "green" performing arts centre. Complete with geothermal heat, a high-efficiency roof, and recycled materials from the old building, the new hall will meet LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Gold standards. It will also have a larger concert hall, a hall for community programming and intimate concerts, full wheelchair access, and improved patron services.
With Ventura's donation, the West End has achieved 75% of its $3.3 million goal. Construction is planned for Spring 2008. The West End's regular concert schedule isn't expected to be interrupted.
Individuals can show their support for the West End by donate to its new “Strike a Chord” campaign. For more information, please visit www.wecc.ca.