Signature - McCullough

Signature Ad

Signature Ad


Big Box

Arts & Life
Click here to see more
Community Calendar
Click here for full listings.
Are you planning on attending this week's public session on the Event Centre project?

Total Votes: 26
View Results Past Polls
User Submitted Photo Gallery
Submit Your Own Photos
2014-05-01 at 15:15

Mortgage free

By Jamie Smith,
Dance BasicsDance Basics For Pre-Schooler; Mom & Tot Dance Classes for ages 2-6 years. Next sessions starts November 7th.Dance Basics

Margaret Westlake's lifelong passion now lives on at Magnus Theatre.

When her husband, Arnold, wanted to move to Thunder Bay in the 70s, part of the reason she agreed was because the city had a theatre. The Westlake's soon became actively involve in the community, Arnold becoming president of the board and Margaret taking the chair of the fundraising committee.

"It was simply part of her life when she was in Thunder Bay," Arnold said.

She fell in love with the stage in her teens and even convinced her son David to pursue a career in the business.

"After 30 years I'm not so sure he's thankful for the advice," Arnold joked at Magnus Thursday morning where it was announced that the theatre's debt would be paid off by the Westlake's in Margaret's name.

From now on theatre-goers will be heading into the Margaret Westlake Magnus Theatre Auditorium, a plaque overhead as they take their seats, to honour Margaret who passed away in 2012.

Artistic director Mario Crudo said he wished he could've met Margaret. And it's only right that a 16-year fundraising campaign for the theatre should come to end thanks to the support of a family that gave so much to the organization. Crudo said you couldn't ask for better people to be honoured.

"We're so pleased that it was Mr. Westlake who came forward to save the day for Magnus Theatre. It's so fitting," he said.

It was a great day for Crudo and company when they found out about the Westlake's donation, which is undisclosed but six figures.

"We were literally jumping for joy. You could hear us all when the news first came in," he said.
Magnus no longer has to use fundraising efforts for loan payments. Instead it can focus on the stage and youth programming. 

"It will give us more freedom creatively and financially," Crudo said.

"It could mean shows with more actors. You know, it's no accident that occasionally we do shows with one or two actors."

Westlake and Crudo celebrated with a bit of theatrics themselves by lighting a symbolic mortgage on fire to great applause from the room. Crudo said it was a thrill for everyone to be able set "that damn debt," as the building's namesake Penny Petrone used to call it, ablaze.


Click here to report a typo or error

Banner/Vector Construction


We've improved our comment system.
Duncan Debunker says:
While one can appreciate the philanthropic aspect of this story, I fail to see the logic in such a decision.

I mean, private money can go wherever private money wants. It seems irrational to me however, to assume Magnus won't inevitably fall back into the same situation. Especially when you take into account that attendance has been declining consistently these last few years, and will most likely continue to. This is a similar story in almost every city with any local theatre. Not that I don't wish for the situation to change, it just doesn't appear our society is geared for that.

I could be wrong, but I just don't see a huge boost in local theatre anytime soon. And that's exactly what Magnus needs to sustain profitability.
5/1/2014 4:26:54 PM
tsb says:
Always the optimist! Thank you for this thoughtful contribution.
5/1/2014 6:16:25 PM
SG says:
Hello Negative Nellie! For heaven's sake it's their money and their family's lifelong passion. Irrational to you. To me, happiness. Give it a shot.
5/1/2014 8:33:16 PM
Mazda323 says:
Duncan, or whateveryournameisthisweek, have you ever been to Magnus Theatre? I've been a season ticket holder for years, a lot of the shows are sold out, and some even being held over, due to popular demand. If you have no knowledge, just zip it, ok? Your negativity is depressing to say the least.
5/1/2014 10:25:52 PM
Duncan Debunker says:
LOL..jeez people take a deep breath. You'd swear I was calling for a plebiscite or something.

First off, if my initial comment was just an unimportant, uninformed, depressing waste of webspace, what are the three comments afterwards?

Second, why so defensive? I simply pointed out that a busiiness in debt needs more than just a financial boost. Nobody wants to know why they were in debt in the first place? Like I said, I would love to see the Magnus prosper, but you can call me negative all you want, don't you wonder what that makes you?

@Mazda: Explain 6 figure debt if you they had sold out attendance and shows held over for popular demand? Unless they've added some new wings I'm not aware of.

5/2/2014 1:11:35 PM
DougMyers says:
I'll answer that, because your post was pure ignorance, plain and simple.

They are not in debt due to poor management or a shortage of audience.

They have a mortgage that was used to build the beautiful new building they and renovate what was already there.

The debt was well managed and never needed a bail out along the way. It was a just a long term, expected and planned for debt that was always hanging over their head.

Now they no longer have to worry about that.
5/2/2014 2:42:54 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Forgot password?
Log In