NAR: Music and entertainment now sound out from the Lyric
Stage. Gail Asper's family spearheaded this splendid outdoor
stage after a suggestion by Hartley Richardson.
GAIL ASPER, PARTNERS IN THE PARK
One amazing day Hartley Richardson called to speak with my
father and me. So Hartley said: I want to come to talk
to you about a project I have in mind. Anyway Hartley showed
up and unveiled this amazing plan to refurbish the Pavilion
and restore it into a beautiful art gallery. And also this
other idea that just resonated so perfectly with my father
- to build an outdoor Theatre that would perform free shows
for the public. And within a few hours my dad had bought
into the idea. I have never seen him take to an idea so
rapidly and so whole-heartedly.
Originally there was a band-shell in the early 1920 and 30s
and my grandparents would tell me about coming out in their
best bib and tucker on a Sunday with their parasols to
watch and listen to the orchestras.
It's music it's dance it's cultural expressions. We have
Ukrainian dance, Scottish dancers, lots of jazz, jazz is
It's working out beyond our expectations. We now do over
50 free concerts. This summer we have Ballet in the Park,
we have the Winnipeg Symphony, and we have children's entertainers.
It has become a special place.
THE FUTURE OF ASSINIBOINE PARK
No one comes to live in a city because you've got great paved
roads or a really good sewer system. Nobody moves to a city
for that reason. The greatest things in this world are cultural
cities driven by their architecture, their opera house, their
physical and cultural assets. But that takes money and that
takes investment. But boy, does it pay off.
The issue with us has been how do you get things done. Who
is responsible for getting things done? For forty-two years
since I have been living here we have watched how things
didn't get done here. How the conservatory deteriorated,
how this building the pavilion was empty, nothing happened.
in the Park are really the organization that looks after
the three new developments: the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden,
the Pavilion Gallery and the Lyric. I think its important
that communities realise that individuals can make a difference.
We shouldn’t just be sitting back all the time and
expecting our governments to do things.
We have to be the leaders. We have to start planting the
oak trees of tomorrow. The people will say my god could you
imagine if someone didn't have the foresight to do Assiniboine
Park. We have a legacy from Assiniboine Park. And we have
to make sure we do not allow this legacy to be ignored and
to be underdeveloped.
what I would love is for all governments and all municipalities
to recognize that if you can't do something legitimately
don’t stand in the way. Don't be a roadblock when someone
else comes to you with a great idea. Be grateful, facilitate,
open the doors and give them the pat on the back. At the
very least say, go for it, we are behind you in whatever
we can do to support you.
It's about what we leave for the generation. And the generations
beyond. And this is timeless. This setting is timeless;
the Park has been reborn.
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