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PAL Stratford Newsletter: April, 2012

Local Seniors Invited to Register for National Talent Competition

Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT is excited to announce that Senior Star will be held in June, Canada’s largest talent competition dedicated to seniors. Now in its 6th year, this singing and musical instrument competition is open to anyone who is 65 years and over and a Canadian resident. Registration forms can be obtained at Anne Hathaway Retirement Residence. Contestants do not have to be living in a Chartwell residence.

During the Regional Competitions, contestants are given a maximum of five minutes to sing a song, play an instrument, or do both, and their performance is videotaped. Musical accompaniment is provided to singing contestants, if required. A panel of three judges, made up of local musical experts, government officials, and media representatives choose the top three local contestants, each of whom will be recognized with a Senior Star trophy.

Videos of the first and second place winners from across Canada are then submitted to a celebrity panel of judges who will narrow the list to nine competitors invited to compete in the Senior Star National Final. The National Final will be held in November 2012 in Niagara Falls, Ontario at the Scotiabank Theatre.

For more information, please contact: Barb Savelle, 519-275-2125 or go to this link:

PAL Place Stratford is now a Reality

by Gordon Sherwin

After a ten-year search for a property, PAL Stratford purchased 101 Brunswick Street on February 14, 2012. The process was not without challenges, the closing date had to be extended several times while we arranged for the removal of conditions, the most difficult of which proved to be mortgage financing. The property had to be rezoned to allow for five affordable housing units.

A significant portion of the financing will come from the affordable housing program, a joint federal provincial fund which is administered by the City of Stratford. In addition, a first mortgage was provided by LIBRO Finance Group. PAL Stratford will also embark on a $400,000 capital campaign, the funds from which will be used to repay the mortgage. At the end of the campaign it is hoped PAL will own the property free and clear.

We are currently working with Marklevitz Architects Inc., who have been a strong supporter of PAL for many years. Final drawings are being prepared and we hope to apply for the building permit by May 1st. Construction will likely begin in late May or early June.

Our Annual General Meeting on April 24th was held at the house and members had the opportunity to tour the property at that time.

This is an exciting and challenging development for all of us and the culmination of many years of hard work. We all look forward to the final realization of this dream, with the opening of PAL Place in October.

Report from the President

John Banks

It has been several months since our last Newsletter and I apologise. Naturally much of the Board’s attention recently has been with the purchase of 101 Brunswick Street, the former Deacon House Bed and Breakfast. However, as noted elsewhere, we are moving ahead with architect’s drawings and City permissions to create five units of affordable housing.

Leading up to the purchase were the need for inspections and the arranging of financing. The house passed the various inspections with flying colours and an attractive mortgage is now in place.

On other fronts, I am pleased to welcome three new Board members: Richard Fitzpatrick, an actor (recently seen in the popular Global TV series Bomb Girls) and a former Board member and Vice-President of PAL Stratford; George Jansen, owner of West End Pharmacy, who has a strong interest in the Arts; and Allan Watts, owner of the garden store “Anything Grows” and an active member of our community. We have also been fortunate in recruiting Allan Tye, a retired teacher, to serve as our Recording Secretary.

Last autumn we commissioned a Fundraising Feasibility Study from Campaign Coaches, a fundraising consultancy. Their report gave us encouragement to plan for a Capital Campaign to raise $400,000.00 which will be used to reduce our mortgage. Details of the Campaign are now being put into place.

We have also engaged the services of Tim Welch Inc. as our housing consultants. They have helped PAL Stratford materially by assisting our relations with: Canada Mortgage, we have an interest- free loan from that organization; and with the City where we have successfully had 101 Brunswick rezoned to permit apartments. Also, with their help, we applied for and received funding for affordable housing.

Over the past six months PAL Stratford has been involved in several fundraising activities. Notably, last October, Expect the Extraordinary, which involved both Bombs over Broadway – a cabaret produced by Shane Carty featuring performances by Company members – and a Silent Auction.

In August we joined with St James Church to present A Place to Sing, an afternoon of operatic favourites performed by local singers with international reputations.

In December we paired with Start Stratford Arts and Culture Magazine in a Christmas Bazaar which was held at Factory163. PAL managed the bar and also received a portion of the admission price.

n conclusion, I want to thank the Board and my hard-working Executive Committee, Treasurer Sarah Drake and Director Gordon Sherwin.

John Banks,
President, PAL Stratford

The Gardens at PAL Place

Allan Watts
In spades

After an initial meeting and inspection of the exterior of the property at 101 Brunswick Street, it has been left in my hands to create a work plan to clean and tidy up the ‘gardens.’

While the general state is somewhat overgrown and weedy, we have identified exciting potential with some plant material, and a few very interesting spaces in the garden.

A list currently exists of those who have indicated they would like to help with the project and any new helpers are welcome. To-Do Lists will be available for volunteers at the AGM. These lists will identify what needs to be done, project by project, and what to do with the material pruned or collected on site.

Hello All!

Jessica Bowles,
Membership Coordinator

It is that time of year again when PAL membership fees are due. Please support PAL by sending a donation of twenty dollars.You will receive a receipt for your donation and a PAL Stratford membership card.

We rounded off last year with a total of 133 members!

If you have already renewed for 2012/2013, we wish to extend a big THANK YOU and we would like to commend you for your generous support in helping us to “CARE FOR OUR OWN.” Just a reminder that if you have any kind of change to your contact information, please let us know and we will update our records. Change of contact information and/or membership renewals can be sent to: Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) Stratford Inc. P.O. Box 21045, Stratford, ON N5A 7V4

Thanks again for all your support!

Supporting Cast

Randi Patterson

PAL Stratford’s Supporting Cast is a volunteer group providing our members with companionship and assistance in day-to-day issues of shopping and appointments. A number of Supporting Cast members gather weekly for an hour or so of coffee and conversation at Let Them Eat Cake restaurant on Albert Street. All members have an open invitation to join the group. It meets on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

At Christmas, Supporting Cast hosts a winter afternoon get-together for PAL members. For further information, please contact the Supporting Cast Coordinator, Randi Patterson at 519-271-0446 or by email.

A PAL Testimonial

Richard Fitzpatrick, Actor

Having experienced life at PAL Toronto first hand, and having met many of the people who made PAL Toronto their home, I can attest to the huge positive impact PAL had on their lives.

I saw how PAL often saved people of diverse disciplines – who worked for years as self- employed artists – from falling between the cracks.

I saw how the quality of their lives, the dignity of their lives, was sustained and nurtured by the whole PAL experience.

A number of these people had achieved the top of their professions. Several were Canadian “household names” and yet they still found themselves in shaky financial situations, sometimes brought on by health issues, but often just as a result of the incertain nature of their careers.

With the acquisition of 101 Bruswick Street, PAL Stratford will now be able to offer a similiar life saving, life enhancing opportunity and safety net to people in the Stratford community.

There are many people who, in past years, would have benefited greatly had PAL Stratford existed to assit them through difficult times. Let’s make sure it is there for future worthy individuals.

Our profound thanks to a dedicated member

We regretfully accepted Aggie (Cekuta) Elliot’s resignation from the Board last October.

Aggie and Margaret Ryerson pioneered PAL Stratford’s Supporting Cast and the coffee club weekly where many ideas were formed to assist our PAL chapter. As the original co-ordinator of Supporting Cast, Aggie made many contacts with organizations such as CCAC and other services for the elderly, to broaden the network of support for the members of PAL Stratford.

In 2011, as Membership Coordinator, Aggie and her assistant, Jessica Bowles, prepared and distributed new membership material which resulted in a considerable growth in the number of renewed memberships and new members. Today our membership stands at 133 largely due to the efforts of Aggie and Jessica.

Aggie was also active in raising the PAL Stratford profile in our community. She developed a series of monthly events which attracted publicity and patronage, one of particular note is our Rummage Sale, which not only earned a great deal of revenue, but also helped to raise public awareness of our organization.

Even though she is moving to Toronto, Aggie is determined to continue to support PAL Stratford both in committee work and as a Supporting Cast volunteer.

Pictured from left to right: Belle Reinhart (PALStratford’s
#1 volunteer since its inception!), Aggie Elliot & Margaret Ryerson

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Original web design and hosting donated in memory of former PAL board member Bruce Swerdfager.
Home page header images by Marg Boemer, Lynn Boehler, Amanda Ryan.
PAL Stratford logo design courtesy of Maxine Graham.