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Ribbon cut on Performing Arts Lodge

As posted on the Stratford Gazette website, May 27, 2013.

By Chet Greason, Gazette staff

The doors are open at Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) Stratford’s affordable housing units and artists from all walks have begun moving in.

During a ceremony Saturday morning, campaign patron Christopher Plummer cut the red ribbon, officially opening the home that provides five affordable apartments to aged actors, visual artists, and performers.

According to PAL past president John Banks, the idea for the home was originally laid down by Tom Patterson in 1999.

“I didn’t think it’d take 14 years,” he told the gathered crowd from the home’s porch.

A large catalyst for the purchase of the PAL house was an affordable housing grant received last year which allowed for the purchase of 101 Brunswick St., a historic building known as the Deacon House. The home, which sports the tallest chimneys in the city, was renovated and split into five comfortable living spaces, along with a communal foyer, sitting room, green room, and kitchen.

PAL president John David Sterne noted that pets would also be allowed.

“You don’t have to part with your pal to move into PAL,” he laughed. “Although we discourage llamas.”

Glen Dias, of the local band Rant Maggie Rant, is one of PAL Stratford’s first residents. He helped to celebrate the official opening by singing a rendition of Bring Him Home from Les Misérables.

“I live here!” he exclaimed, pointing out his second floor suite just before breaking out into the song. “This is the easiest it’s ever been for me to get to a gig on time … sorry I’m late.”

Following the ceremony, Dias was warm and welcoming despite the bite in the air outside.

“I had double jitters: nerves, of course, but it was also freezing,” he said.

Before moving into PAL Stratford on April 1, Dias said he was living with a friend. He explained the opportunity to relocate to PAL came through his long-running acquaintance with John Banks.

“This comes at the perfect time in my life,” he added.

The public was allowed inside to look around the building. Plummer and his campaign co-chairs, former Stratford Festival artistic director Des McAnuff and former Liberal MPP John Wilkinson, greeted visitors as they passed through.

“We’ve been talking about this for years,” said Plummer. “We all need something like this … especially Stratford.”

The veteran thespian added the atmosphere of the home is ideal for artists who, after long careers, deserve to be looked after “like we all do.”

However, there is still much work to do. The federal affordable housing grant, matched by the province and distributed through the City of Stratford, contributes $750,000 to the purchase and reno of the house; after which the home will still be left with a $400,000 mortgage.

To raise funds, PAL Stratford has initiated its “Places, Please” campaign, which seeks to raise the needed money.

With Plummer lending his famous name and face to the cause, organizers hope the mortgage will be paid off by the fall.

Special thanks to all PAL Members, speakers and attendees for joining us at the Grand Opening of PAL Place Stratford. Many articles were written and photos taken. Check the linds below to see more or go to the Opening Home Page which also has all the links.

Articles on the Web

Photo Slide Shows

Audio Files


Copyright © 2016 PAL Stratford (a chapter of PAL Canada)
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.