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I had the good fortune to live at PAL Toronto and see firsthand the way the PAL experience served to enable and enrich the lives of so many artists many of whom were Canadian headliners. Frances Hyland, Murray Westgate, and, our national treasure, Maureen Forrester all called PAL their home, and I know how important, even crucial, PAL was to their lives and the lives of so many others. PAL provides a safety net, a nurturing community and a continuity of lifestyle to people whose lives are lived to bring their art and artistry to Canada and the world. Having lived at PAL I can attest to the fact that it is often a critical sanctuary for people who have contributed greatly to our cultural landscape and sometimes at the end of financially erratic careers find themselves in need of the support and peace of mind that is PAL.

Richard Fitzpatrick, actor
Executive Member, PAL Stratford board

I remember the early days when Roy Wordsworth and I were going around interviewing people and talking about coming into PAL. Some of the people were a bit reluctant because they thought there would be no privacy, and who would want to live with a whole lot of other actors and artists anyway. And we said, if you want to shut your door and be private it's private, nobody bugs you, nobody bothers you, but the beauty of it is, you get in the elevator and it's "Good Morning, Good Morning." Where else do you hear that?

I think I know 90% of the people by name in this building, that's 205 apartments! Where else can you find this? You go down to the mid-morning Kaffeeklatsch in the Green Room and there they all are, chatting about life in general.

There's wonderful support at PAL, and so many people have benefited. Also you're not isolated because this is a true community. In another building the chances are no one would be bothered if something happened to you, here people check because they care about one another. I say to the younger generation, that the people who have come before you are true trail blazers, they understand from experience that you never know what the future holds or what your needs will be. PAL is literally a lifesaver in some cases; it extends the length of life for some people and the quality of life for most.

Kenneth Wickes, actor

To be human, we may surely agree is that we are tribal, for protection, for sustenance, for comfort we are hardwired to band together. We associate to thwart danger, provide relief from all forms of hunger and celebrate the joys of life.

At PAL all our fundamental needs, unique to the performing arts are abundantly met. Only if one has experienced the terror of an opening night, a wretched script or the possibility of waning faculties can an accepting if not approving family be vital.

We are a tribe defined by shared peril and elation. We have learned to both give and receive trust. In all the collective endeavours at PAL, a community has been created that serves to honour the traditions we hold specially dear.

Here in downtown Toronto, proximate to every quotidien requirement, this community flourishes: there are garden plots on the roof (I've grown corn and tomatos), A library that slakes a literary thirst, rehearsal rooms, a Green Room with a Stage, a lobby drop box for scripts that is never locked and a Supporting Cast that neglects no one's immediate or ongoing necessities.

And after 15 years, no politician has failed to seek our counsel. Some worthy tribe!

Paul Soles, actor
PAL Toronto

In the mid-80's Tom Patterson and myself were neighbours in Cabbagetown. I still consider it my luck day when he asked me if I had applied to PAL. In those days, I thought only seniors could apply as I was too young but Tom convinced me to start the "paper trail". Thank Goodness I took his suggestion.

Even tho' I was on Tour with "Les Miz" when the sod was turned at 110 The Esplanade, they caught up with me through Mirvish and just before we took off for Hawaii we were performing in Hamilton so I got in on my day off to sign the papers.

Well, Feb. 1/08 a number of us celebrated our 15th year at PAL! I still feel the same way as I did when I moved in – safe secure and happy.

With PAL's central location (50 steps to St. Lawrence Market) close to theatres, shopping, the Subway and dozens of restaurants we managed to get through the storms of '08! and I know we are in the core of a 'happening town.'

And the people (or PALs) of PAL – Wonderful! Having met mostly singers, actors and musicians in my life it is terrific to mix and meet writers, publicists, dancers, techies and directors.

There's always something going on in the Lobby and Green Room (which is now a beautiful shade of terra-cotta), whether it is laughter, singing or teasing. We all leave our ego on her sidewalk and more concern for the gorgeous black and white Collie mix or the Terrier just back from the Vet's. GREAT!

We've has some major losses of dear PALs in the past few years but also have been the subject of some interesting [TV] documentaries: Barry Aurich's "Glitter Palace"; CBC's Profile of our Great Canadian Treasure and PAL, Maureen Forrester and the most recent series from Global TV, "The Limelighters", which brought attention to some of our wonderful shy stars who are once again home after an international career.

I was lucky enough to visit Tom Patterson several times at Sunnybrook and always reminded him how right he was about PAL!

Arlene Meadows, former host Dinner Classics on Toronto's The New Classical 96.3 fm.
She appeared at the Stratford Festival in HMS Pinafore, in 1992.

We've got friends all around us. What could be better than that?

Jack Duffy, actor
PAL Toronto

I have lived here for thirteen years, the longest time I have ever stayed in one place. what makes PAL permanent for me? The people - many are intelligent, funny, talkative and somewhat dramatic. I like that.

Marguerite Andersen, writer
PAL Toronto

It's an enormous comfort to me to be residing at PAL. The location is within walking distance to shopping (of any kind); movie houses, library, theatres and of course The St. Lawrence Market!

But even more than that are the residents. We care about one another! Old friends and new –we look after and help one another whenever needed. Don't misunderstand; if you want to be alone – shut your door-go out- go up to the roof gardens – whatever. If you want company – it's there.

Morning coffee with discussions about politics, television, books, movies, plays, you name it!

The bottom line is…I love it here!

Victoria Mitchell, actor
PAL Toronto

During the time 1998-2001 I worked as Constituency Assistant for John Richardson, MP, Perth-Middlesex, I was fortunate to get to know Tom Patterson.

Whenever Tom came to Stratford he would drop by the office at 10 Downie Street to chat and it was during one of his visits that he let us know he wanted to lobby for a Performing Arts Lodge in Stratford.

Tom knew many local artists that would be very grateful to have such a residence filled with friends who shared the same love of arts and culture.

This was the first time I learned about PAL.

Cathy Winhold,
former Constituency Assistant to the federal Member of Parliament, John Richardson

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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.