Winnipeggers know and love their reputation as a centre for artistic expression and excellence. There is a large creative community that feeds this dynamism we all thrive within – actors, technicians, dancers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers (to name a few) who enrich our lives every day and keep us on the world stage. Yet, the vast majority of those artists won’t have the means by which to afford housing as they age.
PAL Winnipeg is a not for profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing affordable housing for members of our community particularly those individuals in the performing and allied professions.
PAL Winnipeg has been looking for some time for the perfect place to call ‘Home’. Nothing quite matching that description has yet surfaced and we have experienced one or two setbacks in our quest. Along the way, we have been heartened by the experiences of our fellow PALs across the country.
Like Winnipeg, each community has had their own unique set of challenges to overcome. Many have experienced a number of setbacks that caused them to continue their search for many years until they uncovered their ideal location. However, in each case the end result was, as they say, worth the wait. Perhaps it’s the creative spirit inherent in all our work: somehow, they always found a way to make sure the show – or building – was up and running for opening night. And we have no doubt that it will be the same way for us.
The PAL Winnipeg board is actively exploring a number of excellent options that should lead to our ability to provide affordable housing for performing artists and community members in need. We hope to be able to announce our plans in 2017.
Our goal is to create vibrant, vital residence, so that our PAL members – ranging from actors to opera singers, indy filmmakers, designers and visual artists to musicians at the Folk Fest and Times Changed – can all and always have a home.
In 1986, performing artists organized Performing Arts Lodges of Canada (PAL), a national, non-profit, registered charitable organization, to meet the special needs of its people, with particular emphasis on affordable housing for elderly members of the community. In 1993, the organization opened its first Lodge, Pal Place Toronto, with the assistance of the Government of Ontario, providing rent-geared-to-income and controlled market rent accommodation for over 200 arts workers. PAL Place in Toronto has been inspirational – it has been successful in creating more than building – it has nurtured an atmosphere where a vibrant and contributing community can continue to flourish. Since its construction, other PAL Chaptershave formed in Halifax, Stratford, Edmonton and Calgary. PALVancouver is broadly supported by both public and privatefunds and is now an established residence – they completed their beautiful state of the art building in 2006.
PAL is a community
When Global TV produced a documentary series about PAL Place in Toronto called The Limelighters, this was their description of that community:
The building is filled with performers, writers, dancers, painters, directors, stage crew, managers and arts and entertainment production people from every branch of the industry. These are people who have a refreshing view of aging and apply a playful approach to living. Perhaps this is because of their backgrounds from within an industry that thrives on playfulness and imagination or because of the kinship and camaraderie that has developed within the walls of the lodge.
We are working toward making PAL Winnipeg just such a place. Active, artful ageing in an urban environment.
The Supporting Cast
Support is a big part of PAL’s Vision – a team of volunteers known variously as The Supporting Cast or PAL’s Angels are an integral aspect of the caring environment PAL Lodges provide.
PAL Winnipeg has initiated the Supporting Cast Committee who will help establish our own volunteer network to assist residents with a number of practical issues of daily living. PAL Angels make sick visits in hospital and escort residents to their doctor’s appointments or to the theatre. It is through this network of support and care giving that PAL residents can continue living on their own and, for many, to continue working well into old age.
PAL’s motto, Caring For Our Own, is no idle boast but a serious promise to those who have given much to all of us through their dedication to the Performing Arts – the elderly pioneers of Canada’s performing arts industry who created the standards of cultural excellence which reflect the country and instill pride for the quality of Canada’s artistic products.
Help us fulfill that promise. Join the Supporting Cast Committee and make a difference in the lives of those who spent their lives making a difference in ours. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org