Every community must have a reason to exist. Inspired by the many successful arts groups that have been such a large part of its history, the Ancaster Village has chosen Arts and Culture as its heart and soul. We are well on our way to making this community a destination for artists and arts lovers alike. The Village has Fieldcote Museum and the popular Music at Fieldcote concert series. Ancaster Farmers Market and the Old Fire Hall Arts Centre. Heritage Days and the Griffin House. Creations Gallery, the Barracks Inn, and many fine restaurants. We are well on our way to becoming a fantastic destination for both residents and visitors. The Ancaster Arts Centre, with a 450 seat theatre, a studio theatre, gallery, and multiple rooms for art, theatre, and dance is of a threshold size that it will clearly establish the Village as an Culture and Arts destination. It will be a jewel in the Crown of the City of Hamilton.
This vibrant arts centre will serve as home to many of Ancaster’s successful and popular community arts groups as well as provide a venue for the community to enjoy many professional performers and artists.
The new Ancaster Art Centre is located in the heart of the Ancaster Village. Formed in 1793, the Village of Ancaster is the third oldest community in Ontario. Its location was significant as it was on the crossroads of both north-south and east-west wagon trails and had an excellent creek with sufficient head and flow for a grist mill (now the famous Ancaster Mill). By 1822 Ancaster was the largest settlement in Upper Canada with a population of 1700 and had made the short list for the capital (eventually won by Kingston). Around this time water transport became the most import factor in a community’s growth and subsequently Hamilton, Dundas, and Toronto (with their excellent harbours and access to the great lakes for shipping) grew by leaps and bounds while Ancaster was ‘frozen in time’. As these other cities and towns grew, land was at a premium. Out of necessity the buildings in their downtown cores touched each other, creating a single dimension streetscape whereas Ancaster was frozen in its three-dimensional form.
When you drive through Ancaster today, it consists of building, grass, building, grass etc…one can actually see the sides of the buildings which is extremely rare for a Canadian main street. This striking 3-dimensional streetscape has been preserved by zoning (minimum set-backs between buildings) and secondary plan (controlled design and material guidelines). This unique heritage community is really a ‘master’s canvas’, albeit an unfinished one. If we paint the last strokes carefully and accurately it will become a very special place forever. The Arts Centre will be the most important and final of these strokes.
The vision for the Ancaster Village, as established by the Ancaster BIA, is to create a Complete, Liveable, Walkable Community sympathetic to its Heritage. There is a detailed action plan for each one of those five goals, and the Ancaster Arts Centre stands at the forefront of each one.
People Behind the Vision
“…this is a legacy project for our community. This is big news for Ancaster…”
Lloyd is a lifelong Ancaster resident who has served the Hamilton community in a variety of roles with not-for-profit groups and organizations, including the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, Hamilton Utilities Corporation (2000-2004) and Hamilton Health Sciences. His previous political experience includes terms as Ancaster Town Councillor (1984-1994) and the Wentworth County Board of Education (1981-1984).
Lloyd is currently the Ward 12 Councillor for Ancaster on Hamilton City Council and the current Chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board. In Lloyd’s professional life, he retired as the General Manager of Dufferin Construction after 32 years and was past president of one local, two provincial and one national Construction Associations.
Lloyd’s dedication to the Ancaster Arts Centre project began in 2011 when he and then Ancaster BIA chair Bob Wilkins conceived of the idea. Since then, thanks to Lloyd’s unwavering leadership, this exciting Ancaster legacy project is becoming a reality.
“…the Arts Centre will be a jewel in the crown of Hamilton….”
Bob’s passion for his hometown of Ancaster is evident in his selfless dedication to the many cultural and historical projects that would not have been possible without his leadership and generosity. Meetings with Bob will often turn to infectious and inspirational chats about the rich past and exciting future of the community. In 2006 Bob formed the Ancaster BIA which has been instrumental in promoting and preserving the historic Ancaster Village. Serving as BIA chair for 8 years, Bob’s dream of a ‘Liveable, Walkable Community Sympathetic to its Heritage’ has led to positive change in City policy that will ensure the beauty and history of the Village stays with us forever.
Bob’s vision for the Centre is for it to be a threshold size that will make it the final stroke on the master’s canvas that is the Ancaster Village.
“…thanks to our incredible community arts organizations we have quietly become one of the largest and most successful arts scenes in the province…”
Proud Ancaster boy Colin has spent the past couple of decades working internationally in all aspects of the entertainment and arts industry, all the while bringing his experience and expertise back to his special hometown. Colin’s experience in administrating arts of all genres has proved invaluable in coordinating the eventual users of the Centre. His years of work with our community artists enable him to assess what the Centre will need to become in order for it to fulfill the exciting vision, while remaining practical and sustainable. Colin’s belief in the vision, dedication to serving this project and our community, his relationships with all our community arts organizations, and extensive contacts in the industry make him a singularly qualified asset to this unique facility.
Standing on the foundation built by Lloyd and Bob, Colin is the perfect person to lead the Ancaster Arts Centre into the future.