Glossy book celebrates Confederation Centre's 50th anniversary

Nigel Armstrong
Published on May 31, 2014

The Confederation Centre of the Arts is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new 200-page, full colour book. Attending the launch event are, from left, Carol Horne, chief marketing officer for the centre, Gracie Finley who played Anne from 1968-74, then again in 1984 and 1985, and Harvey Sawler, lead author on a collaborative team that created the book.

©THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

The Confederation Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new book.

The Centre For All Canadians: Confederation Centre of the Arts - Five Decades of Inspiration and Excellence is 200 pages, full colour, now on sale for $34.95.

There is also a French translation by staff member Monique Lafontaine.

See 52-page online sample


On the front cover is a reproduction of the massive and iconic 1964 oil painting Charlottetown Revisited by Jean Paul Lemieux.

"The rich colours really say a lot about how rich our culture is here," said Carol Horne, chief marketing officer for the centre.

The front flap blurb says the book "is a carefully crafted collection of memorable images and fascinating stories from various archives and dozens of outstanding and interesting Canadians. The book recalls Confederation Centre's past, celebrates the present and imagines the Centre's future."

There is a photo of skateboarders on the concrete steps from 1993.

There is an explanation of the totem pole peering through the glass of the lower concourse.

There are memories from 50 Canadians who performed, showed or presented at the centre, including Karen Kain, Stephen Lewis, Anne Murray, and Christopher Pratt.

Great names in the book jog memories from the centre's colourful history, like Moncrieff Williamson, Don Harron, Jonathan Torrens, Robert Harris, Henry Purdy, John Fenwick, Alan Lund, costume designer Frances Dafoe, Gordon Pinsent, or Barbara Hamilton.

"I always look at the pictures hanging on the walls of the past performers and feel a direct sense of being connected to a very rich and long tradition," reads a quote from Catherine MacLellan.

"There is just so much wealth of culture, memories, experiences that Islanders really needed to share so we thought the best way to do it was in a gorgeous commemorative book," said Horne.

The idea took shape last fall and the team, all P.E.I.-based and led by author Harvey Sawler, began work just before Christmas. Kate Westphal of Graphic Detail created the design and archivist Paige Matthie dug up photos and information.