Parks Canada

Parks Canada

July 08, 2009 10:58 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates the Historical Significance of Manitoba Theatre Centre

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - July 8, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today celebrated the national historic significance of the Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC), which he designated a National Historic Site of Canada, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"The Manitoba Theatre Centre was part of a renaissance of arts facilities in Winnipeg and played an important role in the revival of the city core," said Minister Prentice. "I am proud that our government has recognized the historic significance of this wonderful theatre and is committed to preserving Canada's heritage for the benefit of generations to come."

"This is great news for Manitoba. As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, the Manitoba Theatre Centre is a model for regional theatres throughout America," said the Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Regional Minister for the province of Manitoba. "It is my hope that through this designation, more Manitobans, and people from around the world, will experience all that theatre has to offer."

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2007/08, the Manitoba Theatre Centre was Canada's first English-speaking regional theatre and, under founding Artistic Director John Hirsch, became a model for regional theatres throughout North America. The Manitoba Theatre Centre is an excellent expression of small-scale Brutalist architecture in Canada in its poured concrete forms, solid massing, interior layout and exposed structure. It is an exceptional theatre building because it creates an intimate atmosphere in the auditorium and foyer for its patrons, and encourages, through its architecture, a stronger relationship between audience and actor by allowing theatregoers to observe stage activity behind the curtain and sense the players' anticipation of the performance.

The MTC was designed in 1969-70 by Michael (now Robert) Kirby of the Winnipeg architectural firm Waisman Ross Blankstein Coop Gillmor Hanna, in collaboration with Eddie Gilbert, Artistic Director of the MTC. Kirby and Gilbert's teamwork produced a small regional theatre building of refreshing novelty, made possible by the design principles of Brutalism. Buildings in the Brutalist manner feature concrete moulded into massive sculptural forms, their unadorned reinforced concrete surfaces rich with the imprint of textured formwork.

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of all Canadians, today and in the future.

Also available on the Internet at under Media room.

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada
    Lianne Roberts
    Executive Services/
    Media Relations Officer, Manitoba Field Unit
    Parks Canada
    Michele Monette
    Media Relations Officer