Business for the Arts Announces 2011 Award Winners: John D. McKellar, Q.C.

MAY 26, 2011
John D. McKellar CM QC

Today, Business for the Arts (BftA) gathers at an elegant cocktail reception, hosted by BMO Financial Group, for the unveiling of the annual roster of winners of six BftA Awards for contributions to the arts. John D. McKellar, C.M., Q.C., J.D., is the 21st recipient of the prestigious Edmund C. Bovey Award for lifetime achievement in arts leadership. Simon Foster receives the Arnold Edinborough Award for arts contributions by a person under 40 years of age. The Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Partnership Awards are presented to Bullas Travel (Waterloo, ON), Enbridge Inc. (Calgary, AB), Hougen Group of Companies (Whitehorse, YK), and Sun Life Financial (Toronto, ON). The reception is hosted by BMO Financial Group with ceremonies conducted by Dr. James D. Fleck, O.C., Chairman of BftA and Nichole Anderson, President and CEO of BftA. The winners will be feted at the 33rd Annual Business for the Arts Awards Gala at the Carlu, in Toronto, on October 6th, 2011.

Learning of his Bovey accolade, McKellar, Partner Emeritus at WeirFoulds LLP, says, "It is a great honour for me to receive this award, especially so because I knew Ed Bovey and greatly admired what he was able to do for the arts. I also know many of the previous recipients and their accomplishments so I'm delighted to be considered worthy of joining them as winner of this award."

Named after the first Chairman of Business for the Arts, an accomplished business leader and arts philanthropist, The Edmund C. Bovey Award honours a business professional who has demonstrated a lifetime of significant support and/or leadership in arts and culture in Canada. This leadership may have affected a diversity of arts organizations in the community or be demonstrated by a longstanding commitment to one particular organization. This prestigious award has been given out 20 times to date and includes the following winners: Gail Asper, O.C., O.M. (2010), A. Charles Baillie, O.C. (2009), Hon. Henry N. R. (Hal) Jackman, O.C., O.Ont. (2008), Donald K. Johnson, O.C. (2007).

2011 Bovey laureate, McKellar, is at once lawyer, volunteer and impresario and has made pivotal contributions to public service activities related to performing arts. McKellar's extensive curriculum vitae speaks to the enormous respect he has garnered in the legal community, and his more than five decades of active advising, counseling, support and volunteerism in the arts, speak to his profound and lasting love of the arts. His current volunteer portfolio is impressive: Chair of Toronto Arts Council, Chair of Young Centre for the Arts, Vice-President of Ontario Arts Council Foundation and Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Director of numerous boards (including St. Lawrence Centre of the Arts, Off-Centre Music, Glenn Gould Foundation, Tarragon Theatre).

Named after the first President of Business for the Arts, The Arnold Edinborough Award recognizes a business professional under 40 who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts. Criteria include leadership activities, time commitment, business expertise, and organizational achievement within the arts and culture sector. Founded in 2007, award winners to date include: Mélanie Joly (2010), Marcello Cabezas (2009), and Claudia Moore (2008).

2011 Arnold Edinborough Award winner, Foster, is described as a volunteer's volunteer. Though his volunteer activities began in his early youth, it is his last decade as Co-Founder and Chairman of Framework which has made the biggest impact to date. Framework is a national group focused on delivering high quality volunteer engagement events. Timeraiser is their program which connects young professionals with emerging artists and raises volunteer hours, while their Civic Footprint program helps people to plan and track civic engagement. Under Foster's leadership, Framework has raised 73,500 volunteer hours, engaged 6,500 Canadians to pick up a cause, invested over $389,000 in the careers of emerging artists, and worked with over 395 charities and nonprofit organizations.

Foster, SVP Digital Publishing and Business Development of GlassBOX Media, says about earning the Arnold award, "The Arnold Edinborough award is wonderful recognition of the success achieved in launching Framework and growing Canada's Timeraiser program. I'm deeply gratified that my contribution has benefited so many artists and artist organizations, and encouraged thousands of Canadians to pick up a cause."

The Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Partnership Awards consist of four categories recognizing businesses that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to arts and culture in Canada.

Best Entrepreneurial Partnership recognizes a business that has sparked a creative idea and made it happen. The award winner will have taken an entrepreneurial approach to partnering with the arts and realized a challenging project or goal which had not been tried before. Hougen Group of Companies wins this nomination for the creation of a 4,500 sq. ft. purpose-built arts space called Arts Underground, in Whitehorse, YK, which is the permanent home of Yukon Art Society and the Yukon Art Centre. Beyond the actual creation of the site which is dedicated to exploration, teaching and presentation of visual arts and culture, Hougen Group provides a rent and utility free lease agreement, which amounts to a $1M commitment.

Rolf Hougen, O.C., President of Hougen Group of Companies, says, "The Arts Underground has become very important to the development of the Yukon. We were pleased to make a meaningful contribution that provides space for artists to show their art, for the Yukon Arts Society to hold classes and workshops in many art forms, and for the history of the Yukon to be displayed in the Hougen Heritage Gallery."

Most Effective Corporate Program recognizes a business that has implemented an in-depth, comprehensive program to foster the arts and culture sector in Canada, while meeting corporate objectives. Enbridge Inc. receives this award to commend its deep and long-standing partnership with the National Arts Center Foundation, which began in the late 1990's when Enbridge came on board to help NAC fulfill its mandate to bring more performing arts to Canadians.

D'Arcy Levesque, Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, Enbridge Inc., says, "Enbridge is proud to have partnered with the National Arts Centre for over a decade, and to have contributed to the NAC's success in championing our country's artists, students and educators. Our support is rooted in our strongly held belief that arts and culture are critical to the health and vitality of communities across Canada, making them better places to live."

Most Innovative Marketing Sponsorship recognizes an innovative partnership with the arts where both the business partner and the arts organization benefit from a unique marketing venture. The Toronto Public Library Foundation nominated Sun Life Financial for the creation of the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass (MAP) program. With just a library card, families in priority neighbourhoods can check a MAP out of the library to experience Toronto's cultural treasures for free. Since the program's inception, over 200,000 passes have been borrowed, and over 300,000 Torontonians have visited the 18 participating cultural institutions.

Tom Bogart, Executive Vice-President of Sun Life Financial, says, "The arts greatly enrich the communities in which we live and work. Increasing access to the arts enhances the lives of those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be exposed to the arts to the same extent, and this in turn provides significant benefits to all of us."

Small Business Partnership recognizes a business with fewer than 50 employees that has entered into a partnership with the arts. This year's recipient, Bullas Travel, in Kitchener-Waterloo, developed a partnership with Drayton Entertainment to create the Drayton Entertainment Travel Club, which takes theatre patrons around the world on exciting trips featuring customized activities, superb dining, and exclusive excursions, with entertainment provided by Drayton's very own theatre company.

Robert Bullas, Bullas Travel Inc., says, "Over the years, Bullas Travel has had the pleasure of taking the Drayton Entertainment Travel Club all over the world on some fabulous theatrical adventures. We have enjoyed so many wonderful memories together and we are delighted to be part of such a meaningful partnership to promote the arts."

The jury also gave three awards of distinction to Creeds Dry Cleaning, for over $1M free dry cleaning for the National Ballet of Canada; Enwave, for a wrapped glass installation at Harbourfront Centre by Canadian artist Sarah Hall; and, Sun Life Financial, for Culture Days which launched in 700 communities across Canada in its first year.