Restored Kleinburg Church to house permanent exhibit celebrating Canadian author and offering community space for public programming
VAUGHAN, ON, Sept. 22, 2018 /CNW/ - Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua hosted the grand opening ceremony of the new Pierre Berton Heritage Centre today. The new facility will feature a permanent exhibit showcasing the stories, work and accomplishments of long-time Kleinburg resident, Pierre Berton (1920-2004) and provide accessible community space for public events, presentations and programming.
Pierre Berton is a Canadian journalist, playwright and author of 50 books, published internationally. He wrote a daily newspaper column, a musical comedy and revue sketches for the stage, plays for radio, and documentaries for radio, films and television. His work championed Canadian stories, earning him three Governor-General's Awards for creative non-fiction, two National Newspaper Awards, and two ACTRA "Nellies" for broadcasting.
Mr. Berton showed tremendous support for and involvement in his chosen community of Kleinburg, where he lived from 1950 until his death in 2004. In 2006, the City of Vaughan formally embarked on a project to develop a centre dedicated to our country's history, as written and celebrated by Berton himself. In 2010, the city purchased the former Kleinburg United Church building, with a plan for converting it into the Pierre Berton Heritage Centre.
The former church was originally built in 1926 in the Gothic Revival style. Under the guidance of a city council-appointed task force that included Mr. Berton's family members, the city worked with architectural and exhibit consultants to restore the historic elements of the former church as it was carefully transformed into its new purpose. The entire renovation process was thoughtfully designed to retain the character of the building, including the exterior masonry, stained glass windows, and interior wood paneling.
Located on Islington Avenue, just north of Major Mackenzie Drive West, the new Pierre Berton Heritage Centre is now an accessible, 3,600 square foot community-use facility, with large interior T.V. screens and updated technology, including Wi-Fi, new modern lighting, entrances, washrooms, and kitchenette finishes to make the space excellent for permitted public events.
"Pierre Berton was one of the most remarkable, inspiring and important Canadians whose work transformed our understanding of our country's history. A Kleinburg resident for 55 years, Pierre Berton dedicated his life to telling the story of our nation's heritage through journalism and writing, offering people of all generations and backgrounds the opportunity to reflect on our past. His literary contribution to our country has given us a better understanding of who we are and what we stand for. I invite all Canadians to our wonderful city to explore the Pierre Berton Heritage Centre, to learn more about Canada and our iconic media pioneer."
- Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua
ABOUT VAUGHAN: The City of Vaughan is one of Canada's fastest-growing cities with a population of more than 335,000. Incorporated in 1991, Vaughan includes the communities of Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge. This culturally diverse municipality is located in the heart of York Region and the Greater Toronto Area.
SOURCE City of Vaughan
For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: City of Vaughan, Jill Priest, Corporate and Strategic Communications, T: 905-832-2281, ext. 8077, M: 416-524-2326, E: [email protected]