Cambridge Centre for the Arts: Introduction

The Cambridge Centre for the Arts, a community arts centre, was opened in May 2001. It is owned by the City of Cambridge who is responsible for its management and operation. The City works co-operatively with the Cambridge Arts Guild. Ratified by City Council in January 1998, the Cambridge Arts Guild acted as the guiding force behind the concept of a participatory centre for the arts, spearheading the process from conception to completion, led by the first Chair, Jill Summerhayes.

Cambridge Arts Guild (CAG) formed partnerships with all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal to raise funds toward the $2.6 million dollar renovation cost. The Guild raised $500,000 toward the project with the City of Cambridge funding the remainder. Never before had a community group raised this amount of money toward a municipal project.

The Cambridge Centre for the Arts is found in the old Hydro building; the first all steel structure to be built in Ontario back in 1921. There was great civic pride in the building when it was officially opened in 1922 by Sir Adam Beck, the father of Ontario Hydro. And, it remained the Hydro building for more than sixty years before they relocated to a new building better suited to their modern needs. As a result, this building sat vacant until 1990. The front half of it was renovated for seniors after they had raised significant funds toward the project. A decade later the David Durward Centre now boasts a membership of over 1,000. In May of 2001, the Cambridge Centre for the Arts became joint tenants with the David Durward Centre and have been enjoying increased patronage and community partnerships ever since.

Leave a comment