Our New Home

The future of Niagara starts now with a Home for the Arts

New facilities will soon be opened by the City of St. Catharines and Brock University to serve all of Niagara. This partnership will open a major arts cluster in downtown St. Catharines.  The City is constructing the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre at St.Paul and Carlisle Streets.  Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) will move to the adjacent site of the former Canada Hair Cloth factory.
The project is set to revitalize the urban growth centre of Niagara, add a major new cultural attractor to our region and serve artists, students and audience members from across the peninsula. The specialized, purpose-built and professionally managed facility will present, promote and develop the arts in Niagara.

For the most up-to-date information about this exciting project see buildingtheartsdowntown.ca
Also see these site tour pictures: The new Performing Arts Centre  and  The new MIWSFPA at 198 St. Paul.

Here is a recent slide show of the new facility:


Conceptual Renderings

Elevations of the project under construction for completion in 2015.
Images are sourced from http://www.stcatharines.ca/en/experiencein/DowntownPerformingArtsCentre1.asp
Drawings by Diamond + Schmitt Architects.

UPDATE: City of St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre (PAC): Images presented at the Project Open House, September and October 2011.  Future students of the MIWSFPA will be learning and performing in the Recital Hall and the Film/Video Theatre of the PAC. Adjacent to the city-built PAC is the new home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image.

Drawings by Diamond + Schmitt Architects.

Site and Venues

The Canada Hair Cloth Building is the chosen site for the MIW SFPA, and the St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre is planned for property at the corner of Carlisle and St. Paul Street. Links between the two facilities are part of the conceptual plans.

Five distinct arts discipline-specific performance venues are planned:

  • 900-seat concert hall
  • 300-seat recital hall (for the MIW SFPA with some community access)
  • 300-seat theatre venue (MIW SFPA)
  • 250-seat dance/theatre venue
  • 200-seat film venue (shared access)

The project also includes new classrooms, studio space and all the additional spaces required for the Music, Theatre and Visual Arts programs at Brock, as well as office space, rehearsal hall, a café and lobby space for the PAC and community arts organizations.

Video Teasers

..not so long ago this was the view into our new facility . . .


A recent tour of the historic Haircloth building in downtown St. Catharines drew a crowd. The building is about to be transformed into the site of Brock’s Fine & Performing Arts programs.



Provincial funding announced for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

April 14, 2010 — St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley announced that the Ontario government will provide $26.2 million over four years to help build a new home for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The funding is a major breakthrough for the university and the community. The new Marilyn I. Walker School is being built in partnership with the City of St. Catharines, which will build a civic Niagara Centre for the Arts on the other half of the downtown site. This combined project will revitalize and rejuvenate the downtown core through the renovation of heritage buildings and construction of new performance and staging facilities including a dedicated theatre, rehearsal, teaching and research studios. More than 500 full-time students and faculty will relocate to this new facility, freeing up much needed space for other programs at Brock’s main campus in south St. Catharines.  (from The Brock News)

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