Darke Hall receives $1 million federal accessibility grant

By Greg Duck Posted: April 25, 2019 3:15 p.m.

(l to r) Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons, SaskAbilities Vice-Chair Board of Directors Michelle Hunter, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale announced the University of Regina’s Darke Hall the recipient of a $1 million grant from the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund.
(l to r) Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons, SaskAbilities Vice-Chair Board of Directors Michelle Hunter, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale announced the University of Regina’s Darke Hall the recipient of a $1 million grant from the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund. Photo: External Relations

Darke Hall
Once renovated, Darke Hall will be one of the country’s premier heritage performance spaces.
Neil Paskewitz with Ministers Goodale and Qualtrough
University of Regina Vice-President (Facilities Management) Neil Paskewitz points out how the current space will be retrofitted to be more accessible.
Frank Darke with Ministers Goodale and Qualtrough
Frank Darke thanks Ministers Qualtrough and Goodale for the work they have done to renew Darke Hall for everyone.

The University of Regina’s Darke Hall, one of the country’s premier heritage buildings for the arts, is being brought back to life – and today it received a much-needed boost so that the entire community can access and enjoy it.

On the site of the soon-to-be-restored Darke Hall, Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, announced that the project, one of 14 announced, would receive a $1 million grant over two years through the Enabling Accessibility Fund.

The Enabling Accessibility Fund is an annual federal fund that supports community-based projects across Canada aimed at improving accessibility and safety in public spaces and workplaces.

“Through programs like the Enabling Accessibility Fund and partnerships with organizations like the University of Regina, our government is ensuring persons with disabilities in Canada have opportunities to participate in society on an equal basis. Canada is at its best when everyone is included, and all of society benefits from this inclusion. Together, we are building a more inclusive and accessible Canada,” said Minister Qualtrough.

Opened in 1929, Darke Hall was a stunning performance venue and cultural hub for the citizens of Regina and surrounding communities. For its time, Darke Hall met all regulatory codes, but today lacks the features necessary to meet the accessibility needs of all who will use the grand space. As part of its restoration, the building will be retrofitted with a fully accessible entrance, extra-wide aisles, elevators and stair lifts, and accessible seating and washrooms.

In attendance for the announcement was Frank Darke, grandson of Francis Darke, whose donation in 1929 was the catalyst for the building of Darke Hall. Darke is incredibly thankful for the efforts of the Government of Canada and the University to not only preserve the heritage building, but also ensure everyone can enjoy all that it has to offer.

“The work that Dr. Timmons and Ministers Goodale and Qualtrough have done to renew such an important space is so appreciated by the community. And to eliminate all barriers that could come in the way of someone attending a performance; it’s incredible,” said Darke.

Work on Darke Hall — the final stage of the College Avenue Renewal Project — is expected to wrap up in the next year, with a grand opening expected in the fall of 2020.

If you’d like to support the University as it raises the final $500,000 to complete this heritage restoration project, click here to donate today.

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