After two years of postponed events and virtual programming, the City of Delta is welcoming people back to in-person gatherings with the grand opening of the North Delta Centre for the Arts this Saturday (May 14).
The new facility was meant to have its official opening in April of 2020 but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put that plan on hold. The centre opened without ceremony last September for regular programming, hosting theatre, visual and literary art classes for both children and adults.
Now, with restrictions lifted and the weather warming, the city is planning a massive celebration as a way to say “Welcome back, Delta!”
Organizers have a full day planned — both inside and outside the arts centre (parking on site will be limited to the back parking lot), as well as in the adjacent Social Heart Plaza — with free activities and entertainment for all ages running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Three-time Juno-nominated children’s entertainer Ginalina will perform a family-friendly concert at 1 p.m., followed by the official opening and cake cutting at 2 p.m. (And yes, there will be free cake for everyone.)
“I’m pleased to celebrate this tremendous facility to advance art, culture, and performances in our community,” Mayor George Harvie said in a statement to the Reporter. “We have an active and very creative arts and culture community and this new facility will serve as a vibrant hub of artistic opportunity in Delta.”
Later that evening, the centre will host a ticketed concert featuring jazz performers Jodi Proznick and Jennifer Hayes, with Delta’s Barnside Brewing Co. providing wine, cider and beer for sale to guests.
Proznick is a Juno-nominated and Western Canadian Music Award-winning bassist, composer, bandleader and educator who has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. Joining her on vocals is Hayes, whose credits including singing for the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup Soccer and 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, as well as performing alongside celebrities such as Jim Byrnes, Michael Kaeshammer, Bria Skonberg and Vancouver’s late “King of Swing” Dal Richards.
Doors open at 6:45, with the show getting underway at 8 p.m. Tickets for show cost $25 and can be purchase by phone (604-952-3000) or online at deltareg.ca.
Also performing during the free portion of the event will be the Delta Concert Band, North Delta Secondary’s dance teams, “vintage vocal trio” the Beauty Shop Dolls, Circus West (who will also be offering juggling workshops), local flute ensemble Fluterrific, the Delta Ukulele Circle, and various youth from across the community showcasing their musical and theatrical talents.
Meanwhile, peppered around the site will be art creation stations, a mehndi (henna) artist, a display by the George Mackie Library, “pop poetry,” a sketch collection from the Delta Archives, and demos and displays by local community art groups including Watershed Artworks Society and the North Delta Potters Guild.
Guests are sure to work up an appetite with so much to see and do, and organizers have arranged to have a number of food trucks on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will also be tours of the new art centre offered between 11 and 11:45 a.m. and from 3:15 to 5 p.m.
The North Delta Centre for the Arts is a fully-accessible purpose-built multi-level facility dedicated to performing arts. The centre piece of the facility is its theatre, which features a 1,400 square foot performance space, 120 retractable bleacher seats and a 22-seat accessible balcony. The theatre is also equipped with hearing assistance devices for those who need them.
The facility also features two multi-purpose rooms, a piano room, fully accessible washrooms, coat check, a concession area, elevator access to the second floor, and upper and lower concourses with couch seating, cocktail tables and bright floor-to-ceiling windows.
Since opening last fall, the centre has played host to arts, theatre, music and dance classes run by the Delta’s parks, recreation and culture department, as well as community forums, drop-in sessions with the Delta Ukulele Circle (first Saturday of each month), open mics (last Friday of each month) and other programming. The centre also hosts regular meetings of city council once a month.
“Since taking office, establishing an appropriate facility to hold our North Delta council meetings has been a key priority for this council as we alternate meetings between the north and south, and this facility will serve us well into the future,” Harvie said.
Upcoming events at the centre include the bi-monthly reading-in-conversation series InkWellTold (happening May 28 and July 23), a two-week residency by Circus West this summer and a screening of the award-winning documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows on Aug. 13.
The centre is also available for community groups to book for recitals and performances. Parties looking to book the facility can call 604-952-3049.