The University of Winnipeg



Babs Asper Lilac Garden Opens At UWinnipeg

Ribbon cutting at the official opening of Babs Asper Lilac Garden on UWinnipeg campus

Ribbon cutting at the official opening of Babs Asper Lilac Garden on UWinnipeg campus

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg held the official opening of the Babs Asper Lilac Garden at UWinnipeg’s Asper Centre for Theatre and Film today. Located on Colony Street, the garden serves as the entry way to the Asper theatre centre — UWinnipeg’s state-of-the-art performance, production, and teaching facility for theatre and film students. It is adorned with a variety of trees and lilac bushes along with benches and a walking path. Lilacs were a favourite of Babs Asper (1933-2011).

The lilac garden — inspired by the University was established as a lasting tribute to Mrs. Asper’s philanthropic nature, her commitment to community, and her passion for Winnipeg’s arts and cultural landscape, particularly for theatre and film. It was put in place by Bob Golinoski, Mrs. Asper’s long-time gardener.

“Babs Asper was a generous and devoted patron of our city’s arts community. We are very honoured to have this beautiful green space on our campus to serve as a symbol of her staunch support for the cultural arts, a value which is very much shared by the UWinnipeg community,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg.

“My mother loved flowers, especially lilacs, and also had a tremendous love of and appreciation for the arts. The creation of this wonderful lilac garden to help welcome students, instructors, performers, and visitors to a leading centre of theatre and arts training and production is a fitting tribute that I know would have made her proud,” said Gail Asper, daughter of Babs Asper.

The garden’s official opening included remarks by Mrs. Gail Asper, Dr. Axworthy, Mr. Golinoski, and Tim Babcock, Chair of UWinnipeg’s Theatre and Film Department, as well as the reading of an original poem about lilacs by Joan Baragar.

The Asper Family committed $3 million to The University of Winnipeg’s “A World of Opportunity” Capital Campaign, which helped to establish the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film in December 2006. It is equipped with a 120- to 150-seat theatre, labs and studios dedicated to lighting, sound and recording, and film and media production. As well, the Centre houses specially designed spaces for rehearsals, teaching, costume, make-up and prop development.

UWinnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film is one of the largest in Canada and provides the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in one of six different areas of study: acting and directing, design, drama in education, filmmaking, playwriting, stage management or production.

Note: this posting was updated on Friday, October 4 to correct the spelling of Mr. Golinoski’s name. We apologize to Mr. Golinoski for the error and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

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