The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg Dedicates The Babs Asper Lilac Garden

New garden planned adjacent to the newly renamed Asper Centre for Theatre and Film

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg announced today the creation of the Babs Asper Lilac Garden in memory of Ruth “Babs” Asper, as part of a ceremony officially renaming the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film.

Located on Colony Street, this garden will serve as a new entry way to the Asper Centre (formerly known as the Canwest Centre for Theatre and Film), UWinnipeg’s state-of-the-art performance, production and teaching facility for theatre and film students. It will be adorned by a variety of trees and lilac bushes along with benches and a walking path. Lilacs were a favourite of Babs Asper (1933-2011).

“We are proud to dedicate this garden in memory of Babs Asper as a tribute to her philanthropic nature, her commitment to community, and to her passion for Winnipeg’s arts and cultural landscape, particularly for theatre and film,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor. “I would also like to pay special tribute to Babs’ children – David, Gail and Leonard – whose personal support made the Asper Centre facility possible.”

The Asper Family has been instrumental in completing their commitment of $3 million to The University of Winnipeg’s “A World of Opportunity” Capital Campaign which helped to establish the Centre in December 2006.

“Our mother would be thrilled with her formal association with the University of Winnipeg and we are grateful to have her name attached to such an important project,” said Leonard Asper, on behalf of the Asper Family. “She loved the arts, in all forms, and we are thankful the University has sought to honour her in such a meaningful way.”

The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film features state-of-the-art performance, production and teaching facilities for theatre and film students 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.

The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film has become a popular venue for both performers and audiences including Bring Your Own Venue for the annual Winnipeg International Fringe Festival. Other groups using the theatre include Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, FemFest (Sarasvati Productions), Film Training Manitoba, Gearshifting Performance Works, Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Manitoba Theatre Projects, Tom Tom Theatre, Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Manitoba Children’s Museum, and zone 41 Theatre.

The Department of Theatre and Film offers 90 different courses in acting and directing; design; drama in education; filmmaking; playwriting; and stage management and production. For information on how to support the Asper Centre’s fundraising initiatives please visit and for information on the theatre and film programs visit

Deborah Bowers, Director of Strategic Marketing & Social Media
The University of Winnipeg
Phone: 204.786-9381, Email: