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Coaker Foundation wins ‘This Place Matters’ eastern regional prize

The Coaker Foundation in Port Union.
The Coaker Foundation in Port Union.

TRINITY BAY NORTH, N.L. — After competing against other groups in an online contest, the Union Art Project at the Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation has won the Big Projects Regional-East Prize — and $30,000 in funding with it.

The endeavour will see the Coaker Foundation develop a new art space in Port Union.

Jane Walker, who worked with the Coaker Foundation and Ruth Weller in this project, told The Packet she was so excited to hear the news this past weekend, she “fell on the floor.”

“It’s really special because it will be the first of a lot of good things happening on the street,” said Walker.

“What’s amazing about this competition is that it’s community driven and we did get the community support. It just shows people care about what’s happening here.”

The project will begin the process of “re-imagining” remaining row houses at the Coaker Foundation, with a historic red duplex building’s exterior being restored. The interior renovations have been planned by artist and architect Frank Lapointe.

The space is planned to be the Union House Arts — complete with gallery and studio areas, a multi-media screening room, community kitchen and garden plots, workshop space, and more.

The results were very close leading up to the final tally and Walker says they were “overjoyed” to hear the news.

“This fantastic news will show others that were committed to seeing the project through and we hope that we can continue to get the community support.”

The results came after 25 projects from across Canada were pitted against one another in an online crowdfunding contest from June 14 to July 20.

In a press release issued on Monday, July 24, the National Trust says the funding is intended to revitalize communities.

“The goal of the National Trust’s ‘This Place Matters’ competition is to bring together community partners and community members to breathe new life into historic places across Canada,” said the release. “Since launching two years ago, over $1,400,000 has been directed to worthy heritage projects through ‘This Place Matters.’”

The total amount in cash prizes and donations this year was $684,000. In addition to the Coaker project, There were seven winners across the country.

The complete winners list includes:

• Big Projects National Prize ($60,000): Windows into the Future by First United Church (Truro, NS);

• Big Projects Regional-West Prize ($30,000): Spirit of the Lyric by Lyric Theatre (Swift Current, SK);

• Big Projects Regional-Central Prize ($30,000): Keep Our Light Shining by PPLPS (Brighton, ON);

• Big Projects Regional-East Prize ($30,000): Union Art Project by Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation (Port Union, NL);

• Small Projects National Prize ($30,000): Spencerville Riverside Park by Spencerville Mill Foundation (Spencerville, ON);

• Small Projects Regional-Central Prize ($15,000): Top off the Petrie by Architectural Conservancy Ontario Guelph Wellington Branch (Guelph, ON);

• Small Projects Regional-East Prize ($15,000): Glenaladale… One Brick at a Time, Our Diamond in the Rough by Glenaladale Heritage Trust (Tracadie, PE);

• Community Builder Prize ($10,000): Belle Vue House – A Clear View Into the Future by Belle Vue Conservancy (Amherstburg, ON).

This competition was an opportunity for Canadians to get involved in saving local historic places in need of support. There was $220,000 in prizes to be won in two prize streams: Big Projects (projects with a budget of $60,000 or more) and Small Projects (projects with a budget of under $60,000). There were national and regional prizes in each stream. 


Port Union's Coaker Foundation in nationwide crowdfunding contest

Participating groups promoted their campaign on social media to encourage friends, family, colleagues, and residents of the community to vote for and donate to their project. Every dollar donated to a project also counted as one additional vote to that project. Prizes were distributed to the projects with the highest number of votes in their category.

‘This Place Matters 2017’ was made possible by RBC Foundation and Commercial Properties Limited, and the generosity of many donors.

The National Trust is now accepting proposals from sponsors and partners for the next ‘This Place Matters’ competition.

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