FoRC's History


The Roselawn Centre for the Arts Education and Business was established in 1991 and has been owned by the City of Port Colborne since 1996. The Centre, housed in a building rich with history, has served the community with rentals and activities that include special events, weddings, monthly regional art festivals, theatrical and musical performances. It is also home to The Canadian Authors Series which is nationally recognized and always sold out, and the popular Showboat Festival Theatre.

In the fall of 2012, Showboat Theatre’s board of directors had announced that it would no longer be able to operate the 250 seat theatre due to financial difficulties. The closing of the Roselawn Theatre would have had a deeply detrimental effect on the local economy. Besides stimulating arts and cultural activities, the Centre creates a positive economic impact for the city, downtown merchants and the surrounding area. According to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism’s Toursim Research Economic Impact Model (TREIM) there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of both direct and indirect spending, from fuel to lodging to restaurants, service industries and ancillary businesses that would be in jeopardy if the Roselawn Centre ceased to exist. Since the theatre opened in 1997 the facility has generated visitation that at one time exceeded 30,000 people per year.

And so, at the beginning of 2013, when Showboat was poised to close, a group of civic and arts-minded individuals rallied together and created The Friends of Roselawn Centre, with the aim of strategizing the promotion of Port Colborne’s most historic cultural centre and to investigate sponsorship opportunities to bring the utilization of the centre back to full capacity and full independence. The Welland Tribune’s account The Dark Days of Roselawn, goes into a little more detail.

Since forming, the Friends have established three annual events — An Evening at Roselawn: Juried Silent Art Auction, a Christmas Market, Harold Moseby Day — and been a part of collaborating with local groups and the City on a variety of other events connected in some way to the Roselawn Centre. The Friends successfully raised their goal of $25,000 in Phase One of the Capital Campaign and are now well on the way to raising a second $25,000 in Phase Two. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Thanks to a $57,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation the Friends of Roselawn Centre (FoRC) in collaboration with the City of Port Colborne will be able to create a comprehensive master plan that will guide the short- and long-term development of arts and culture in Port Colborne. The funds will also be used to assist in establishing an office for FoRC. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.