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.
And so, in the fall 2012, when Showboat was poised to close due to financial difficulties, a group of civic and arts-minded individuals including Bill Thomas, Gail Todd, Candace Turner-Smith and Ron Bodner 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.
Since officially forming in April 2013, the Friends of Roselawn Centre are established as a non profit organization with charitable status and produces several events annually. Several past events include — An Evening at Roselawn: Juried Silent Art Auction, Christmas Markets, Harold Moseby Day, Henry the VIII, Paint Night, Trivia Night, An Evening with Anna Olson and more — and take part in collaborating with local groups and the City on a variety of other events connected in some way to the Roselawn Centre. In 2018, the FORC successfully raised and met their Capital Campaign pledge of $50,000 in conjunction with the City of Port Colborne and a grant from the Federal Canada 150 grant monies. This went to the restoration of the beautiful exterior Roselawn heritage home, surrounding landscaping and fencing.
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 were also used to assist in establishing an office for FoRC. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.