Project Niagara - Phase 2 Feasibility Study Project Niagara Canada¢â‚¬â„¢s Music Garden PHASE 2 FEASIBILITY

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  • Project Niagara Canada’s Music Garden

    PHASE 2


    Commissioned by: The Ontario Ministry of Culture and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Falls Management Corporation, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the Niagara Economic Development Corporation and the National Arts Centre and Toronto

    Symphony Orchestra.

    July 2008

    (with revisions from December 2008)

  • Project Niagara International Music Festival – Phase 2 Study – July 2008

    Phase 2 Feasibility Study – Table of Contents

    The Project Niagara Vision: Wednesday June 8, 2012


    Executive Summary 5

    1. Concept Introduction and Rationale 8

    2. Program Offering 10

    3A. Site Assessment and Selection – Part A (Site Selection) 14

    3B. Site Assessment and Selection – Part B (Characteristics of Selected Site) 18

    4. Market Assessment and Attendance Projection 24

    5. Physical Design and Capital Costs 32

    6. Staffing and Operating Plan 50

    7. Governance 53

    8. Operating Costs and Revenues / Financial Analysis 55

    9. Economic Impact Analysis 63

    10. Fundraising Plan 69

    11. Project Timetable 72

    12. Conclusion 74

  • Project Niagara International Music Festival – Phase 2 Study – July 2008

    The Project Niagara Vision

    Niagara-on-the-Lake, Wednesday, June 8, 2012

    Maybe you are traveling from New York State with your wife and two children on a summer holiday; maybe you are from Calgary on a family vacation; maybe you live in Toronto and have decided to head out of town for the day; maybe you and your husband are visiting Canada from Germany for the first time; maybe you are extending your visit in the Niagara Region, the kids loved the Falls, you were thoroughly entertained by your yearly visit to the Shaw Festival, you’ve taken in the beauty of the region and its oenological attractions through bicycle and vineyard tours – and now you are ready for something else.

    You park your car and get on a shuttle bus. There is a headset at your seat with various channels. You choose channel 1. Your kids choose channel 2. Your experience is about to begin.

    You are heading toward an eco-cultural experience like no other. Your headset tells you about the music you are going to hear, why it was chosen and how it relates to the overall musical theme for this season, who wrote it and why, who will be performing it, and what makes it great. It will explain how the recommendations for food and wine on site were made with the music in mind. The produce is all local. Everything from the appetizer through to the wine and dessert peaches was grown in the region. The chefs come from the culinary institute. It is a showcase for Niagara and for Canada.

    You have come for a concert, but you have purposefully arrived early.

    You are invited to explore the grounds. They are emblematic of the riches of the region and of the country. The reflection off the water, the sunlight through the trees, the brilliance and fragrance of the flowers – it is a feast for the eyes and the soul. The gardens are the result of annual commissions to horticulturalists to reflect the music.

    The music garden is different – it is a permanent feature, expanded and developed each year.

    Eventually, your focus is pulled to the concert stage and amphitheatre. It is an iconic piece of Canadian architecture that is completely in harmony with its surroundings of old growth forest by the lake. It is also deceptive in its natural simplicity and beauty. It is the most technologically advanced amphitheatre in existence. The best of Canadian design and technology has been incorporated. Visualization technology for the 2,000 people inside the amphitheatre and the up to 8,000 attendees on the surrounding lawns, advanced sound capability … this is a triumph of technology in the service of art. It too has achieved fame as an award-winning design, and is renowned for its application of enhancement acoustics.

    At the entrance is a busker’s stage. You are invited to participate. The kids have the option of meeting up with an “MD” – a “music director” that will guide a group of as many as 15

  • Project Niagara International Music Festival – Phase 2 Study – July 2008

    children, grouped by age and experience, through a hands-on workshop – and parting with their parents for the day exploring music, heritage, and the site.

    You head to the food kiosk to pick up your pre-ordered gourmet picnic lunch and wine – or to choose from the ready-to-go items on offer. You stake a claim on your preferred piece of ground, and let the beauty and serene nature of the sight wash over you as you await the beginning of the concert.

    A tradition at Project Niagara – the pre-concert choral stretch. All in attendance are strongly encouraged to take part. After participating in a rousing gospel chorus the audience catches its breath, quiets, and awaits the beginning of the concert.

    Today the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra are performing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (“Symphony of a Thousand”). From your audio guide you learned that Mahler visited this region and saw the Falls. The Orchestras are under the baton of Montreal’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the lighting and ambient video projection staged by Robert Lepage. The audience, consisting of Canadian, American and some overseas visitors, is gripped by the music, and rewarded by the experience.

    The concert ends. It was truly wondrous. After thunderous applause and enthusiastic shouts of “Encore!” and “Bravo!”, Maestro Tania Miller, of Victoria, takes the stage and invites the parents to gather close to the stage to hear the kids from music camp appear on stage with their MDs and coaches. This is an inspirational experience of another kind. Of a magical kind. The kind that instills in a child a lifelong love of music and a dawning appreciation for its complexities, its meaning, its humanizing force.

    The concert is done. Families are reunited. They mill around, bask in a final view of the scene, gather their things and make their way out. Until the next time.

    … and that next time may be later in the season. Because it is 2012 you have heard that Project Niagara has adopted the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 as its theme. You can’t wait to see what artistry and creativity the team at Project Niagara will bring to the anniversary and the music that it will inspire.


  • Project Niagara International Music Festival – Phase 2 Study – July 2008

    Executive Summary

    A festival featuring two of North America’s finest orchestras, with appearances by other superb orchestras; a festival of internationally renowned soloists; a festival which, in addition to performing the greatest works of the classical and “pops” repertoire, is complemented by the world’s coolest and most engaging jazz, popular, blues, world music, opera, musical theatre and dance stars.

    Serving a market of 100 million people within a day’s drive, this thrilling festival is located in one of the newest and most diverse wine regions on the continent, a region also known as the “produce garden of Ontario,” where fine food arrives fresh from the farm to the table (or the picnic blanket).

    This festival occurs on the leeward shore of one of the Great Lakes, the silhouette of Toronto in the distance and a mere bicycle ride from one of the world’s Seven Great Wonders, and North America’s only festival devoted to the works of George Bernard Shaw. The festival will unfold in a delightfully landscaped park, a “music garden” nestled beside a Carolinian forest of untouched beauty, with an amphitheatre of unsurpassed acoustical excellence, on a site that, precisely 200 years before, witnessed the fiery defining moments in the birth of a nation. All of this suggests that the word “festival” is too meager to embody the full scope of this bold and important initiative.

    Contained in this Phase 2 Feasibility Study are the results of a year and a half of work to examine the viability of Project Niagara (PN). The process has been challenging, exciting and ultimately rewarding as the analysis of the concept revealed increasing indications that Project Niagara was a very strong concept, located in the right place, at the right time. The following conclusions are drawn from the attached document and provide some indication of the parameters measured in the Feasibility Study:

    • Niagara Region: The Niagara Region has the potential to become the next great cultural tourism destination. PN, and an emphasis on joint marketing and storytelling, are what will take it over the top. The necessary ingredients are all there: the excellence of the Shaw Festival and its loyal international audience; the burgeoning wine industry and the winding Wine Route that takes you through breathtaking vineyards and farmland; the colourful history of the region from the War of 1812, Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh, the Underground Railroad, the history of Niagara Falls, to the building of the Welland Canal; excellent post- secondary institutions that support, among other things, education and culture; and finally, the quality of food and accommodations, of golf courses and casinos, of the Bruce Trail and bicycle routes.

    • Market: Almost 100 million pe