/Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation flexible in new year
Participants run with snowshoes around the bonfire at the Minden Cultural Centre, as part of a previous Fire and Ice event in Minden. The event was planning a February return through the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation but due to current pandemic restrictions, is now being organized for this summer instead. /FILE photo

Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation flexible in new year

By Stephen Petrick

Fingers crossed, you might get a chance to raise a glass to the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation this summer.

The charitable arm of the popular cultural centre was gearing up to bring back its annual Fire and Ice Festival, a scotch tasting and wine drinking event to raise funds for programs, when the fifth wave of the pandemic and government restrictions made the board rethink the event for this summer.

If it can go ahead at some point – and organizers are conscious of the fact that the ongoing COVID pandemic could change things – it will mark a monumental return to normalcy.

“Every charity in Canada is struggling and we’re not unique to that,” said Neil Briggs, a member of the foundation’s board. “The last couple years it’s been dormant.”

In an interview, he and board director David Rae said that, whatever happens, the foundation is preparing to be flexible, and the hope is that 2022 marks a return to normalcy, where programs, visits to the centre and fundraisers can continue without interruption. Last year’s Fire and Ice Festival was  cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typically the event takes place on the Sunday of Family Day weekend.

The event, historically, is well supported and offers a chance for local restaurants to showcase food, as well as a tasting of premium scotch, whisky, wine and beer. 

The Minden Hills Cultural Centre, located at 176 Bobcaygeon Rd., is owned and operated by the municipality. The four-acre site features the Agnes Jamieson Gallery, the Minden Hills Museum & Heritage Village, an interpretive area known as Nature’s Place, and the Minden Hills branch of the Haliburton County Public Library.      

Briggs and Rae said that the foundation doesn’t have a target fundraising goal for the year, but whatever funds are raised will support programs in general. The foundation hopes to raise funds that would provide subsidies for disadvantaged youth to enrol in education programs, as well as capital projects. For instance, the centre, hopes to place a bust of MHCC foundational artist André Lapine at the site.

The foundation’s operational costs are covered by the cultural centre’s board, which means that 100 per cent of public donations go to programs.      

Briggs said the foundation hopes to raise its profile in 2022, by building a heavier online presence – a new website is in the works – and doing more to talk to potential donors about ways they can give, such as through estate planning or by donating works of art for the gallery.   

Fortunately, getting people to understand the importance of the centre has never been a hard sell, said Rae.

“There’s a strong artistic community in Haliburton County and Minden and people feel strongly about supporting the arts; there’s a long history of that,” he said, adding that the plethora of local artists also draw tourists to the area.

MHCCF board of directors for the 2021 – 2022 fiscal year are Briggs, Rea, Susan Murray and Sue Tiffin. The board thanks retiring board members Patricia Walshe and Jim Mitchell for their service on the MHCCF board and to the community. 

For more details on the foundation or the upcoming festival email mindenhillsccfoundation@gmail.com.

To donate, see the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation profile page at www.canadahelps.org or my.charitableimpact.com