In writing an article about the Roselawn Centre in Port Colborne, it seemed essential that I should sit down and pick the brain of William Thomas who has hosted the Author Series program on this stage more than a hundred times. The complete video interview is broken into five parts and have all been included here.
First off, I am not a nostalgic person.
I don’t look back at the past and assume because the hurts and disappointments have dulled over the years that everything was better than today. I have always had a focus on progress and moving forward with a respect for tradition and what has come before.
That being said, if something works you want to find a way to preserve it. When you look at The Roselawn Centre in Port Colborne, you see a building that was built in 1860 and has remained a centerpiece in one manner or another for this city ever since.
In the beginning, this was built as a stately three-story home of Upper Canada Victorian architecture in the centre of a large farm. Since that time, the “Roselawn” served as the residence for several local families and was later leased to the Canadian Government as a regimental headquarters. In 1957 a group of local businessmen purchased the property and it was run as the Port Colborne Club until the late 1990s.
Finally, the group transferred ownership of the building to a community group and in 1991 the Roselawn Centre for Arts Education and Business was established. Since 1996, the Roselawn has operated as a partnership between the City, the provincial and federal governments in addition to the Port Colborne-Wainfleet Community Development Corporation.
This partnership was responsible for building a 270-seat theatre auditorium that was the home of the Showboat Theatre from 1986-2012, The Food & Wine Series and The Readings at the Roselawn Series now in its 19th season. The facility provides accommodation for other theatre presentations, meeting rooms and special events.
Katie and I have enjoyed a couple of nights out at the Roselawn to take in William Thomas’ Readings at the Roselawn series and have greatly enjoyed the events as well as the guests (Gordon Pinsent and Colin Mochrie).
Having just lost their anchor tenant, the Showboat Theatre this past season, the Roselawn is in need of a new identity if we want to keep this culturally significant centre operating.
As residents of Niagara and Port Colborne, Katie and I recognized that this was an important time to share some of the reasons we think The Roselawn is so important to the region. We also took advantage of this opportunity to speak William Thomas. William has been hosting the Readings at the Roselawn for 19 years and I could think of no person with more intimate knowledge of why this centre is so crucial to Port Colborne and the Niagara community. We really appreciate him sharing his time and passion!
JUST THE FACTS
William is an author, a scriptwriter and a nationally syndicated humour columnist. In addition to the 50 newspapers that carry his weekly column, William was the senior writer for Niagara Life Magazine, Forever Young Monthly and Canada’s PETS Magazine.
William has been nominated twice for the prestigious Gemini Award for writing movies for television. He is the author of ten books of humour including the story of his buck-toothed cat named Malcolm titled Life In The Litterbox.
For more highlights from William’s career visit is website.