PICTOU – He may be ready for the change, but Wayne MacGillivary won’t be leaving the deCoste Entertainment Centre behind without a few tears.
Wayne MacGillivary’s 32 years as chair of the deCoste Entertainment Centre was celebrated this week as he prepares to move to Alberta. A plaque was unveiled in his honour. Pictured is MacGillivary, left, and David Pos. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
His voice cracked as he thanked staff, volunteers and supporters on Thursday after hearing that the theatre would be in his name.
“To say the least, it’s quite the honour.”
The deCoste Centre held a celebration to recognize MacGillivary’s 32 years as chair, unveiling a plaque that will be placed next to the theatre.
While he was a councillor for the Town of Pictou, he began the groundwork for a multipurpose theatre. A society was formed, and MacGillivary was asked to act as chair.
“I don’t know what happened, but it kept on going,” he joked with the audience.
As he prepares to move to Alberta to be closer to family, he reflected on his “labour of love.”
MacGillivary has watched the building grow from a shell to, as he put it, “the best known theatre in the province for consistent programming.”
After receiving tourism funding, the society took possession of the former rink in June of 1982.
By winter, they were holding their first function, even if they weren’t ready for it.
MacGillivary remembers a New Years Eve Dance in 1982 when they were dragging furniture into the building shortly before the event began in the middle of a snowstorm.
The society took it one step at a time, not thinking too far ahead as to what the centre would become a few decades later.
They had challenges to overcome: fundraising, and convincing others of the benefit of having an arts facility.
“It’s almost the same as a library. Unless you support it, it won’t exist,” he said.
They needed to continue to fundraise to keep the facility running; revenue from events wasn’t enough.
Over the years, fundraising has been a large part of his role. David Pos told the audience at the deCoste that MacGillivary has raised more than $5 million over three decades of service.
He’s also been the representative for the deCoste at events, and has been sure to check in with staff on a regular basis.
“He’s the type of chair that visits every day, sometimes several times a day,” Pos said.
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