2018 Award Recipients

Edmund C. Bovey Award

The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain

Edmund C. Bovey Award Recipient

Business for the Arts is pleased to announce the Honourable Margaret McCain as the winner of this year’s Edmund C. Bovey Award.

Margaret’s leadership role in the arts across Canada is nothing short of extraordinary. Spanning more than three decades, Margaret (Margie) has lent her considerable skills and personal philanthropy to various organizations but of course, she is best known for her remarkable contributions to the National Ballet School and the National Ballet of Canada.

Starting in 1981 to help strengthen its representation in her home province in Atlantic Canada, Margie became a champion of the National Ballet School and her devotion continues into today. Among her many contributions, she, along with her husband, Wallace McCain, co-chaired the fundraising campaign for the School’s $100 million-plus capital program. The result: personal donations of over $8 million; a stewardship of the largest donation in Canadian history by a private citizen ($15 million); the creation of the highest standard dance training facilities in the world; and the rejuvenation of an entire Toronto neighborhood.

In conjunction with her role as chair of the National Ballet School, Margie was also an ex-officio member of the National Ballet of Canada. Here, her life-time of giving has exceeded $4 million and supported all aspects of the company’s work.

And, never one to sit back and be satisfied with these remarkable accomplishments, in 2016, Margie gave new life to The Theatre Centre, a small Toronto based organization, with a pledge of $500,000 towards a $6.2 million capital campaign to help restore a city-owned Carnegie library in Toronto. Margie’s commitment energized The Theatre Centre to match her pledge with new public and private donations, and at her request, the Theatre Centre’s main performance space was named after Franco Boni, its visionary director not the donor, prompting words of praise from the national media.

“The Theatre Centre is a small pond compared to major institutions like the National Ballet of Canada or the National Ballet School, so you can imagine how big a wave Margie made when she entered out world. We are thrilled to now have the chance to reciprocate and make a big wave in her world,” said Robert Sirman, Board Member, The Theatre Centre.  

Margie continues to exemplify the Bovey model by helping to foster the next generation of arts supporters. Her granddaughter Jennifer is the youngest board member of the National Ballet School and Chair and co-founder of the First Position Patrons, a National Ballet School young supporters collective.