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.

Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award

Nathalie Bondil

Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award Recipient

Nathalie Bondil was appointed Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in 2000 and Director General in January 2007. Taking over the helm, she initiated innovative programming with exhibitions designed, produced and circulated by the MMFA that have distinguished it on the international scene. For example, she invited fashion to the Museum with the first retrospectives on Yves Saint Laurent and The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. The Gaultier exhibition was on a world tour to twelve museums and has generated outstanding media coverage and reviews. She further revamped contemporary art programming with Peter Doig in 2013 and opened the Museum up to world cultures with exhibitions like Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon.

Ms. Bondil also introduced music to the Museum with a programme of original multidisciplinary exhibitions like Chagall: Colour and Music, and Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol’s Work. The Museum undertook the daring conversion of a heritage church decorated with Tiffany stained glass windows into a professional concert hall. Inaugurated in 2011, it presents some 200 concerts and welcomes 50,000 spectators each year.

With the addition of a fourth pavilion to the Museum complex in 2011, Ms. Bondil and her team undertook the study, restoration and reinstallation of some 4,000 works from the encyclopedic collection, from world cultures to Old Masters and Canadian and contemporary art. This “reinvented Museum” includes an impressive Pavilion of Decorative Arts and Design that was recently reinstalled and an expanded sculpture garden. This expansion project was made possible through a major campaign that raised $100 million.

In 2016, the Museum expanded again with a fifth addition, the Pavilion for Peace dedicated to international art and education, thanks to the major gift of Michal and Renata Hornstein’s collection of Old Masters. It is the first legacy to the City of Montreal for its 375th anniversary. It also houses the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy. Already in 2012, she had led the expansion of the educational facilities for school groups and families – the Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière – with the goal of doubling attendance, from 100,000 to 200,000 schoolchildren per year by 2017. This goal was reached after only 18 months of operation! Today, the MMFA ranks first among the most visited art museums in Canada.

Nathalie Bondil was elected Personality of the Year in Culture by La Presse (2017), awarded the Médaille de l’assemblée nationale, Québec (2016) as well as being appointed Member of the Order of Canada, receiving the Prix Camille-Laurin (Office Québécois de la langue française) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal (2015). Among earlier recognitions: the Médaille Jacques Cartier (2014), an honorary doctorate from McGill University (2013), the Samuel de Champlain Prize from the Institut France-Canada (2012), the Insignia of Merit from the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Arts and Science and the title of Knight of the Ordre national du Québec (2011) as well as the insignia of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic (2008; promoted to Officier in 2016).

Ms. Bondil is Vice-Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts and Vice-president of the Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal.

Nathalie Bondil a été nommée conservatrice en chef du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM) en 2000, elle est nommée à la direction générale en janvier 2007. Depuis, le Musée se distingue par sa politique de conception, de production et d’exportation d’expositions particulièrement dynamique à l’international. Nathalie Bondil a invité la mode au Musée avec les premières rétrospectives Yves Saint Laurent et La planète mode de Jean Paul Gaultier. En tournée dans douze étapes autour du monde, cette exposition a généré des retombées médiatiques et critiques exceptionnelles. La directrice générale a également renforcé la programmation en art contemporain avec Peter Doig en 2013 et ouvert le Musée sur les cultures du monde avec des expositions comme Pérou : royaumes du Soleil et de la Lune.

Elle a introduit la musique spatialisée au Musée grâce à une programmation d’expositions pluridisciplinaires originale : Chagall : Couleur et musique, La musique et la danse dans l’œuvre d’Andy Warhol. Dans le cadre de la reconversion audacieuse d’une église patrimoniale ornée de vitraux Tiffany, le Musée a créé en 2011 une salle de concert professionnelle qui présente quelque 200 concerts et activités musicales et reçoit environ 50 000 auditeurs par an.

En 2011, avec l’ajout d’un 4e pavillon à la cité muséale, Nathalie Bondil a entrepris avec son équipe l’étude, la restauration et le redéploiement de quelque 4 000 œuvres de la collection encyclopédique: des cultures du monde aux maîtres anciens, à l’art canadien et contemporain. Ce «Musée réinventé» compte aussi un important pavillon d’arts décoratifs et de design récemment aménagé ainsi qu’un jardin de sculptures agrandi, au terme d’une campagne majeure de financement de 100 millions $.

En 2016, le Musée s’est doté d’un 5e bâtiment, le Pavillon pour la Paix, consacré à l’art international et à l’éducation, grâce à la donation majeure de la collection de maîtres anciens de Michal et Renata Hornstein. Il est le premier legs à la Ville de Montréal pour son 375e anniversaire. Il abrite également l’Atelier international d’éducation et d’art-thérapie Michel de la Chenelière. Déjà, en 2012, elle avait conduit l’agrandissement de nouveaux espaces éducatifs dédiés aux groupes scolaires et aux familles, les Studios Art & Éducation Michel de la Chenelière. Avec l’objectif de doubler la fréquentation de 100 000 à 200 000 élèves par an d’ici 2017, un record atteint après seulement 18 mois d’ouverture. Le MBAM se classe aujourd’hui au 1er rang des musées d’art les plus fréquentés au Canada.

Élue Personnalité de l’année en culture (2017) par La Presse, Nathalie Bondil a reçu la médaille de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec (2016), a été nommée membre de l’Ordre du Canada et a reçu le Prix Camille-Laurin de l’Office québécois de la langue française et un doctorat honoris causa de l’Université de Montréal (2015). Parmi les distinctions précédentes : la Médaille Jacques Cartier (2014), un doctorat honoris causa de l’Université McGill (2013), le prix Samuel de Champlain de l’Institut France-Canada (2012), et l’insigne du mérite de la Faculté des arts et des sciences de l’Université de Montréal (2011). En 2008, elle est nommée chevalière de l’Ordre national du Québec et reçoit les insignes de Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République française (promue au rang d’officier en 2016).

Nathalie Bondil est vice-présidente du Conseil des arts du Canada et vice-présidente de la Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal.