The Manitou Opera House has been a cultural gathering place for over a century in the rural Manitoba community. Organizers say the facility is used 250 days a year.
"That's pretty busy... but that's the whole point, we want the arts to be supported in our community," Manitou Opera House Foundation's Al Thorleifson says.
The original opera house built in 1908 and then rebuilt in 1930 after a fire destroyed much of the structure. The historic facility underwent a major $1.3 million expansion and renovation four years ago which included a nearly 2,200 sq. ft. expansion. Thanks to incredible support from the local community the foundation is closing in on paying off the loan, with only $28,000 left.
"Which isn't that bad," Thorleifson says. "And we're working on different concerts to help pay that down."
He notes the facility continues to evolve to serve the needs of the future with the addition of digital projectors, "to enhance our relationship with the public, to make sure if somebody needs something to host a conference or concert then we've got what they need."
The Manitou Opera House Foundation recently received a $14,390 provincial grant for the purchase of equipment and furnishings. The funds come from the province's new Community Support Small Grants program, which supports non-profit community organizations.
The opera house will also play a part in the community's annual summer festival, featuring Red Moon Road on Friday to kick off the Manitou Honey Garlic Festival weekend.