Gail Asper, Edmund C. Bovey Award, 2010

Ms. Asper is an indefatigable champion, fundraiser, volunteer, administrator and advocate for the arts, both in her native province of Winnipeg and across Canada.  As Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO Manitoba Opera remarked, “Gail is a unique and gifted person.  She has the soul of an artist, the tenacity of a lawyer and the smarts of a business woman.  She puts all of these qualities to work for the arts in Manitoba.”

In addition to serving on numerous corporate boards, Ms. Asper has worked tirelessly in support of arts and culture organizations such as the Manitoba Theatre Centre where, as Capital Campaign Co-Chair, she helped fundraise a $10M Endowment Campaign and $5M for much needed renovations. Not only a supporter but an advocate for the arts, Ms. Asper’s efforts to lobby local government succeeded in doubling municipal arts funding for the Winnipeg Arts Council, and her determination resulted in the creation of both federal and provincial (Manitoba) matching programs for arts endowments.

Through Ms. Asper’s involvement with The Canwest Global Foundation, The Asper Foundation, and through her own generous personal donations, she has made tremendous financial contributions to a host of arts organizations including the Manitoba Theatre Centre, The National Arts Centre, Manitoba Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre Manitoba Museum, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and many others.

Most recently, together with The Asper Foundation, Ms. Asper has spearheaded the campaign for the construction of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is envisioned to be a national and international centre of learning where Canadians and people from around the world can engage in discussion and commit to taking personal responsibility for the preservation and advancement of human rights.

Last year’s Bovey winner, A. Charles Baillie, Retired Chairman & CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, was among the five jurors for this year’s award.  He was joined by Alain Dancyger, Executive Director, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal; David MacKenzie, CEO, Confederation Centre of the Arts; John McWilliams, Chair of EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts; and Janet Yale, Executive Vice-President and National Chair of TELUS Community Boards.