ABOUT THE PAC
The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) is located in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario at the corner of St. Paul and Carlilse Streets on the shared traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Neutral Peoples and many other Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We offer our sincere gratitude and respect to the original and continued stewards of this land. We also acknowledge Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and 2SLGBTQQAI+ that have been marginalized for centuries and more - and our collective responsibility to take action for a better world free from oppression, discrimination and racism. The PAC aims to provide meaningful opportunities to bring our community together in a place of mutual understanding, empathy, and respect through the arts.
Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, our 95,000 square foot cultural complex opened in November 2015 and spurred an artistic, cultural and economic renaissance in downtown St. Catharines. The PAC is comprised of four state-of-the-art performance venues (Partridge Hall, Robertson Theatre, Recital Hall, and The Film House) which host international, national and local artists alongside community members and organizations.
Our mandate to be a catalyst for downtown development, and to be the centre of performing arts for the Niagara Region with emphasis on diversity, high quality, and quantity of activity; to be a highly professional, independent entity that is an aggressive, risk-taking presenting organization, and a fundraising and promotional organization, that will be a focal point for the cultural and artistic life of the community and an advocate for the arts; and to provide essential infrastructure and services to support the development and health of the professional arts community.
As a key catayst for downtown development and economic driver for Niagara, since opening our doors in 2015, over 40 new businesses have opened with an economic spin-off of $17 million. The PAC employs 23 full-time staff, approx. 70 part-time staff, a pool of IATSE union workers and over 80 engaged and dedicated volunteers.
The FirstOntario PAC attracts people to the downtown core nightly with an average of 1000 events a year. Since opening, the FirstOntario PAC has hosted over 5,000 events and welcomed over 350,000 visitors. We showcase music, dance, theatre, film, comedy, speakers, meetings and community gatherings ranging from 200-person capacity to 800.
Our annual HOT TICKET presentation season consists of over 75 annual curated events of the highest quality and variety with a base of close to 1000 dedicated annual members!
The Film House is simply Niagara's best place to experience choice new and classic cinema on the big screen with over ten diverse narratives, stunning pictures and interactive events every week.
Our imPACt Education Series invites students to make the stage their classroom with diverse programming and countless ways to complement and teach Ontario’s curriculum from Pre-K to Grade 12.
We are home to Celebration of Nations gathering of Indigenous arts, culture and tradition in downtown St. Catharines. The main annual gathering takes place annually the weekend after labour day, and Celebration of Nations featured programming takes place all year long! Celebration of Nations is an opportunity for Niagara residents and visitors to actively participate in an inclusive and engaging community gathering, built on the Two Row Wampum teaching that promotes walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community. The fourth annual 2020 virtual edition was embraced by over 35,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous viewers throughout Ontario, with some outliers across North America and the globe, including viewers from as far away as Switzerland and New Zealand!
The FirstOntario PAC is a cultural hub and home to over a dozen local arts organizations and festivals including Niagara Symphony Orchestra , Chorus Niagara , The Foster Festival , Carousel Players , Gallery Players of Niagara , Bravo! Niagara Festival of the Arts , Garden City Comedy Festival, Essential Collective Theatre , Suitcase In Point , Yellow Door Theatre Project, TD Niagara Jazz Festival, In The Soil Festival and Brock University's Departments of Music and Dramatic Arts, Encore Professional Music Series and Tuesday's free Music@Noon concerts .
In April of 2020, nearing the end of our most successful HOT TICKET presentation season to date, the PAC quickly pivoted to presenting free LIVE arts virtual offerings online twice a week. In just a few short months the PAC presented over 50 free virtual concerts and events, hiring over 200 local artists and organizations and drawing over 150,000 viewers from the Niagara region and around the globe!
The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canadian Experiences Fund, Ontario Presents, the Niagara Investment in Culture Program, FirstOntario Credit Union, the City of St. Catharines, our longtime partnership with Brock University and our sponsors, donors, volunteers and HOT TICKET members for their continued engagement and support.
Check out our rental options and take a 3D tour here!