Today, Algoma University signed an agreement to lease shared space for its music program at the new Algoma Conservatory of Music Building at Mill Square. The agreement, a three-year lease with the option of a fourth-year renewal, will facilitate major growth for the Algoma U music program.
Dr. Edward Turgeon, Director of the Algoma University music program, says that faculty and students are elated at the news: “The handsome stone building conveys a stately image of permanence and quality, just what is needed to assure continued rapid growth of Algoma University’s music program. With a music hub located in Sault Ste. Marie’s dynamic canal district, conditions are optimal for Algoma’s music program to become a gem among North America’s best university music programs.”
The signing of the agreement continues a 42-year collaboration between the Conservatory and Algoma University through shared instructors and facilities. Prior to the purchase of the historic general administration building at Mill Square, the Conservatory was housed in portable buildings and residence units at the University. Algoma President, Dr. Richard Myers emphasizes the importance of this ongoing partnership: “Both the Conservatory and the University have needed enhanced music facilities for years, but neither needs them around the clock. Partnering and sharing make good financial sense for everyone.”
The Algoma Conservatory will launch a major fundraising campaign this fall for the purchase and renovation of the facility, however, through the purchase agreement, early occupancy was arranged to enable music courses to begin this September. This will establish one of the most distinctive music education centres in Canada, will assist in the redevelopment of the Canal District and Mill Square, and breathe a second century of life into this irreplaceable local landmark.
When renovations are completed, the facility will triple the space that was available for music at the Queen Street campus. Algoma Conservatory Principal, Guy Traficante feels that this will make it possible to greatly expand programs.
“Our facility was limited to very small rooms greatly restricting the programs that we could offer. The new facility will enable the development of extensive new group music classes and performances. This will greatly extend our reach into the community. The goal is to have “Music for All” a continuation of current classes and new low- cost group classes for a large number of students. These will include new instrumental and vocal programs for children and teens, special classes and ensembles for adults, workshops and tours for school classes, plus the development of new concert series and special events, making the joy of music accessible to all in our community. We are thrilled to welcome the Algoma University music students and professors to the facility as this will add yet another important and exciting dimension.”
In addition to classrooms and teaching studios, the building provides distinctive gathering spaces with a large waiting area and music discovery room as well as a performance space and reception area. It features soaring ceilings, oak wainscoting, massive oak framed windows, stained glass and a picture perfect staircase. It is one of the most remarkable buildings in Sault Ste. Marie.
CEO of Riversedge Developments, Justus Veldman stresses that Algoma University and the Algoma Conservatory will enhance the cultural experience of Mill Square. “It’s simply fantastic news. When we first started this revitalization project, we saw the rich community Sault Ste. Marie had in the arts and music and have worked hard to make a place for it to thrive as a vibrant part of the urban cultural experience that Mill Square is being designed for. Algoma University will be a very welcome, and very valued member of the Mill Square community.”
For more information on the Mill Square development, please visit For more information on the Mill Square development, please visit www.millsquare.ca.