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Calm Sea

Our History

THE EARLY YEARS

In the spring of 2001, a citizen led initiative to convert an abandoned shipyard coalesced into a collaboration between members of the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club, then located further south along the harbour in Sandy Point and individuals interested in creating a performing arts space. By 2002, with funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the yacht club, the Town of Shelburne, the Municipality of Shelburne, and a host of committed citizens, the Osprey Arts Centre Association was born with a plan to take up residence in a rebuilt version of the oversized shed then known as the Dorothy and Gail building.

The building got its name from The Dorothy and Gail, one of the last of the wooden long liners built by Shelburne’s once-proud shipbuilding industry. More recent usages of the building had been as one of the main sets for Roland Joffe’s 1995 feature film, “The Scarlet Letter,” starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall; and later as a museum which housed, for a time, the retired Dorothy and Gail vessel herself.

With Hollywood gone and the museum concept dying, the building was as likely to fall over had it not been for that citizen led initiative. After their extraordinary fundraising effort, work converting the building commenced in 2002 and continued into 2003, when the Osprey first opened its doors.

From 2003 to 2019, the Osprey Arts Centre grew and flourished, adding fold out stadium seating, a professional lighting grid and sound system, along with a lobby and a box office. 

THE HARD YEARS

Usually, it’s the early years that are the hardest in stories such as this, but in 2019, a fire broke out in the yacht club and marina which shares one third of the Osprey’s building, causing all three operations to close for nearly a year while remedial action was taken to clean and restore the space.

No sooner had the Osprey reopened in early 2020, than the global Covid-19 pandemic hit, abruptly closing the building for another two years. Despite the hardships, the management and board of directors at the time staged a series of events using other halls, churches and community spaces in the county to keep the performing arts alive.

Which brings us to 2024. Having weathered figurative storms nearly the equal of those experienced by the ships that came out of her in a former life, The Osprey, with its staff and dedicated volunteer board, is busy rebuilding a robust schedule of events featuring a variety of performers and performing arts. The ship is righted. The seas are calm once again, and there’s a steady breeze at our backs. Steady as she goes, helmsman, steady as she goes!

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 The Osprey Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the hard work that so many have put in over the years to make the Osprey the extraordinary resource that it is, including especially:

The Osprey Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the hard work that so many have put in over the years to make the Osprey the extraordinary resource that it is, including especially:

Faith Guay

Susan Hoover

Holly Renaud

David Huddleston

Wayne King

Ken Taylor

Darcy Rhyno

Alex Buchanan

Hal Brolund

Marja Himmelman

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