News & Donor Stories
December 1, 2017
Locally owned, Strata Development Corporation has been serving the Saskatoon Community since 2010. Their impressive project portfolio illustrates a new legacy of work in design and construction management. When the opportunity to submit a proposal for Construction Management services for the Children’s Discovery Museum came up in 2016, Chris Popplewell couldn’t wait to jump on board. Chris had recently returned from a visit to the Boston Children’s Museum with his son River, age 5 at the time, and came home full of excitement.
“My son and I had gone for a quick weekend trip to spend some time together, take in a Bruins hockey game and relax. We were looking for another activity to do while we were in Boston and stumbled across the Boston Children’s Museum. River absolutely loved the exhibits and to my surprise, I really enjoyed my day there and was blown away at the quality of the entire facility and the exhibits,” says Chris. “When I returned home, I was telling my wife how amazing it would be to have something of that quality here in Saskatoon for our children. As a business person, I was also scheming the incredible tourism opportunities that a facility like this would bring to our city.”
When the Request for Proposal for Construction Managers came out, the prospect of being a part of this project inspired the entire team at Strata. “My business partner and I both had young families and we really wanted to be a part of this legacy project,” says Chris.
They felt like the underdog when they went into the proposal presentations, but their passion and energy was evident to the entire panel. They went through several rounds of interviews, but by the time they emerged as the Construction Managers, the whole Strata Team was thrilled and filled with pride. Chris had always felt strongly that the company should be giving back to the local community they worked in, but hadn’t yet found the right fit that would unite the staff. As soon as he shared this opportunity with the staff, and saw their responses, he knew he had found the place in the Children’s Discovery Museum.
“My team really loves their jobs and this community, but they love their families even more,” says Chris. “The idea that we could be a part of this world class facility for our kids and grandkids to be able to enjoy was overwhelming.”
Chris announced to the staff that Strata would be making their first large philanthropic gift to the Children’s Discovery Museum and that it would total more than $110,000.
“The fact that our small company could make an impact of this size was exciting.,” says Chris. “All of our kids teach us something every day, and my son River still talks about the experience we shared in Boston, so the fact that Strata is able to be a part of helping other kids make those memories here in Saskatoon is so exciting!”
With the Kid Approved Campaign on track to reaching its $15 million-dollar goal, Chris is hopeful that Strata’s gift will spark something in other companies and individuals. He wants everyone to know that large or small, every contribution to the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum is more than a donation, it really is an investment in creativity, curiosity and all our kids’ futures!
November 16, 2017
The new PotashCorp children’s discovery museum announced today a major gift from Gordon and Jill Rawlinson and Rawlco Radio. In recognition of the gift, the PotashCorp’s children’s discovery museum has named a prominent exhibit in the main gallery “C95 Toon Town”.
This donation is a part of the capital campaign for the new PotashCorp children’s discovery museum. The Main Gallery and C95 Toon Town are the first stop for Museum visitors and an integral part of the fun families will experience in the new museum.
C95 Toon Town will spark children’s creativity and engage them in open-ended discovery play. There will be numerous opportunities for play as children make connections between the real world and the role models in their lives. The design of C95 Toon Town includes movable carts, props and building facades that can represent what Saskatoon once was, what it has become today and allows for children to even plan what the future could look like. This flexibility will encourage children to experience different professions and dream big. As an example, they can dress up as a doctor and play in front of a physician themed facade.
Executive Director of the new PotashCorp children’s discovery museum, Amanda McReynolds Doran, thanked the Rawlinsons for their gift. “The new PotashCorp children’s discovery museum is so thankful to have the support of Gordon and Jill as well as Rawlco Radio. With their support, C95 Toon Town will be a flexible exhibit where all children will be able to collaborate and experience hands on activities in theatrical productions and a variety of programs in art, engineering and music.”
“We are proud to own and operate C95, Rock 102 and 650 CKOM for almost 35 years,” said Gordon Rawlinson. “The new PotashCorp children’s discovery museum is a world-class facility, and we are thrilled that our donation is helping create the C95 Toon Town exhibit where families will come together to create memories.”
KidApproved Capital Campaign Chair, Robin Chapman added. “Now is the time to present this amazing gift. The opportunity has arrived, it is not “if” there will be a children’s museum but “when”. Let’s build a legacy for our children, our community and province.”
October 4, 2017
We have reached a milestone that deserves recognition and celebration. We have begun the renovations to the Mendel building. That’s right, our shared dream is now taking shape! On September 28, many of our board members, campaign committee members, donors, and elected officials gathered to hold a ceremonial ground breaking. We were very pleased to have Elder Roland Duquette open our celebration with a blessing. Mayor Charlie Clark, Rhonda Speiss from PotashCorp, Derek Kindrachuk of Kindrachuk Agrey Architects, and our own Board Member Carla Loney-Tindall all spoke to the importance of this project for the children of our community and our province.
So, as you pass the Mendel building in the coming months, you will see the signs of a building being transformed. I hope that when you pass by you can picture the smiling faces of children and families that will come together in our children’s museum. And I hope that you will share the news of our progress with those you love, bringing even more community members into our family of supporters.
It was an incredible honour to have such respected community members there to lead our celebration, and to have many more such community members in attendance celebrating the progress that we have made. However, the greatest joy for all in attendance was seeing the children who joined us that night playing in what will soon be their space. Their laughter and excitement was contagious. Their joyful sounds rose above us as a reminder, a promise of the energy that will soon fill the beloved Mendel building on a daily basis. Thank you for your continued support!
Investing in Creativity: Government of Canada Supports a Bigger and Better Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan
September 17, 2017
On September 12, Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced $3 million in funding for the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan. Mr. Casey made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
“Our government is committed to supporting improvements to cultural spaces for artistic creativity and innovation. We are providing children and their families with the opportunity to experience lifelong learning in a larger and more accessible facility”, said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
This funding—provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund—will support the renovation and reconfiguration of the former Mendel Art Gallery building to house the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan.
“The goal of the Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan is to create a space where kids of all ages can come together to explore science, culture and art. Today’s investment will help them achieve this, and will benefit all the visitors who get to enjoy the new space and increased programming!” Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage shared.
The press conference also included remarks from Mairin Loewen, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Ward 7, City of Saskatoon, “This investment will help the Children’s Discovery Museum expand its offerings to our community and create greater opportunities for the kids of Saskatoon to play and learn together.”
The new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan is a non-profit organization that has operated a children’s museum at Market Mall in Saskatoon since 2009. The project will significantly increase the size of the museum from 2,000 to 12,000 square feet of exhibit space and raise the number of exhibits from four to ten. The facility will be fully accessible to individuals with mobility devices and reduced vision. It will also incorporate sensory considerations to accommodate visitors within the autism spectrum.
The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund supports the improvement of physical conditions for artistic creativity and innovation, through the improvement, renovation and construction of arts and heritage facilities, as well as the acquisition of specialized equipment.
“We are honored that the Department of Canadian Heritage has chosen to invest in our organization and the children we serve. The new children’s museum will transform the beloved Mendel building into a hub of activity for families, where children can learn, grow, play and connect with the many cultures of Saskatchewan” said Amanda McReynolds Doran, Executive Director, new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan.
Dave Hunchak, past President of the Board of Directors for the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum shared how excited he was to see this project coming to fruition. “I have witnessed over the past several years how this museum is transforming from a 1200 square foot spaces to a 12,000 space that belongs to our kids and the future of our community. We are so pleased to be partnering with the City of Saskatoon and Department of Heritage to bring new life into the iconic Mendel building and honor the history of creativity that lives here. This facility will be a gateway for children to discover and experience the world around them. It will become a centrepiece of civic life in the greater Saskatoon area and offer a community focused environment for students, educators, families and visitors to learn, play and grow”.
Veronique Loewen, a community supporter who acted as the Master of Ceremonies, expressed her pleasure at being able to support the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum. “The museum is impacting the lives of the people of Saskatchewan, especially our littlest citizens.”
Some of those littlest citizens were in attendance and able to present Parliamentary Secretary Casey with a thank you card that they had created during the press conference.
September 7, 2017
Saskatchewan families are eagerly looking forward to the new PotashCorp children’s museum opening in the iconic Mendel building in the spring of 2019. Many people have experienced children’s museums and are aware that they offer exciting places for children to play, learn, and explore; and even more, Saskatchewan’s first children’s museum will also be a place where art, history, and culture intersect with play.
The New PotashCorp Children’s Museum is very pleased to announce that the museum will feature an interactive fibre art installation by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. This unique installation is being created especially for the new children’s museum in Saskatoon, and will be the first interactive, climbable structure of its kind in Canada.
MacAdam, originally from Japan, lives and works in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. She has been one of the most well-known fibre artists in the world since the 1980’s, with works featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Modern art in Kyoto, and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma in Rome. MacAdam will crochet and dye tonnes of fabric by hand, to create a beautiful design that invites children to transform this art installation into an extraordinary playland. Children will be able to climb up into the structure itself and bound across, feeling the movements of other children and providing a combination of physical experiences they would have on a trampoline, a climbing rope or a tree house. Children playing under the structure will swing from tear-drop shaped extensions dropping down from the main level above. MacAdam and her team of fibre artists will spend the next 18 months crafting this piece, which will be installed in the early months of 2019.
The impressive design has caught the eye of Joe Remai, who explains, “As a real estate developer, my charitable interests tend to gravitate to tangible things – buildings and equipment that will meet needs for generations… I like the idea of being involved in something that my grandchildren and perhaps even their grandchildren can enjoy.” The Joseph Alfred Remai Family Foundation has made a $1,000,000 gift to the new children’s museum, and their contribution will be recognized at the Climber exhibit.
The Executive Director of the children’s museum, Amanda McReynolds Doran, predicts that this will be one of the most popular exhibits in the new museum. “When I first saw the design, my mind immediately brought me back to the beautiful, colorful blankets my grandmother used to crochet for us. The colors and patterns invoked memories of warm and happy moments in my childhood, and I cannot wait to see the myriad ways in which children can engage with the structure to explore and take risks in a safe, welcoming environment.”