du Maurier Arts Ltd/Les Arts du Maurier Ltée
du Maurier Arts Ltd/Les Arts du Maurier Ltée (du Maurier Council for the Performing Arts/Conseil du Maurier des arts d'interpretation 1971-88, du Maurier Council for the Arts Ltd/Conseil des arts du Maurier Ltée, 1989-90). Funding agency that existed between 1971 and 2003 and was established in 1971 by the Imperial Tobacco Co, through The Houston Group, a Toronto public relations firm, to develop Canadian talent and to broaden public interest in the performing arts. It provided grants to many performing arts organizations including the Canadian Opera Company, the Opéra du Québec, the Calgary Opera, the Shaw Festival, various dance groups and the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and other Canadian orchestras.
The council sponsored an annual contest 1977-84 for young Canadian performers. It was known in its first season as the du Maurier Search for Talent and thereafter as the du Maurier Search for Stars. Winners included the Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet, Desmond Hoebig, Gwen Hoebig, Loreena McKennitt, Sophie Rolland, and Marie-Josée Simard. In 1985 the council began to sponsor an international jazz festival in Toronto and by 1991 had also given its support and name to similar events in Edmonton (Jazz City), Vancouver, and Saskatoon. (See also Jazz Festivals.)
Between 1981 and 2003 du Maurier Arts Ltd provided over $60 million to 675 arts organizations nationwide. This included the cost of converting a former ice house on the Toronto waterfront (see Harbourfront) into the 400-seat du Maurier Theatre Centre (after 1972 known as the Harbourfront Centre Theatre), which has been used for musical as well as theatrical events.
In October 2003, due to new federal legislation banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship, the du Maurier Arts Council was forced to disband. In its place two new programs were created: the Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Council and the Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Fund. Rather than sponsoring arts events, these new programs make annual donations totalling $3 million to a variety of arts groups in the fields of music, dance, theatre, literature, opera and the visual arts. The Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Council makes donations ranging from $5000 to $15,000 to small incorporated and non-profit arts groups while the Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Fund donates $15,000-$100,000 to larger arts organizations.