Tragic Decline of Galt Collegiate Amphitheatre and Tassie Hall

Arguably, the most iconic school in the City of Cambridge is Galt Collegiate. The rich history of the building and it’s impressive architectural design make it an important building to preserve for multiple reasons. It has been designated as a historic landmark by the City of Cambridge in 1983.
Unfortunately two important structures at the collegiate have had their maintenance ignored and are now in a precarious state of repair.

GCI Amphitheatre Left to Rot

Amphitheatre

The amphitheatre overlooking the river was opened in 1977. Rick McNair, a drama teacher at the school, was the driving force behind building it. He also developed the Theatre Arts Program and Curriculum at GCI, and a student performance group called the GCI Harlequin Players. He left GCI in 1977. Rick has passed on, but I wonder how sad he would be to see what has happened to this once beautiful structure.
Closed in 2010, the amphitheatre has been in a steady decline. The accessibility ramps are destroyed, the theatre is overgrown with weeds, electrical components have been ripped out, and wooden benches have been left to rot.
Tassie Hall can longer be booked by the public due to it's fragile state

Tassie Hall
Tassie Hall opened up in 1923. The Galt Little Theatre group, (now called Cambridge Community Players), started putting on plays in the hall in 1933. They would pack the hall with people in the 1940s. Restrictions put on the theatre group by the school eventually led them to find a new home.
It is hard to imagine how this important venue has been left to decay to the point where the public can no longer rent it.
When applying to the school board for a permit to rent Tassie Hall, I was told that it can no longer be rented to the public. Upon further investigation, the principal at Galt Collegiate, Beverly Woods, revealed that due to its “delicate” condition it can no longer be rented to the public who own it.
Custodians have also stated what I have long known, that Tassie Hall sits empty at night over 90% of time.
How could the people we entrust to preserve our buildings allow this to happen? The public owns these buildings and demand better from the Principals, Superintendents and Director of Educations who has allowed this to decline to occur over the years.
As Tassie Hall fades to black and the amphitheatre is overtaken by nature, I hope that someone will be held accountable for the tragic state of these facilities.

15 comments:

  1. Terribly said. Many, many memories in both Tassie Hall and the outdoor Ampitheatre. School boards are neglecting the core of culture in our public schools... libraries are on this list as well. Going in the wrong direction people!! Christi (Neale) Fraser

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  2. such a jewel - why can't this be preserved and used????

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  3. It's been years since I set foot inside Tassie Hall or even outside in the amphitheatre. It saddens me to think that these beautiful public spaces are not being maintained and used. Why does this happen?

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  4. So sad....someone needs to take action to maintain both these historic places. Tassie hall and the amphitheatre. So much talent has set foot on both of those stages. Do what's right and fix them.

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  5. This is absolutely outrageous. It's part for the school and owned by the public. FIX IT!!!

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  6. This is so sad, I remember performing within both these venues on multiple occasions and watching performances. Is there anything we can do to bring them back up to a usable condition?

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  7. Something has to be done. Every one is missing out on these beautiful spaces. It's time someone does something to save them. Pathetic to think that money is likely the root of the problem.

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  8. If it is registered as a historical landmark is it not the City's dury to ensure the upkeep is done?! There were many important plays, famous actors/actresses that were on this stage at one time as well as graduations. Instead of paying for a venue for grad use the money here and lets get back to being known for those plays and famous people. Very heart broken

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  9. I am a graduated student of GCI, and I can let you guys know that I was there the day that the amphitheater was shut down. One of my friends fell through the rotting mobility ramps while a group of me and some other students were goofing around. The friend that fell through the boards then slid down the side of the hill a little ways down. The hall monitor wanders around that area after lunch to make sure students don't go down there, which has been in affect since the beginning of my grade 9 year when my friend fell. Tassie has also been off limits other than assemblies and for some of the drama students.

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  10. This is heartbreaking..I had Mr.McNair as a drama teacher..his vision for the amphitheatre was years before it was finally built..yes he would be very saddened by its current state..such a beautiful spot..

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  11. This is very sad, someone should do something about this. If it is the city's I'm sure they can find means within the budget to fix this historical landmark. Even have people doing there community service in this area.

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  12. I am a graduate, my parents were graduates - this is a disturbing reality - putting money only into technology now which breaks much easier and quicker but can be replaced in an instant. Tassie Hall and the amphitheatre MUST be taken care of - if the school board thinks these gems are worthless like most other traditions, perhaps the City can purchase them, restore them and allow some wonderful new memories to be created

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  13. I can't believe this!! I did my first dance recital in Tassie Hall a great little theatre. Can we. Or have a private investment firm take over and bring this back to life? How about start an arts program in the school whereby all of their programs use the facility.

    We must look for someone who holds these precious buildings dear to invest in it for future

    Who's with me for a school for the arts?? Perhaps run a ballroom and Latin program bringing back respect poise manners etiquette and so much more to our youth
    Drama teachers where are you?? We need to hear from you
    Musicians we need you too....

    Forever saddened April

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  14. Why doesn't someone invest some money and making the amphitheatre venue for weddings? Financially it wouldn't be a huge expense and the community is always looking for a unique spaces such as that.

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  15. Hi there, I'm a recent graduate of GCI.

    Other than the glaring grammar issues, you have a point. Yes, it's rather sad that the once aesthetically pleasing aspects of GCI are now left in a sad state of disuse. This isn't, however, out of the seemingly implied malice of GCI administration. If anything, it's because the modern iterations of the secondary school curriculum are providing less and less reason to use them.

    GCI's involvement with the arts seems to have been faltering for quite some time. While students still have the opportunity to involve themselves, these are usually presented through extra-curricular activities. There is no room in the current curriculum for these venues to be used.

    The problem lies not with the desire to use these once-wonderful places again, but the need to.

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