The popular hub which has served the French-speaking community since 1965 has been sold.
On Friday January 8, the Compagnons des francs loisirs finalized the sale of the building at 327 Dudley Street in North Bay. This building had been for sale since the fall of 2019.
In 2017, the Board of Directors began a series of studies and analyzes focusing on the use of the premises, on the time required for maintenance and operations, and on the costs associated with the necessary repairs and renovations. These studies were followed by a report prepared by a consulting firm and presented to the Board of Directors in March 2019.
The body of research revealed what had been suspected for some time, that the maintenance of the building was incurring financial losses for the organization. Consultation with the community that began in March 2018 indicated that members were open to this change.
"In the eyes of the Board of Directors, the sale of the building is just another step in the evolution of the cultural centre that has served the North Bay area for more than 55 years," said Michel Pagé, co-chair of the Board of Directors of Les Compagnons des francs loisirs. "Our building has served the community well and we will keep fond memories of the various shows and gatherings that have taken place there over the years,"
Co-chair April Rosenberger, added, "The sale of the building is not an end, but the beginning of a new era for Les Compagnons, a time of renewal."
The sale of the building coincides with the launch of the 58th Carnaval des Compagnons.
“Les Companions is much more than a building," says Rosenberger. "Our organization will continue to provide high quality programming to the Francophone community of North Bay and surrounding areas for many years to come ”.
The organization intends to take advantage of the many premises and performance venues available in the community, to offer diversified programming to the Francophone and Francophile population.
“People will no longer come to Les Compagnons, but rather, Les Compagnons will be an integral part of the community”.Pagé added.
As soon as COVID restrictions allow, administrative offices will be moved to the main site of Garderie Soleil on Chippewa Street, a daycare that is managed by Les Compagnons des francs loisirs. In addition, as a first step toward this renewal, the Board of Directors intends shortly to hire an Executive Director capable of mobilizing the Francophone community, of developing programming that meets the aspirations and interests of its clientele, and of setting up a funding that ensures the financial health of the organization for years to come according to a release.
Over 17,000 people speak French in the North Bay area.