July 12, 2022, STRATFORD -- On June 30th, 2022, the BMI Group completed a sale agreement with the congregation of Knox Presbyterian Church and signed separate lease agreements with both the church and the Stratford Arts and Culture Collective (SACC) related to future use of the church property.
Today, BMI announced a new name for the church property. In the future, the much-loved building at the corner of Ontario and Waterloo Streets will be known as Copperlight, a name that reflects the architecture of the building and the light that pours into the space. The Knox congregation will continue to meet at the church for worship and will continue its community outreach activities such as the Cancer Care Mission that includes the Wigs and Accessories Room, community meal preparation and congregational life activities through the week.
These exciting future plans for Knox are the result of many conversations about how to protect one of Stratford’s cherished heritage sites and create opportunities for other community uses. In recent years, SACC and the Knox congregation had evolved a shared belief that the main sanctuary of the church could be converted into a much-needed space for the performing arts. With the building purchase and other planned improvements, BMI has delivered the investment required to make that dream possible. In the end, the values and vision of the BMI Group aligned with how the Knox congregation and SACC envisioned a re-purposed church.
Today, a variety of community leaders were invited to meet with the partners to these agreements and hear news about immediate and long-term plans for the building and property. Specifically, those gathered were invited to “honour the church’s history and welcome the evolution of an arts and culture centre in Stratford.”
In the short-term, the BMI Group will honour all existing leases and event bookings with community partners for the rest of 2022. During this period, the developer will make small improvements that improve the rentability of the space before proceeding with any major restoration and renovation of the building.
“This is an exciting new end-use scenario where we envision Knox as a vibrant arts centre in the heart of Stratford. The BMI Group is dedicated to the City of Stratford and its passion for arts, culture and creative spaces. We look forward to creating a new space under the umbrella of our Copperlight brand for these passions to find a home"
- Paul Veldman, The BMI Group https://www.thebmigroup.ca/
“Our vision that the Knox site could encompass faith, the arts and community service purposes has not changed. Working with the BMI group and SACC means we can build something truly unique in the heart of Stratford that preserves and leverages the value of this historic site.”
- Allan Rothwell, Chair of Knox Task Group
“Some years ago, the SACC identified the need for a state-of-the art facility that could handle community-based theatre, arts and musical productions, and other cultural activities. Now that that possibility has become reality, we have a lot of work to do to bring this project to the finish line.”
- SACC Co-Chair, Chris Leberg
“It is our privilege to work with this team of Stratford visionaries, centred around Knox. It is only through partnerships like this between the community and private sectors, together, that we will see progress in social purpose real estate challenges. Stratford is becoming an example yet again, for Canada.”
- Graham Singh, CEO, Trinity Centres Foundation
For more information, please contact:
The BMI Group
Under the “Knox Next Stage” banner the SACC shares information as work progresses toward the creation of a new performance arts space at Copperlight, formerly Knox Presbyterian Church. Updates can be found at the project website KnoxNextStage.com. Questions and comments can be sent to KnoxNextStage@gmail.com.