Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

‘Unparalleled’ donation launches funding drive for Emily Carr’s new campus

Dr. Ron Burnett, president of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, is photographed at the Granville Island campus in Vancouver on February 25, 2014.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Emily Carr University of Art and Design launched its capital campaign for the planned Great Northern Way campus on Friday with a $7-million donation – the largest private donation of its kind in this country, according to the university.

"It is unparalleled," ECUAD president and vice-chancellor Ron Burnett told a news conference. "There is no arts university in Canada that's ever received a gift of this size."

The pledge, from Vancouver real estate developer Reliance Properties, will help fund a gallery and theatre at the planned $134-million Great Northern Way facility.

Story continues below advertisement

The donation kicks off the university's capital campaign, which it has dubbed "The Big Idea." With this donation, and earlier donations – including the previously announced $5-million from philanthropist Michael Audain – Emily Carr has raised $15-million toward the $25-million capital campaign goal.

The plan is to integrate the Libby Leshgold Gallery and Reliance Lecture Theatre with a concourse off a planned plaza at Great Northern Way, creating a hub where people – including students and members of the public – can gather.

"We see it as the kind of nerve centre of the campus," says Reliance Properties president Jon Stovell.

Libby Leshgold, who died last year, was a member of the family that founded Reliance Properties.

"She loved art, she loved design. Everything about her sort of screamed style and an interest in creativity," her granddaughter, Kirby Goldstein, told The Globe and Mail after the announcement.

A decision on the architect for the project is expected this summer, with construction to begin in November and a projected opening date of January, 2017.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at