Canada’s influential arts ambassadors will be recognized at this year’s Business for the Arts Awards Gala

TORONTO, ON - October 4, 2017 – On Thursday, November 9, 2017, the 39th annual Business for the Arts (BftA) Awards Gala returns to Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). The high-profile event offers a platform for Canada’s arts and business leaders to unite in celebration of extraordinary contribution and commitment to the country’s colourful arts sector.

Attracting Canada’s influential players in the arts and business circles, the BftA Awards Gala recognizes the relentless and impactful work of individuals and businesses in Canada’s art scene through philanthropy, unique and innovative partnerships and volunteerism.

“The prosperity and sustainability of Canada’s thriving arts scene is the product of the passion and commitment of both companies and individuals who share a common interest in seeing our country’s artists shine on the world stage,” said Nichole Anderson, President & CEO, Business for the Arts. “The BftA Awards Gala offers an opportunity to thank our award winners and to recognize their achievements and leadership in championing Canada’s artists to a global audience.”

The celebrations begin at 6:00 p.m. with a private reception in the AGO’s beautiful Galleria Italia, followed by an awards show and memorable three-course dinner in Baillie Court at 7:30 p.m., during which guests will fittingly experience some of Canada’s finest artistic talent – both onstage and off. The evening continues with a post-awards cocktail reception, where guests can network and toast successes with others.

This year’s award recipients include Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman & CEO at St. Joseph Communications (Edmund C. Bovey Award); Piers Handling, longtime Director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival (Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award); Diane Obam Dallaire, Chair of the Southam Club (Arnold Edinborough Award); Air Canada (Corporate Champion of the Arts Award) and PATTISON Outdoor Advertising (Community Impact Award).

Past award recipients include the Hon. Hilary M. Weston, 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada and Manulife for their long-term partnership with Toronto’s Luminato Festival. Offering an example of the progressive magic that can transpire when business and art intersect, previous business award winners range from small local companies, to large multinational corporations who have a long-standing history of supporting the arts.

Past and present award recipients have had a deep and far-reaching impact on major arts events, artists and audiences by supporting community theatres, artist collectives, street festivals, art galleries, orchestras and film festivals.

The BftA Awards Gala will attract prominent business figures, arts and culture visionaries, local celebrities and Toronto social scene regulars.


Edmund C. Bovey Award

  • Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman & CEO at St. Joseph Communications, is business professional who has demonstrated a lifetime of significant philanthropy and leadership in Canada’s arts and cultural sectors. He is the chair of the Salt + Light Media Foundation,  former Chair of the AGO, and is also co-founder and chair of Luminato. Under Tony’s direction, St. Joseph also has a long-standing commitment to give back to the community, including the Arts Partner of Choice initiative - which to date has made available $15 million dollars in a multi-year commitment to support arts and cultural organizations in Canada by providing them with advertising space in magazines.

Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award

  • Piers Handling, Director and Chief Executive Officer of TIFF, is recognized as an arts leader who has spent a lifetime dedicated to fostering the arts in Canada. Under his direction, TIFF has grown to become an internationally renowned cultural institution. He has also has sat on a number of Boards and advisory councils including FAME (Festivals and Major Events), the Canadian Film Centre, Tafelmusik, Luminato, Telefilm Canada’s Feature Film Advisory Committee, Ontario’s Minister of Culture’s Advisory Council for Arts and Culture (MACAC) and most recently, The Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation.

Arnold Edinborough Award

  • Diane Obam Dallaire, Founder of Fidès Partnerships, is recognized for her exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts. She is an avid supporter of community-building initiatives and a passionate arts ambassador. She is a former co-Chair for Business for the Arts’ Ottawa-Gatineau artsScene chapter, where she established a result-oriented outreach strategy that attracted business professionals and public servants to the artsScene board as well as to other cultural institutions in Ottawa. She currently sits on the board of the Rideau Club and is the Chair of the Southam Club, a group of dynamic young leaders in the Ottawa region who engage in the performing arts through unique event at the National Arts Centre.

Corporate Champion of the Arts Award

  • Air Canada is recognized as a business that has strengthened arts and culture in Canada through its long-standing support of and commitment to the sector. Air Canada is a strong supporter of orchestras across Canada. Since 1997, they have been the official carrier of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and over the past 20 years has become the official airline of eight other orchestras across Canada.

Community Impact Award

  • PATTISON and VIBE Arts are recognized for an arts and business partnership that has enhanced the quality of life and enriched the cultural scene in their community through innovative programs, creative business partnerships, and neighbourhood revitalization initiatives. This partnership is particularly significant to Business for the Arts as it was formed when VIBE Arts was a participant of Business for the Arts’ artsVest program and PATTISON Outdoor Advertising provided an in-kind contribution of advertising space in TTC subway stations to display murals created by Arts for Children and Youth’s Welcome 41 project. Over the years the partnership has grown, and through their multiple projects sponsored and supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising, VIBE Arts has been able to engage over 1800 marginalized youth, allowing them to connect and reimagine spaces and places in their communities by creating murals that are shared on public transit.

When: Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Where: The Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West); reception in the Galleria Italia, followed by the awards dinner in Baillie Court.

Schedule of Events:

  • 6:00pm: Reception

  • 7:30pm: Ceremony and Three-Course Dinner

  • 9:30pm: Post Awards Soiree

Available for Interviews:

  • Nichole Anderson, President & CEO, Business for the Arts
  • Award Recipients:

    • Tony Gagliano

    • Piers Handling

    • Diane Obam Dallaire

    • Representative from Air Canada

    • Representative from PATTISON Outdoor Advertising


Each year, Business for the Arts Unites more than 400 arts and business leaders from across Canada to recognize and celebrate the notable achievements by individual business and arts leaders and companies who have shown outstanding commitment to the arts through philanthropy, unique and innovative partnerships and programs and volunteerism.


Founded in 1974, Business for the Arts is Canada’s only national charitable organization of business members who support the arts. Our vision is to inspire Canada’s business community to partner with the arts to ensure a thriving cultural sector. We connect, educate and invest to bridge the gap between business and the arts. Visit