National Gallery announces $2 million donation from Halifax couple

The National Gallery of Canada has announced the donation of $2 million from Fred and Elizabeth Fountain of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

As part of the contribution, $500,000 will go to the gallery’s national outreach program which helps ensure the sharing of visual arts from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The rest, $1.5 million, goes to Art for the Nation 150 priorities including more than $1 million which will be placed in the general endowment of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.

The gallery’s CEO, Marc Mayer, said in a media release: “This gift will make a real impact on the gallery, in particular our ability to reach out beyond the National Capital Region and showcase our expertise, exhibitions and programming to more Canadians than ever.”

In recognition the garden within the recently unveiled Canadian and Indigenous Galleries, will be called the Jardin Fred & Elizabeth Fountain Garden Court.

In a joint statement quoted in the release, the Fountains said: “We are pleased to add our names to the stunning Garden Court as it’s a space we’ve greatly enjoyed and admired over the years. Since we’ve contemplated a special gift to the National Gallery for some time, the opportunity to connect this initiative with Canada’s 150th was particularly important to us.”

Fred Fountain is president and CEO of Great Eastern Corporation Ltd., an investment company founded in 1941 by his grandfather Frederick C. Manning. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery from 2005 to 2012 and has been a director of the Board of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation since 2009. The Fountains are patrons of the gallery and have long been supporters of the gallery’s acquisitions and programming, the release said.

The garden court is getting a makeover by the Canadian landscape architect and original designer, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, in conjunction with Bryce Gauthier of Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects. The new garden will be unveiled in January, 2018, and will reflect the Canadian landscape.


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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.