“My life is so much richer and happier, here at PAL”

– Paul Soles

In the early 1980s, Performing Arts Lodges was a gleam in the eyes of a group of Toronto performers at a time when Canada’s entertainment industry had come of age and had exploded demographically into thousands who worked for a living in the performing arts and allied industries.

The group’s goal was to create and sustain affordable housing and improved living conditions for those in the performing arts professions, some with disabilities or nearing the end of their careers, some still working, others alone or ill, many isolated from the industry they had worked in all their lives. While other countries possessed such havens for artists, this would be the first in Canada.

With inspiration and support from artists across the country, an initial needs survey of the industry was done and endorsements were solidified from national actors’ unions, including ACTRA, The Actor’s Fund of Canada and Equity, and the musicians’ union, AF of M.

In 1986, Performing Arts Lodges of Canada was incorporated as a federal national charitable organization. Its first step was the sponsorship of a volunteer group, Supporting Cast, to help colleagues in need of assistance. PAL Canada obsessively continued their mandate to raise funds to develop chapters from Halifax to Vancouver.

In 1993, the PAL ideal became a reality with the opening of the first lodge in Toronto at 110 The Esplanade. As well as offering affordable housing, PAL Toronto provides services in the areas of health and well-being so that residents may live independently in a comfortable setting. Today PAL Toronto is filled to capacity with a vibrant population of artists of all ages, and from every discipline of the performing arts.

The PAL Toronto building is the model for others being developed, including the recently opened PAL Vancouver, and marks the first time in Canadian history that the performing arts profession has been recognized as a special sector of the population, qualifying for government support in a societal as well as artistic dimension – a coup for the arts in Canada.

“In a business where insecurity follows like a shadow throughout your career, old age promises nothing more than poverty line living at best. PAL Toronto was an idea whose time had come.”
Roy Wordsworth, Founding President