PEI

Summerside bagpiping college gets $2.7M from feds for new performance space

Summerside, P.E.I.'s College of Piping and Celtic Performance Arts of Canada is getting $2.7 million in funding from the federal government for a new performance space.

College of Piping and Celtic Performance Arts attracts hundreds of students, thousands of tourists

The College of Piping and Celtic Performance Arts of Canada is the only year-round school of its kind in North America. (Anna MacDonald/Facebook)

The College of Piping and Celtic Performance Arts of Canada in Summerside, P.E.I., is getting $2.7 million in funding from the federal government for a new performance space.

The school, the only year-round one of its kind in North America, offers classes in Highland bagpiping, Scottish-style snare drumming, Highland dancing and Island step dancing to more than 250 year-round students and 200 summer students, as well as workshop participants.

Established in 1989, the school says it is also a key tourist attraction in Summerside, attracting more than 18,000 people to performances each summer.

Principal James MacHattie said it was a new era for the college. The new facility "will enable us to fulfil our purpose with greater possibilities than ever before," he said in a statement.

Promoting pride in Celtic heritage

Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey announced the money on Friday morning for the year-round, multi-purpose performance space.

Morrissey said in a statement that the school has, for 26 years, been "teaching young people not just how to perform, but also to take pride in the Celtic heritage that is an important part of Atlantic Canada's cultural landscape."

Canadian Heritage is contributing $1.5 million through its Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, while the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is contributing $1.2 million through its Innovative Communities Fund. 

The performance space will include retractable theatre seating and be designed for "the unique acoustic requirements" of drums and bagpipes, ACOA said in a news release.

With files from Brian Higgins