Petrolia lands a major entertainment conference


Dan Wood and RoseLyn Brown and Richard Poore, Petrolia’s director of performing arts, take a look at the tech booth

at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia 




Petrolia has landed its first major entertainment conference.

Ontario Contact – a conference which showcases talent for Ontario arts centres – will come to Petrolia in 2017. The conference brings together over 300 people

who run theatres and venues in the province to review and book some of the best talent in North America.

In November, Richard Poore, director of the performing arts in Petrolia, showed three adjudicators around the VPP,  the Oil Heritage District Community Centre

and the accommodations in Sarnia.

At the time, Ontario Contact spokesperson Cheryl Ewing said aside from a good venue, the committee was searching for a community which would provide the entertainers and the convention attendees a welcoming experience.

Poore says Ontario Contact found that in Petrolia and has awarded the conference to the town in 2017.

“The conference is going to bring an increased profile to the community,” says Poore. “It’s making all of these artist arts managers and agents aware of the venue we have here the opportunity we have here,” he tells The Independent.

“Then there is the tourism piece; many of them haven’t been here before, many of them are here to do business but they’ll get to see Petrolia. I know I’ve been to many places for this conference and thought ‘hey, I’ve never been here; this is interesting.’”
Poore says the Victoria Playhouse Advisory Committee will have two years to put together the conference. He hopes to show the visitors the best of Petrolia, including its love of the arts, history and businesses.

“I have it in my calendar already and were going to begin planning so that delegates get to experience the best Ontario Contact ever,” says Poore adding having two years to plan is “fabulous. We’ll be attending the next two Ontario Contacts as a future host site and will be able to market ourselves.”

Aside from the economic spinoff from the conference, Poore says it will be a boon for local residents as well.  “The entertainment showcases will be available to the public, everything from contemporary dance to pop bands…anything regarding the performing arts and they’ll be able to get to come and see this. There will be about 40 showcases of about two hours each with six artists.

“It’s a great opportunity for the region.”