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Live acts return as Coquitlam arts venue launches 25 years

A quarter century has passed since the City of Coquitlam opened the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

A quarter century has passed since the City of Coquitlam opened the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

And despite its lack of live performances for the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Centre venue is raring to go to mark its anniversary season with new events — in a physically distanced way.

On Saturday, it’ll kick off its 25th year with its first of two free live-streamed shows this weekend: the Celtic band Cod Gone Wild will play at 7:30 p.m. while on Sunday, at the same time, Ghislaine Doté will hit the online stage for the festivities.

As well, the Art Gallery at Evergreen will be open to exhibit its latest display that also ties in with la francophonie. Titled Place: A Nomadic Gallery in British Columbia, the art show features the work of francophone artists Roman Bladou, Ghislain Brown-Kossi, Florence Debeugny, Johanne Galipeau and Marie-Pier Malouin.

David Mann, Evergreen’s general arts manager, told the Tri-City News on Monday that the performing arts shows this fall will have smaller audiences of up to 50 people, seated in cabaret style in the 257-seat black box theatre, for its Speakeasy Sessions. 

And in the new year — if the COVID numbers decrease — Evergreen will announce more programming in anticipation for a “normal” run.

That means bigger shows and out-of-province acts.

“We’re going to have a hybrid season,” Mann explained, adding, “We’ve had to cancel or postpone so many shows recently that the bulk of [the upcoming events] are with artists who have hung in there for a year or more, and finally have the chance to perform here.”

Executive director Philip Hartwick said the non-profit society, which in past years has seen more than 80,000 visitors annually, has been responsive to the pandemic by taking the necessary health and safety protocols to keep Evergreen performers, staff and guests safe.

Last month, he said, it hosted two in-person gigs with decent houses: The Comic Strippers and Dawn Pemberton.

But, for the most part, the focus since last spring has been on the visual arts and arts education as well as online content, he said. “It’s been unique for sure, but we have a lot of plans for the 25th [year],” Hartwick said, noting the Pinetree Way building will be decorated with new lights and displays for the anniversary celebrations.

In addition, Evergreen will launch its $25 For 25 Series to bring back popular past acts at the venue. Tickets at $25 each for the fall line-up are for Van Django (Oct. 2 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.); Karin Plato Quintet (Nov. 6, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.); and Mike Delamont’s God Is A Scottish Drag Queen: The Christmas Special (Dec. 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m.).

Tickets for tables to fall shows at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) are via the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit