young at art
95-year-old arts lover walking 96 km to raise $96,000

By rights, Dr. Douglas MacEwan’s next birthday cake should have 96 candles on it and he’s fit enough to blow them all out. The arts-loving nonagenarian has taken on a fundraising challenge that might be daunting for someone half his age: walk one kilometre every day for 96 days. His goal is to raise $96,000 to be divided among four of the city’s performing arts organizations: Manitoba Opera, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Ottawa, Dr. MacEwan trained as a medical doctor specializing in radiology. He moved to Winnipeg in 1966 to work at the Health Sciences Centre/University of Manitoba. A veteran of the Second World War, Dr. MacEwan’s deep-rooted sense of community and generous spirit has already made a tremendous impact in our city. And now, when the arts community needs him most, he’s pledged to play his part.

“I wanted to do something to ensure that future generations, including my eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, grow up in a city with a thriving performing arts community,” said Dr. MacEwan.

An anonymous sponsor has agreed to donate $500 for every kilometre Dr. MacEwan walks, plus an additional $500 for each day he finds a walking companion. Dr. MacEwan makes sure to take a selfie with his walking buddy, and his daughter, Eleanor, is putting together a book to commemorate the project.

When Dr. MacEwan finishes his challenge on November 11 – his 96th birthday – he’ll have raised $96,000 for the performing arts in Winnipeg. As an added incentive, his big-hearted sponsor has offered to round up the donation to $100,000 if Dr. MacEwan completes the challenge.

“Dr. MacEwan is a very compassionate, caring individual and is an inspiration to us all,” said Larry Desrochers, Manitoba Opera’s General Director & CEO, speaking on behalf of the four recipient organizations. “He has been a long-standing patron of all our organizations; he has been attending Manitoba Opera productions since 1972 when we were in our infancy. To take on such a challenge at any age, but certainly as a nonagenarian is truly remarkable and deserves our deepest respect. That he has chosen to do this for Winnipeg’s arts community is very inspiring.”

Dr. MacEwan and his family are encouraging other arts lovers to ‘walk the walk’. To support his challenge by making a donation or to pledge by the kilometre, please contact Liz Miller at 204-942-0489 or visit mbopera.ca/a-walk-for-the-arts/.