TORONTO.- It is with great sadness that the Gardiner Museum announces the passing of Helen Gardiner at her home in Caledon on Tuesday, July 22, 2008. Less than one week after her 70th birthday, Mrs. Gardiner passed away after a short but courageous battle with cancer.
Helen Elizabeth Gardiner was among Canadas most respected philanthropists and arts patrons. Born on July 18, 1938, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, she was an alumna of York University and Christies Fine Arts School in London, England.
In 1984, Mrs. Gardiner and her late husband, George Gardiner (1917 1998), established Canadas only museum specializing in ceramic arts and donated the founding collection. From 2003 to 2006, she headed the Gardiner Museums capital campaign, which funded the award-winning transformation of the Museum building. The Gardiner Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009.
Through her leadership and philanthropic support, Mrs. Gardiner championed many charitable causes in Ontario. Her leadership includes the following noteworthy achievements:
Honorary Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Gardiner Museum
Honorary Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Gardiner Museums expansion
Chair of the George & Helen Gardiner Charitable Foundation
Member of the the Royal Ontario Museum 's Board, Honorary Member of ROMs Board of Trustees, Member of ROMs Foundation of Governors
Member of the Board of Directors of the National Ballet School, and also mentor and financial supporter of several young dancers during their tenure at the National Ballet School and beyond
Chair of Gardiner Farms Limited, a thoroughbred breeding and training facility north of Toronto
Former Member of the Chancellors Council of Victoria University
Patron of the Museum Trustees Association, Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Soulpepper Theatre Company and the Textile Museum of Canada
Honorary Colonel of the 28th (Ottawa) Medical Company
Her numerous accomplishments and acts of charity were recognized in the fall of 2006, when she was awarded the Order of Canada.
Mrs. Gardiner is predeceased by her husband, George, and her father Charles McMinn. She leaves behind her daughter, Lindy, her mother, Helen McMinn, her brother Bob, his wife Nora and their children. Her funeral will take place at Torontos St. James Cathedral on Monday, July 28.