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Gardiner Museum Co-Founder Helen Gardiner Dies From Cancer
Helen Gardiner

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 Canada’s most respected philanthropists and arts patrons. Born on July 18, 1938, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, she was an alumna of York University and Christie’s Fine Arts School in London, England.

In 1984, Mrs. Gardiner and her late husband, George Gardiner (1917 – 1998), established Canada’s only museum specializing in ceramic arts and donated the founding collection. From 2003 to 2006, she headed the Gardiner Museum’s 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 Museum’s expansion
•Chair of the George & Helen Gardiner Charitable Foundation
•Member of the the Royal Ontario Museum 's Board, Honorary Member of ROM’s Board of Trustees, Member of ROM’s 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 Chancellor’s Council of Victoria University
•Patron of the Museum Trustee’s 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 Toronto’s St. James Cathedral on Monday, July 28.

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