All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Sunday, June 23rd, 2024

Auction bids Back the Build hospital fundraiser by $100K

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Picton’s historic Crystal Palace came alive with the thrill and entertaining banter of a live auction Saturday night at an exciting Bid for the Build event.

Sixty lots came under the hammer as professional auctioneer Julie Riches, of Riches Appraisals and Consult, enticed and encouraged people to part with their cash in return for a unique piece of artwork, all while helping contribute to an important local cause. Riches also donated her time and expertise for the evening.

Riches’ auctioneering skills clearly garnered the desired result as more than $100,000 was raised for he Back the Build campaign by evening’s end.

“We’re here for a great cause and we’re here to build a new hospital for Prince Edward County,” said Shannon Coull, PECMH Foundation Executive Director.

Coull introduced campaign cabinet co-chairs for the new hospital – Dennis Darby and Nancy Parks – who will play a leadership role in making the hospital become a reality, said Coull. The PECMHF Campaign Cabinet led by Darby and Parks will consist of nine dedicated volunteers whose role it will be to leverage their networks and build relationships to secure major gifts for the new hospital.

“I’m humbled and honoured by the support so many people have shown leading up to this event – from the sponsors, the many volunteers and the extraordinary support received from municipality’s community centre department under Lisa Lindsay’s leadership,” she said.

“This event has brought all of us together and exemplifies the important impact a group of community partners can have on a community like ours and the impact it has on the charity.
This community continues to rally around the causes that are so vital to the vibrancy of our community and I am so grateful for all that you have done to make this a huge success,” said Coull.

Carlyn Moulton, Alexandra Bake, , and Hri Neil, keep track of the auction bids.

Saturday’s Bid for the Build Art Auction was a collaborative effort between the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation (PECMHF) and the Prince Edward County Art Dealers Association (PECADA).

The recently-formed PECADA is a not-for-profit organization consisting of six member County galleries, namely Oeno Gallery, Hatch Gallery, Mad Dog Gallery, Sybil Frank Gallery, Blizzmax and Carbon Art and Design.

David Hatch, of Hatch Gallery, said he heard at a recent presentation there were 360 events in the County last year, and thought as it gets busier and busier, how are the art galleries going to rise above the noise, and let people know there are some fantastic opportunities to purchase art in the County.

“I reached out to some of the galleries and us six [member galleries] we represent professional artists, career artists, investment art, historic art and maybe we should get together and create an organization where we can work together and market together, and rise above the noise together,” said Hatch.

PECADA’s mandate is to support professional artists and emerging artists, to help them build their career professionally.

“We also want to work in the community, and it just worked with the timing of coming together with the public library talking about their auction, and then the hospital auction and we said we will help you and work with you on this to make sure we raise the funds you need,” he said.

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation Back the Build campaign’s $16.5 million goal is the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Prince Edward County. Building a new hospital in the County, described as a ‘once in a lifetime’ project, is estimated to cost $80 million. While the provincial government will pay 90 per cent of the construction costs, the community must come up with the remaining 10 per cent, plus cover all the equipment needed for the new hospital.

Of the $16.5 million to be raised by the community, to date almost $11 million has been raised or pledged toward the ambitious goal.

Emcee for the evening, Dr. Josh Colby, an emergency department physician at PECMH; Alexandra Bake, Carlyn Moulton and David Hatch kept track of the many auction bids, all while remembering to enthusiastically ring the bell for each successful bid obtained, where the idea was to keep the bell ringing all evening.

“I find it auspicious that over 200 people bought a ticket tonight one hundred years after the founding of this small country hospital,” said Colby.

The original ‘Prince Edward County Hospital’ was incorporated on April 6, 1918, officially opening as a nine-bed hospital with an operating room, on Hill Street in Picton in April 1919.

“The vision is to have a new hospital with 13 emergency beds, we currently have nine, and we will have 18 or 20 in-patient beds each with a private bathroom, which is important for patient care,” added Colby. “The emergency department will have the latest medical technology and it will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with skilled and dedicated health care professionals.”

The evening began with a silent auction of artwork, but it was the extensive collection of curated live auction pieces that captured the attention of many in attendance, some of which sold for more than their estimated value. Among the local artists represented were J. Douglas Thompson, Peter Mennacher, Aiden Haley, Pamela Carter and Susan Wallis.

“Most importantly, the works have been generously donated and so the goal tonight is to sell each and every work,” said Riches, who encouraged people to dig deep for a worthy cause.

Also, for every piece of artwork sold that met or surpassed its minimum estimated price, the successful bidder received a $500 gift certificate to any of the six participating PECADA member galleries.

There were many treasures on the auction block, including an untitled Manly MacDonald oil on canvas which sold for $6,300. A few pieces were deemed rare finds, included George Bottini’s circa 1900 untitled watercolour estimated value $10,000-$12,000, and Otto Rogers’ mixed media on burlap and canvas, ‘The Sea, Sky with Floating Cubes’, estimated value $18,000, neither of which sold.

Hatch noted there is a Bottini exhibit at the his gallery with all 15 pieces from this collection, and all have full provenance. He said Bottini died at age 33, so there aren’t many of these works available and they don’t come up for auction often.

George Hawken’s ‘Cheryl’, the largest painting at the auction, sold for $2,200.

The largest painting in the room at 63 by 59 inches, a chalk pastel on paper by George Hawken entitled ‘Cheryl’, sold for $2,200.

A bid of $3,000 was received for ‘I Should Have Asked for a Pony’ painted by Sharon Lafferty.

Sharon Lafferty’s acrylic on canvas, ‘I Should Have Asked for a Pony’ sold for $3,000; Daniéle Rochon’s framed acrylic on canvas, ‘Table Top Still Life’ sold for $2,600; Rachel Ovadia’s untitled mixed media on canvas sold for $1,700; and Eric Ranveau’s ‘The Lake Behind the Trees, Sandbanks’ sold for $3,900.

The much-anticipated Maud Lewis painting ‘Two Oxen in Spring’ sold for $22,000 to an absentee bidder.

As paddles were raised and waved, the belle of the gala was much-anticipated lot 52: Maud Lewis’s ‘Two Oxen in Spring’ oil on beaverboard. The 11.5 by 11.5 inch work did not receive any bids in the room, but sold for $22,000 from an absentee bid.

The Foundation was thrilled with the event and its substantial contribution to the campaign.

“We all celebrate quality of life and we can’t have that quality of life without access to healthcare close to home, and we are very proud to call our hospital the heart of the County, so that you have comfort knowing you have access to care when you need it the most,” said Coull.

It is anticipated the new hospital construction will begin in 2022, with an estimated completion date of early 2025. Currently, planning partners are at stage two of the project and expect to receive a response from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care by mid-June.

Stage three of the plan, which will involve design details, could commence as early as this summer and is expected to take nine months to complete. To contribute to the new hospital, visit


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