In 2012 City Lumber celebrated 75 years, a monumental milestone that encompassed much more than simply a successful business model. The company, founded by Zita and John Rosen in 1937, was built upon the principle of “empowering and inspiring others to succeed and give back to their communities.” Wanting to express his commitment to these values, President and CEO Robert Rosen decided to celebrate the company’s achievements by continuing in the tradition established by his parents.

As a long time patron and supporter of the arts, Mr. Rosen understood the importance of its presence in a community. Concerned about the future of the arts and the opportunity for the most vulnerable people in our community to benefit from their influence, he decided to find a way to bring the two together in the hope that it would inspire young children to achieve their fullest potential.

At this time, Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, Art Gallery, and Citadel Theatre were working in competition to draw patrons to their exhibitions. This was a rare collaboration of this kind  between all three. Under the vision of Mr. Rosen and the support of like-minded individuals, however, they combined efforts and their arts to bring joy and imagination to those who needed it most.

City Lumber’s 75th anniversary included a special performance that took place in the Fort McMurray region and featured the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. There was also a musical celebration at the Devonian Gardens, hosted by the Edmonton Opera in which tickets were provided for women and children from local shelters.

Through the incredible collaborative efforts of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Citadel Theatre, the Upper Crust Cafe, Edmonton Opera and City Lumber, Mr. Rosen organized an event called “It All StArts With Me,” that allowed over 120 children from the Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton to experience different forms of art in a truly unforgettable celebration. 7 years later, what began as desire to give back to the community, has grown to include CKUA Radio, the Alberta Ballet, and more philanthropic-minded individuals who recognize the value in providing underprivileged kids with experiences that will inspire and provide hope for the future, and it all began with a desire to give back to the community, and group of individuals who made it happen.


This article is part 1 of 3 in the It All StArts With Me Series

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