no images were found
George Layh was unassuming, gentle and quiet. But one had only to drive past his house on Bismark Avenue to realize that he was equally eccentric, self-reliant and individualistic. George’s front yard collection – acquired at auction sales or nuisance graounds – included taxidermy specimens, antique toys, woodcarvings, or, what many would have simply called, “junk”.
George farmed four miles northeast of Marchwell. Although he never ,married, George had a obvious affinity for children and a sincere concern for wildlife. In 2002 he gifted a quarter section of land along Smith Creek to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation as a non-hunting preserve for wildlife.
George was also well known in Langenburg for his little red convertible car, a frequent entry in parades where he insisted on being the last entry before the parade marshal. He gave his little red car and an initial gift of $5,000 to Family & Friends Community Foundation to create THE LITTLE RED CARD FUND FOR KIDS.
Before his death in 2005, George repeatedly said he wanted to build something to leave to the community, particularly for children. He eventually decided on funding an expansion to the Langenburg Theatre. He generously donated $300,000.00 toward theatre renovations and expansion. As a result, the theatre is now called THE GEORGE LAYH THEATRE.
At the time of its inception the Langenburg Arts Council also purchased the theatre building and made it their dream of turning it into a premier centre for the performing arts in rural Saskatchewan. The theatre was slowly improved as funds allowed. The Arts Council has preserved the originality of the theatre, maintaining the ambience of a small-town theatre while adding much-needed space and amenities making it a unique centre for the arts in rural Saskatchewan. Spotlights were purchased, new seats were installed and a new updated projector was purchased – all the result of creative fundraising efforts by the Arts Council and the Arts Council’s Theatre Committee.
The Arts Council’s dream of making the theatre a centre of performing arts in the community became reality with George Layh’s generous gift of $300,000. Thanks to the generous donations from community members and local business people, the Arts Council raised another $100,000 to complete the building/renovation project. The Arts Council searched in vain for government grants to help with the project. Not a penny of government money was received but The Arts Council takes pride in stating that with community members who shared in our dream, the project was completed.
The George Layh Theatre is truly a centre of the arts in our community. Performers and guests from across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Canada are amazed that our little community supports the arts in so many ways. We are blessed to have community members who truly understand the importance and gratification of volunteerism and who believe in working toward a common goal in all aspects of community improvement . This spirit continues to keep our community vibrant and viable.