Paper Things is a retail stationery and gift shop owned and operated by The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada. All profits go to supporting The National Ballet of Canada, mainly through the Build-A-Ballet Fund.
Paper Things, The Ballet Boutique, and The Pointe Shoe Lady are all owned and operated by The Volunteer Committee of the National Ballet of Canada. All the proceeds from these projects go towards the Build-A-Ballet Fund for the National Ballet of Canada.
This fund was established by the Volunteer Committee in 1976 and its purpose is to purchase new repertoire for The National Ballet of Canada. The first production the Volunteer Committee purchased for the Company was the 25th anniversary gift, La Fille Mal Gardée, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton and premiered in the 1976/77 season. Paper Things donated $30,000 toward that gift. To date, the Volunteer Committee has contributed over $6 million to The National Ballet, funding 47 ballets and refurbishing costumes for one of those productions.
The National Ballet of Canada, then and now, relies on the support of dedicated volunteers to raise funds. In 1963, Mrs. Marg Morgan, president of The Volunteer Committee from 1963 – 1965, wanted to establish a project to provide ‘the best means of ensuring a high level of support for our Ballet.’ Consequently, the idea of opening a ‘paper shop’ was born.
Mrs. Morgan approached the owners of a new residential and retail development called The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West in Toronto. In the summer of 1963, following months of negotiation, Marg was granted retail space within The Colonnade rent-free for six months (she had asked for a year) in return for organizing the official opening of The Colonnade in October of that year.
The shop was 9’ x 9’, on the second floor of The Colonnade. All the shelving and shop décor was donated and the stock was all bought on credit with 30 days to pay. The start-up stock was worth $4,000 and was paid for with the proceeds raised at the official opening on October 16, 1963.
In 1966 a second outlet was opened in the brand-new TD Centre. Once again the Volunteer Committee was called upon to organize the party and what a party it was.
In 1969, The Committee set its sights on the up-scale neighbourhood of Bloor-Yorkville and eventually moved to its present location at Cumberland Court, 99 Yorkville Avenue. Over the years, this location has been renovated numerous times, and in 2002 an additional 728 square feet of space was added, expanding the area to service Fine Paper clients. Fine Paper now accounts for 50% of the store’s sales.
For its first 35 years, Paper Things was run and staffed entirely by volunteers. Changing demographics eventually led to the hiring of paid staff. Though now assisted by three dedicated employees, including our own in-house stationery designer, Paper Things is overseen by a volunteer chairperson and still requires 70 volunteers a year, giving over 8,000 hours and making Paper Things a continuing success and upholding our reputation as the destination for customized stationery.
Volunteering at Paper Things
If you are interested in joining a wonderful group of dedicated women and men who work towards raising funds to support the Ballet please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the National Ballet Of Canada for more information on upcoming performances and the Volunteer Committee.