Spotlight on Royal Bank of Canada


RBC presents the RBC Michelle Jackson Award at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s Closing Gala each year. Photo (left to right): Presenter Michelle Goodyear, Manager, Financial Planning, RBC; 2014 winner Jenina MacGillivray; Program Mentor and Filmmaker Anita McGee; and 2013 winner Tamara Segura Gonzalez.

Royal Bank of Canada is no stranger to arts sponsorships. On the national stage, they sponsor the RBC Canadian Painting Competition and the Toronto International Film Festival. Locally, they count the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (through the RBC Michelle Jackson Award), the Atlantic Film Festival, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, Artistic Fraud, and Opera on the Avalon among their sponsorships.

“We support arts organizations and artists in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature and film,” says Trish Vardy, advisor in public affairs and community relations at RBC.

This year, RBC added something new to their already impressive roster of arts sponsorships: the RBC Breakout Stage at East Coast Music Week. The festival, which RBC has sponsored since 2010, was held in St. John’s in April 2015 and hosted 150 musicians who played at 50 different venues around the city.

“At RBC, we care about investing in the places where we live and work,” says Vardy. “Our support of the arts has been a long-standing priority as we recognize that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies.”

This year, RBC was presenting sponsor for both the Song of the Year Award and the RBC Breakout Stage, which showcases new musicians who have international promise. This year’s lineup of musicians who played the stage included local acts Cabbages & Kings, Another North, and Kat McLevey. The purpose of the stage, Vardy says, is to provide a “great opportunity not only to help support emerging musicians, but also to host clients and engage employees.”

In addition to the Breakout Stage, RBC put together a compilation CD showcasing the featured artists, which was given away at branches in the St. John’s area. The album itself further supported the work of others in the St. John’s arts community, including producers Atlantic Disc and DVD, and graphic designer Tara Thompson.

This fall, RBC will yet again be in a sponsorship role at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, which runs from October 20-24, 2015.

“We do have a super relationship with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival,” Vardy says. “It’s a fantastic organization and the RBC Michelle Jackson Award is a very special program that means a lot to emerging women filmmakers in the province.”