Donald Meakin — Grateful Memories

Don  princess
Don and Princess Fiona

Memory is a wonderful thing, and for Don Meakin the many performances he has enjoyed at the National Arts Centre over the years have enriched his bank of memories tremendously. And he is profoundly grateful.

From a young age Don valued creative arts such as painting and writing poetry and, coming from an academically inclined family of readers, Don entered the book trade as a profession in Ottawa. It was there he happily spent his entire working career. 

With his late wife Asalyn, Don began attending performances at the National Arts Centre from its opening in 1969.  He enjoyed classical ballet, while Asalyn enjoyed opera. Together over the years, they both experienced many outstanding performances at the NAC.  As Don says, “The memories of all those wonderful performances have lasted me a lifetime.” 

The late 1990’s was a period of financial challenge for the National Arts Centre.   After attending a Town Hall Meeting in the NAC Studio, Don and Asalyn realized how important the NAC was as a centre for the performing arts in Canada and also how vulnerable it was. The Meakins had long been annual donors, but it was then they decided to remember the National Arts Centre Foundation with gifts in their estate plans.  As Don recalls, they knew it was simply the right thing to do. “It was our way of saying thanks for the many happy hours we spent at performances,” says Don, “and a way to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to experience the arts as we have had.”

Today, Don is happily retired, but sadly his beautiful wife Asalyn died in 2013.  Recently, he moved into a retirement home in Ottawa and spends his time reading, writing poetry and enjoying life with his two children and three grandchildren.  Despite missing his Asalyn, life for Don is rewarding and satisfying. And the NAC remains an integral part of his cultural and social life.

Don encourages everyone to consider making a legacy gift to the National Arts Centre Foundation. To him, a legacy gift is “like the NAC having an insurance policy without having to pay any premiums.” Whether legacy gifts are small or large, they can all add up to ensure that the outstanding performances he and so many others have enjoyed over the years can continue long into the future. Don says, “A legacy gift is something you will never regret.”

Thank you, Don, for your years of generous support to the National Arts Centre.  Your gifts, past, present and future will ensure the NAC continues to be the foremost showcase for the performing arts in Canada and that the happy memories will continue long into the future.

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