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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
NOTL Museum’s spotlight on donors: Geoffrey and Lorraine Joyner
Geoffrey and Lorraine Joyner. SUPPLIED

“The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum is the pride of the community,” declared Lorraine Joyner, as she discussed the future of the museum and the reason she and her husband, Geoffrey, decided to give generously to the NOTL Museum’s capital campaign project. 

The NOTL Museum is the major repository for all things historical for the five communities of Niagara-on-the-Lake, from deeds, records, documents and photographs, to the finest 1812 collection in Canada, with more than 50,000 items making up the entire museum collection. 

“We have a great affection for the collection,” said Geoffrey Joyner. “The problem is that it is growing exponentially,  and much of it can’t be exhibited. It’s extensive – which is why they have to expand.”

For more than two decades, the Joyners have sponsored the in-person lectures at the museum, one of its most popular offerings.

But the Joyners’ involvement hasn’t stopped there. It has included co-curating art exhibitions and overseeing art and antique appraisals.

Lorraine Joyner, who also served as a board member for two terms, can often be found lending a perennial hand to the gardening crew. 

In future expansion plans, the research room will bear the Joyner name.

“It will be both our names, which is important to us because we’re very proud of that,” said Geoffrey Joyner.

The Geoffrey and Lorraine Joyner Research Room and Reference Library will be named in recognition of the Joyners’ contribution to the capital campaign. 

The couple are no strangers to the finer aspects of art.

Whether it be supporting heritage, restoration, or the visual arts, the Joyners are hardworking arts volunteers and dedicated philanthropists. 

They arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake from Toronto in the 1990s and soon became passionate supporters of local arts initiatives.

Organizations like the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum, The Niagara Pumphouse Art Centre, RiverBrink Art Museum and Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, have all benefited from the Joyner magic.    

Married for more than 50 years, this couple share a particular passion for Canadian art, and whether it be a sweeping Algoma landscape from the iconic A.Y. Jackson, or the joyful energy of local Niagara artist Babs Pritty, the Joyners’ delight in sharing these works is powerful. 

It all started when a young 19-year-old Lorraine arrived in Toronto from Quebec.

Soon, she met an equally young, up-and-coming 20-something arts specialist who decided she was the one to walk down the aisle with him.

Six months later, they were doing just that.

‘This is a big one, a once-in-a-lifetime project for us, and we hope others will see it that way too.’ —Geoffrey Joyner

Lorraine Joyner’s parents might have had some misgivings about a “used picture” salesman being entirely suitable for their daughter, but, as it turned out, this salesman became one of the most respected and renowned art auctioneers in Canada.

Geoffrey Joyner, “The Man with the Golden Gavel”,  helped create a highly lucrative market for Canadian artists that not only made him the world’s leading auction authority on Canadian art but also helped establish Canadian artwork as collectible, original and a legitimate investment.

After 17 years of heading up Sotheby’s of Canada, Joyner established his own fine art and appraisal company in 1985, eventually merging with Waddington’s Auctioneers to form Joyner Waddington’s Canadian Fine Art and the company continued to promote and accelerate the growth in Canadian art successfully.

Today, the Joyners enjoy being actively engaged with organizations that also support the very best and most significant in local arts heritage and collections.

“The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum was our first venture when we came to this town,” said Lorraine Joyner, who eventually retired from her work as a translator, and from running a local B&B. “And I see it growing to be a major tourist attraction.” 

Her husband echoed her comments: “The museum is a part of our heritage tourism,” he said, “and that can only benefit the entire town as well as the region.”

From their bright, spacious home overlooking the Niagara River, surrounded by some stunning examples of Canadian art, both Joyners agree that being a part of the NOTL Museum has also been a solid investment.

“This is a big one,” said Geoffrey Joyner. “Being able to play a part in the museum’s capital campaign is a once-in-a-lifetime project for us, and we hope others will see it that way too.”

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