The Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) in Okotoks has a new name.

On Monday, May 27, the Town Council chose between two potential names for the theatre, located on the corner of Veterans Way and Elma Street.

The names were the Old Church Theatre and Theatre 1906. 

Council ended up deciding on Old Church Theatre, which was the name recommended by the town administration.

Culture and Heritage Team Lead, Allan Boss, briefed the council on the pros and cons of each name.

The fact that the RPAC is an old church recognized in the town's Municipal Heritage Designation Program, was a major factor in considering the Old Church Theatre name.

"At visitor services in the Okotoks Art Gallery, administration can report that it's quite common if somebody asks where RPAC is, that they refer to it as 'the old church theatre on the corner of Elma and Veterans,' so there are folks in town that refer to it that way. It also aligns with Okotoks' notion and pride in its small-town charm," said Boss.

On the other hand, Boss noted that the name could come off as bland to some people and that it "does not represent contemporary aspirations of a growing community."

The Theatre 1906 name was considered because it represents the year the building was built, and the name has more of a contemporary allure.

Several cons were also considered though, including the similarity to Calgary's Theatre 1308, the avant-garde nature of the name compared to the kinds of concerts and shows that are performed at the RPAC, and the fact that the name just isn't evocative of the building itself.

Council voted unanimously in favour of the Old Church Theatre.

Prompted by a question from Councillor Gord Lang, Boss confirmed that the historical connection to the Rotary Club would remain.

"There is already a plaque that talks about how the building was developed and there is information on that on our website around the historical development of how that building came to be part of the town, and it would be very easy for us to adapt that into a plaque that would go into the facility."

Mayor Tanya Thorn took some time to clarify why the change was being made.

"This is being looked at because we created a sponsorship policy under this term, and so the naming of our assets, there's now a formalized process for what that looks like, and Rotary was approached to potentially continue with that and follow that process, but not necessarily the best use of their fundraising dollars to have their name on a building. That is, from my perspective."

The council meeting and agenda can be seen here.