Getting Real

Riding the roller coaster of success and silence

Getting Real

Roller Coaster

Upon finalizing the conceptual large plan project after 1.5 months, the investor then asked me to make a smaller staging plan as a stepping stone towards the monumental goal.  That way we could have a school right away.  This request gave me a sigh of relief as I knew I could then fund this aspect of the project with multiple investors and yet-again have a buffer of safety in redundancy as we moved forward. 

My team searched for new properties that could handle the scalability of the project even without the need of the Central Highschool facility.  We looked at a short number of locations and arrived at a few possible spots to leverage. The concept is to purchase an existing (large) building and renovate some of that building to house the school and let it grow over time. This plan will alleviate immediate financial pressures from the budding enterprise. The second concept is to build a new building that is much smaller in scale, then modularly grow the scale till the large vision has been realized.

Please allow me to digress for a little.  Often when I am referring to the larger project, I typically cite Canada’s Wonderland as the success model that we are following.  Some of you may recall that when Canadas Wonderland was first built, hectares of land was purchased but all that was visible to the public was a little ”mountain” seemingly in the middle of ‘nowhere’.  People thought the visionary at the time was crazy!  Why would he buy so much land in the middle of nowhere to put in a theme park?  His answer was consistent every time.  “One day the park will grow so big that they will need to put rollercoasters over the parking lot because there will be no more room to build.Once day Toronto will grow all around the park and there will be no room to expand”.  Now ask yourself, where did they have to build the two largest roller coaster rides in the last decade? Over the parking lot! In the first years of Canada’s Wonderland, the owner struggled to just pay the taxes on the land because the revenue generated by the park was so small in comparison to the size of the property.  But the risk paid off and you know the rest of the story. 


In contrast, even though our project is quite big, our School of The Arts project is not expected to struggle through the first years but rather succeed. This is a result of a great deal of tactical thinking and planning.  All of my life I have built successful initiatives on shoe-string budgets and this large project is set to experience the same success.  With your help, hopefully not on a shoe-string budget though. 


When we move together, we all win together. 

Now back to our feature presentation:


Over three tireless months, I built a fairly detailed plan for the smaller “staging” plan, which will allow us to deploy the School of The Arts right away for Central Ontario.   After almost a full year,  I was still working hard with two charities to conclude our joint venture agreements so that we could start raising money but these plans kept stretching out longer and longer.  Through this time, the Central property was sold to a group that will remain nameless at this time.  As you know, unfortunately the old Central Highschool building is no longer.  Our dream and subsequent plan however is still alive and more vibrant than ever!

The Troubling Middle Steps:


After thousands of hours of planning and development by my team and I over the course of a year, things were in a holding pattern.  Now, I am a very transparent person and found myself in a peculiar predicament.  The whole community was waiting on a public statement from me regarding how the School of The Arts was coming along, but I could not share with them the visions or developments at that time because too many variables were waiting in the wings. 


The not for profit entities were not locked-in yet.  I could not speak about the locations that we were looking at because we didn’t want to create a disturbance in the real-estate market as we ramped up.  I could not disclose what I knew about the Central purchase without breaking confidence with my partners but I wanted desperately to say something in order to keep the community informed. Where should I go from here?

Well, I had to keep a “stiff upper lip” while we kept moving forward with passion, perseverance, patience and public silence.  I tried my best to be forth-coming with every person I met in person while still reserving comment for the time being.  It was uncomfortable to say the least because I am the kind of person that holds no secrets. I did not want to disappoint my community and supporters, but I just had to stay quiet at that time. 


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Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: The Ramp Up
Part 3: Raising The Octane
Part 4: Getting Real
Part 5: Not For Profit
Part 6: Next Steps
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