Bob Hinitt, B.A., M.A. B.Ed. (1926-2011) was known for his work in the Saskatoon drama community. He took his dramatic artistry skills in setting up an elaborate Christmas staging to his front lawn every Christmas on Wiggins Avenue. Every year visitors would be treated to a new, original Christmas decoration which would raise funds for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals SPCA or Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. When Hinitt ‘s Christmas displays ended in 2006 due to knee surgery and diabetes, he said, “What I feel bad about is that (the organizations) won’t have that money this year. The animals need that. They need somebody to fend for them.” At his peak, his donated contributions came to $12,000 in one year alone.
Hinitt graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in French and English in 1947, followed by his Master in Arts two years later. He continued in University to receive his Bachelor of education in 1952. Over the next 44 years Hinitt taught French, English and Drama in Saskatoon high schools and at the University of Saskatchewan.
The archives have compiled a photographic collection commemorating the sculpture Hinitt crafted for the 1971 Jeux Canada Games, a sampling of his front yard Christmas displays, his backyard floral garden arrangements, artwork for Ronald McDonald House as well as sets at ABCI Robert Hinitt Castle Theater.
Hinitt and his family moved from Winnipeg to Calgary when he was 4 years old, relocating to Blucher, SK the following year. By the age of 9, the family had moved into the city of Saskatoon enabling Hinitt to attend Victoria School, Nutana Collegiate, and the University of Saskatchewan.
Hinitt designed the 600 seat round theatre for Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute ABCI, first named Castle Theatre. It was here that his skills he gleaned from Stratford in sets and design came to life, his interest in sculpture blossomed, and his love of drama brought awards in a number of provincial drama festivals. Students remember his skill at painting and assembling cardboard into pillars, and architecture from any era and any country, painting it to look like the setting needed for any play. Under the lights, a magical transformation occurred keeping the audience spell bound as the theatrical performance wound its charm around them. Not ony did the drama students at ABCI benefit from Castle theatre, but it was the inaugural venue for the Saskatoon Summer Players and their first performance Oliver!.
Hinitt was instrumental in the founding of the Saskatoon Gateway Players, The Saskatoon Summer Players, and also served with Persephone Theatre.
Honours and Awards
In 1967, Hinitt was honoured as the first CFQC Citizen of the year. In 1983, Hinitt received the Order of Canada. Hinitt was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2000 followed the next year with induction into the Woodward Theatre Hall of Fame. Hinitt Place is a Saskatoon street named in tribute. Bob Hinitt Wing was established in his honour at the SPCA, and in 2008 Castle Theatre was renamed “Robert Hinitt Castle Theater”. In tribute to Hinitt, he described as an “educator whose passion for theatre and design nurtured generations of theatre-goers, practitioners and artists.”
To honour the memory of Bob Hinitt, it was requested that donations continue to Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals SPCA or Forestry Farm Park and Zoo.
What would be marvelous, indeed, would be for Christmas displays set up in his honour at a public Saskatoon location in his memory by the community.
http://www.saskatoonspca.com/caring/bob-hinitt “In Memory of Bob Hinitt Robert N. Hinitt June 12th, 1926 – November 11, 2011”. Saskatoon SPCA. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
McKinlay, Peggy (2011). http://wanderlustandwords.blogspot.com/2011/11/bob-hinitt-community-artist.html “Wanderlust and Words: Bob Hinitt, Community Artist”. Wanderlust. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
Heighes, Pat (20111). http://www.saskatoonsummerplayers.ca/about.php “Look Back….. The Origins of Saskatoon Summer Players”. Saskatoon Summer Players. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/local/story.html?id=2116273e-ca5a-4941-acef-dcca2e795c54 “Hinitt Christmas displays come to end ater 59 years. Bob Hinitt has hung up his hammer, ending a decades-long Christmas tradition in Saskatoon”. Star Phoenix. December 21, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
Moira, Day (2006). http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/hinitt_robert_n_1926-.html “Hinitt, Robert N 1926-“. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
http://www.arts.usask.ca/drama/news/news.php?newsid=2382 “News Item – Department of Drama”. College of Arts and Science – University of Saskatchewan. 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
http://sain.scaa.sk.ca/items/index.php/hinitt-robert-n;term/browseTerm?limit=20 “SAIN Photographs”. Subjects-Hinitt, Robert N.. SAIN Saskatchewan Archival Information Network. Retrieved Decmeber 14, 2011.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/11/13/sk-robert-hinitt-obit.html “Saskatoon arts legend Bob Hinitt dies”. CBC News. November 13, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
Warick, Jason (November 12, 2011). http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx
“Beloved Saskatoon citizen dead at 86”. Star Phoenix. Press Display. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
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