Isabel Overton Bader was born November 1, 1926, in Kirkland Lake, a gold mining town in Northeast Ontario, Canada. In 1949, she met Alfred Bader on a sea voyage to the United Kingdom and developed an immediate bond, but eventually parted ways. For the next 28 years, she pursued a career in teaching, co-founding a drama school, the Thalia School of Elocution and Drama, and became a skilled costume designer. Despite this long separation, the spark between Isabel and Alfred never waned, and remarkably, they eventually managed to reconnect and were finally married in 1982.
Together, Alfred and Isabel Bader became influential philanthropists, particularly supporting the arts and education. They generously contributed to the University of Toronto (U of T) and Queen’s University. Notably, they played a crucial role in the construction of the Isabel Bader Theatre at U of T, along with significant donations to Queen’s. Isabel’s philanthropic vision later shifted towards supporting indigenous and immigrant communities.
Photo Credit: Queens University at Kingston