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In 1957, the Ontario Puppetry Association (OPA) was formally established as the umbrella organization for three puppetry guilds, including the Toronto Guild of Puppetry. Shortly thereafter, theatre companies, puppeteers and other puppetry guilds across the province became members of the OPA, contributing to its national and international reputation as one of Canada's leading puppetry organizations. Puppeteer George Merten, who served as advisor during the association's inaugural years, was among the OPA's key founders. The organization's numerous successes include the Puppet Centre, which operated in Toronto from 1980 until 1993, featuring activities such as puppetry festivals, weekend series for young audiences and workshops or performances by notable puppeteers, as well as monthly meetings and exhibits of the OPA Collection. Through the Puppet Centre, the OPA also operated a publishing company, OPA Press, producing several titles, including the important reference book Puppetry in Canada: An Art to Enchant by Kenneth McKay (1980). In 1994, the organization's extensive collection of puppets and archival material was donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Today, the OPA continues to connect puppeteers and puppetry enthusiasts across the province.
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