Over two dozen local musicians gathered together Saturday to honour a cultural institution in Winnipeg.

The West End Cultural Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary Saturday and held a special concert to celebrate the milestone.

“We wanted to bring them together and showcase the community spirit of the Winnipeg music scene and Manitoba music scene,” said Jason Hooper, the centre’s artistic director.

The roster of talent includes local musician Lloyd Peterson, whose band, The Cheer, was the first to perform at the centre in 1987. 

“I’m just thrilled to be back,” said Peterson.

The centre was created that year to help emerging local artists find their place in the music business.

“This place was amazing. It was like a whole community coming together to build something that didn’t exist before,” said Peterson.

Now, 25 years later, the centre is still standing but looks a bit different.

The centre had structural problems, but with help from the community, renovations were completed in 2009 to add a second-level seating area and a lobby.

“We tried to maintain and were successful in maintaining the intimacy of the space,” said Hooper.

Despite its modest size, Peterson said the centre has had far-reaching impacts on the city’s music scene.

“You can’t overestimate what it’s done, from every genre of music, every age group,” said Peterson. “They also do community outreach here. It’s a treasure.”

The centre offers free concerts and music workshops for schools as well as music lessons for neighbourhood children.

That, Hooper said, has helped the centre contribute to a stronger, more vibrant community.