About Us

Carl & Kate Turkstra

Carole & Roy Timm Photography

Kate Turkstra


Born in the Lake District in Cumbria, England, she moved to London after high school to embark on a career in nursing. Kate met her future husband of nearly 60 years, Dr. Carl Turkstra, at a party. Soon after, when Carl was offered a full-time position at McGill University in Montreal, he took her home to Canada.

Their early years together were busy with kids and careers, Kate as a head nurse at Maimonides Hospital, and Carl as a professor of Civil Engineering, at McGill. Always up for an adventure, they never missed an opportunity to travel with their kids, Peter and Jennifer. While Carl was on sabbaticals, they lived in Mexico City, France, and New York. As ardent advocates for public education, they enrolled their kids in local schools wherever they were living, trusting that everything would work out and somehow it always did.

When Carl accepted a full-time position at the Polytechnic Institute, they moved the family from Montreal to New York. Their years in Brooklyn were among Kate’s happiest: together they embarked on the complete renovation of a wreck of a heritage home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. She loved working on the house, and it was there that she mastered the art of the flea market find.

In 1989, Carl took over Turkstra Lumber, the family business, which meant a permanent move to Hamilton, Ontario. Having lived in metropolitan cities around the world, they believed passionately that any modern city needs to have a thriving arts culture. Together, they created and funded the incite Foundation for the Arts. To this day, the incite Foundation continues to support a wide variety of arts education and music programs, both large and small.

"Strong cultural institutions are essential for the economic development and quality of life in any community. Hamilton’s major music, art and theatrical organizations as well as the dozens of smaller organizations need and deserve the support of our citizens. I hope that this initiative will incite Hamiltonians to rise in support of their cultural life."