Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance
Toronto is undergoing a cultural renaissance with the unprecedented building and architectural transformation of close to a dozen major arts and cultural institutions.
Watch for the opening of these buildings, designed by internationally renowned architects, as we move through the Live With Culture campaign.
Roy Thomson Hall
National Ballet School
Ontario Science Centre
Royal Conservatory of Music
Toronto International Film Festival
Ontario College of Art and Design
Soulpepper Theatre Company
Canadian Opera Company
Royal Ontario Museum
Art Gallery of Ontario
York University Accolade Project
The auditorium renovation of Roy Thomson Hall was the result of five years of careful study and consultation. Intended primarily to enhance the acoustical performance of the auditorium, the $24 million project also included modifications to improve audience comfort, increase the auditorium's versatility in presenting a wider range of events, and the building of a new sponsor/donor lounge. All the renovations and upgrades have contributed to making Roy Thomson Hall a more compelling venue for producers, promoters and patrons. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which performs 110 concerts a year in Roy Thomson Hall, is enjoying significant audience growth with a renovated hall and a charismatic new Music Director, Peter Oundjian.
The Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) is Canada,s largest university of art and design, specializing in creativity and innovation. Established in 1876, the university has more depth and breadth in visual arts programs than any school of its kind in Canada. OCAD students enjoy a one-of-a-kind learning environment that combines an experiential, studio-based education with liberal studies. OCAD graduates are well known for their creative skills. Their work continues to enrich our country's culture and add value to the economy and everyday lives of Canadians. In 2004, OCAD completed a $42.5 million campus redevelopment, which features the Sharp Centre for Design. The unique "table top" structure has quickly become one of the most exciting and provocative architectural landmarks in Toronto.
Canada's National Ballet School is a world leader in the training of professional dancers and teachers. Dedicated to advancing the art of ballet, NBS develops dance professionals in a student-centred environment by weaving innovation and evolving practice with the finest teaching traditions. The Jarvis Street Campus, Stage I of NBS's $106 million capital expansion, opened to public and critical acclaim in November 2005. Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects and Goldsmith Borgal and Company Limited Architects, Architects in Joint Venture, the campus is a superb integration of heritage buildings and contemporary architecture that reflects the traditions of classical ballet while embracing its evolution. "A beacon on Toronto's architectural scene." (Lisa Rochon, The Globe and Mail), the Jarvis Street Campus won a 2007 Institute Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, only the fourth Canadian building to do so since the AIA first bestowed the awards in 1949. Stage II, the renovation and expansion of the Maitland Street residence, opened in Fall 2007. NBS graduates can be found as dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, teachers, and administrators in over 65 dance companies world-wide and even more schools around the globe. NBS will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2009/10.
Opened: 2005 George Brown Theatre School in residence as of September; Soulpepper performances commenced January 2006
The Young Centre for the Performing Arts, designed by Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna Blumberg Architects, will be Canada's most innovative and holistic performing arts and training institution, home to Soulpepper Theatre Company, the George Brown Theatre School and an array of independent theatre, dance and music companies. Soulpepper's triple mandate of performance, outreach and education will be fully realized with year-round performances, extensive outreach opportunities and the launch of the SoulpepperAcademy. The 44,000 square feet facility will house performances by Soulpepper and George Brown, in addition to those of various independent companies year round. Attendance in 2006 was 110,000.
The Ontario Science Centre has transformed more than 30 per cent of its public space and created a new outdoor experience. With the transformation, the Centre continues to develop a new way for visitors to engage in science. Participants are exposed to the attitudes, skills, networks and tools that will enable them to become the drivers of a sustainable culture of innovation. The Centre has opened the Weston Family Innovation Centre and Teluscape as part of the $40 million Agents of Change initiative.
Opened: June 2006
The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts opened in 2006 as the new home of the Canadian Opera Company and the new performance venue for the National Ballet of Canada. It is the first purpose-built opera house in Canada and has been designed to the highest acoustic and theatrical standards by the award-winning Toronto-based firm, Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated. R. Fraser Elliott Hall, is a traditional five-tiered European horseshoe-shaped auditorium of 2,000 seats, and provides unparalleled intimacy between the audience and the stage. The Four Seasons Centre is a home for Canadian artists, a vibrant, living, cultural centre for our nation, and a theatrical magnet attracting not only audiences from around the world but also international stars.
In addition to increasing performances from 36 to approximately 75, the COC has launched its Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre which includes 100 free lunchtime and early evening concerts. Tours of the opera house are also available. The National Ballet of Canada expands from 64 to approximately 91 performances in the new house. For more information, please visit:
The GardinerMuseum is one of North America's pre-eminent centres for the display and study of ceramics. With a permanent collection of over 2900 objects ranging from contemporary work like Picasso's Large Vase with Veiled Women to Maiolica dishes from the Italian Renaissance and 18th century European tea services, the intimate museum is often referred to as a "jewel box of ceramic treasures." Visit gardinermuseum.com for information on the current special exhibition and focus exhibition. The newly designed Museum is one of Toronto's most outstanding examples of modernist architecture and houses Toronto's "Best Shop" -Vogue USA, and celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy's restaurant, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner.
Galleries fully installed: Spring 2008
Renaissance ROM is the Royal Ontario Museum's $270 million, multi-year expansion and heritage renovation project. It reaffirms the Museum's position as one of North America's great museums and a leading cultural attraction for the city, province and country. The ROM's vast collections of world cultures and natural history, including many objects never before displayed, will be showcased in over 300,000 square feet of dramatic new and expanded galleries and public spaces. A major new wing, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, opened in June 2007, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind in a joint venture with Bregman + Hamann Architects. The new permanent galleries inside the Lee-Chin Crystal will open in stages between December 2007 and Spring 2008; a further phase of renovated galleries in the heritage buildings will be finished in 2009.
When the project is complete, attendance is expected to increase to about 1.5 million visitors per year. Exhibition space increases by 40,000 square feet; the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall at 18,000 square feet is Canada's largest museum exhibition space; two new restaurants and a museum shop have also recently opened.
Academic facility opening: September 2008, Concert Hall: opening early 2008
The TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning will be one of the world's greatest arts and education venues. Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna and Blumberg Architects, the TELUS Centre is the focus of the Conservatory's Building National Dreams Campaign. The campaign will restore the Conservatory's historic Victorian-era home at 273 Bloor Street West, expanding it to include a high-calibre performing arts institute, with technologically sophisticated performance venues and professionally equipped academic facilities. With a 1,140-seat concert hall, public café, community events, broadcast facilities and a variety of programming, this stunning facility will be a vibrant cultural destination and a wonderful resource for all Canadians.
The new concert hall will attract 200,000 visitors annually. Over 1,500 events will be held annually in the TELUS Centre.
An innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Transformation AGO project will integrate groundbreaking ideas about the many ways that art and people can connect for powerful experiences. As one of North America's most distinguished art museums, the $254 million expansion will set the highest standards for accessibility to all facets of the artistic experience by providing unparalleled access to art display, programming, conservation, storage, creation and research.
The AGO will present a variety of exhibitions that highlight its permanent collection and partnerships with other institutions. In the Gallery's inaugural year, attendance is estimated to increase from 600,000 visitors to 800,000 visitors. Exhibition space will increase 47 per cent.
Opening: 2010 Bell Lightbox, located at the corner of King and John Streets in the heart of Toronto's dynamic entertainment district, is set to become a landmark destination that leads the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image. This 150,000 sq-ft facility will serve as the new home for the Toronto International Film Festival Group's (TIFFG) year-round programming, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children, Cinematheque Ontario, the Film Reference Library, and Film Circuit. Programming by TIFFG will expand significantly with the opening of Bell Lightbox, including new screening programmes in 5 state-of-the-art cinemas; headquarters for other film festivals and cultural activities in partnership with TIFFG; installations and exhibitions in 2 gallery spaces; workshops and panel discussions in 3 learning studios; and expanded youth education programmes, delivering arts curriculum to children. Annual audience numbers are expected to increase from 900,000 to 2,000,000. Designed by world renowned Toronto-based architectural firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB), Bell Lightbox is made possible through a relationship between the TIFFG, the Daniels Corporation, and filmmaker Ivan Reitman and the Reitman Family, with essential support from founding sponsor Bell Canada, and the governments of Ontario and Canada.
The Accolade Project at York University is a visionary initiative that offers Canada's future artists, scholars and educators a striking new home in which to learn, create and innovate. This $107.5 million, 358,000 sq. ft. expansion project, designed by leading architectural firms Zeidler Partnership and B+H Architects, provides state-of-the-art teaching, exhibition and performance facilities in two new buildings - Accolade East and Accolade West - framing the existing fine arts complex at the heart of York's Keele campus. Flagship facilities include the 360-seat Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre boasting generous stage, wings, sidestage and backstage space plus an orchestra pit, fly system and traps; the 327-seat Tribute Communities Recital Hall, acoustically designed by Artec and featuring an integrated recording studio; and the 500-seat Price Family Cinema, equipped with a 40-ft. screen, Christie Digital projector and 19-speaker Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Two art galleries and dozens of cutting-edge studios, labs and classrooms round out the facilities.
As the new home of York's trailblazing Music and Dance Departments as well as the internationally recognized Art Gallery of York University, the Accolade Project brings together all of the programs in York's Faculty of Fine Arts - one of North America's leading and largest fine arts schools - in one dynamic cluster. It offers an outstanding new showcase for the 250+ public events presented by York Fine Arts each year, as well as professional and community projects. Situated in the centre of the GTA, the Accolade Project is a major new addition to Toronto's arts landscape, reflecting York University's stature as a rising cultural powerhouse and partner in Toronto's cultural renaissance.
Photographs supplied by cultural organizations.