Toronto-based architect Siamak Hariri walked an excited roomful of dignitaries through his plans for a revamped Alliance Français de Toronto headquarters at 24 Spadina Road earlier this afternoon. Hariri described the redevelopment as a “small but important project” that will enhance the existing Victorian-era building with modern glass cubes housing additional classrooms, a cafe, even a small theatre. The vision, according to Alliance Français de Toronto President Gordon MacIvor, is to transform the facility into a francophone cultural hub in the city with a space capable of presenting salons, cabarets and musical events. Hariri noted that the building will be completed in stages over the next couple of years as funding is secured: Trillium Foundation Board Member Kathleen Freeman was on hand to announce a grant of $500,000 to help get construction underway.
Photo by Christopher Jones, architectural rendering courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects
Architect Don Schmitt (far right) of Diamond Schmitt Architects addresses press and well-wishers at the grand opening of Regent Park’s new Citadel studio/theatre, which he designed. A former Salvation Army soup kitchen, the adaptive re-use of the 1912 building was spearheaded by Bill Coleman and Laurence Lemieux, founders and co-Artistic Directors of contemporary dance company, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. Ward 28 Councillor Pam McConnell officiated at the ribbon cutting. READ MORE
Art Gallery of Ontario president Tony Gagliano shares a laugh with Senator Linda Frum, left, and AGO CEO Matthew Teitelbaum and Tamara Rebanks (George Weston Limited VP), all of whom spoke at this morning’s opening of the new 35,000 square foot Weston Family Learning Centre at the AGO. The new facility offers innovative art education programming to children, youth, families and students of all ages, and features 6,000 square feet of studio space. The new wing was designed by Toronto firm Hariri Pontarini Architects.
The human side of great 20th century intellectual Marshall McLuhan was revealed yesterday afternoon when three of the author’s six children gathered at their childhood home to unveil a Heritage Toronto plaque marking the house’s history. Teri McLuhan (far left), Elizabeth McLuhan and Michael McLuhan (both above right) each took a moment to reminisce about growing up in the house at 29 Wells Hill Avenue, around the corner from Casa Loma. Teri recalled a house filled with music, both recorded (McLuhan senior apparently had a soft spot for Erik Satie, Flanders & Swann and Tom Lehrer) and performed, sometimes by Glenn Gould, who was a frequent visitor.
Also pictured above are University of Toronto Dean of the Faculty of Information, Seamus Ross (yellow tie) and poet Dennis Lee (in the hat), who initiated the plaque program as his legacy project following his term as the City’s Poet Laureate from 2001 – 2004. Lee noted that McLuhan was living in the house when he wrote The Gutenberg Galaxie (1962) and Understanding Media (1964), “which to my mind were seminal books of the 1960s. The Gutenberg Galaxie . . . changed the configuration of my mind because the dots were being connected in such a way that just to keep up with it you had to alter the way your mind worked. It was a thrill to discover that the author of that book was a denizen of the same place as I was.”
The Heritage Toronto Legacy Plaques Program unveiled eight new tributes this morning honouring leaders in the city’s cultural and intellectual life. Lawyer Grace Westcott (left, chair of the Legacy Project) joined City Councillor John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West) and Karen Carter (Executive Director of Heritage Toronto) for the unveiling in the City Hall members lounge. The plaques are being installed at the former residences of media theorist Marshall McLuhan (29 Wells Hill Avenue), National Ballet of Canada founder Celia Franca (166 Carlton Street), composer Harry Somers (158 Douglas Drive), architect E.J. Lennox (487 Sherbourne Street), photographer William James (250 Major Street), writer Jane Jacobs (69 Albany Avenue), painter Tom Thomson (38 Elm Street) and geologist/physicist J. Tuzo Wilson (Ontario Science Centre). The Toronto Legacy Project was established in 2002 by the city’s first Poet Laureate, Dennis Lee, to celebrate our artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape.