The Art Gallery of Ontario recently announced plans to upgrade. Famous architect Frank Gehry was chosen to design the upgrade since he grew up only block away. But practically every aspect of the project is fraught with controversy. At first, neighbors of the museum were afraid of the kind of building Gehry might bring to the area, while others welcomed the first Gehry work in the city. But the plan unveiled was not what people expected. The plan is nothing like a Bilboa Guggenheim, but a much more restrained design, attempting more to fit in with the neighborhood.
Henry Moore Sculpture beside the AGO at the corner of Dundas and McCaul.
A new controversy erupted a couple of weeks later when one museum benefactor, Joey Tannenbaum, learned the details of the design. When he discovered that a couple of galleries he paid for only a decade ago would be sacrificed, he went ballistic and announced he was withdrawing his support. And so the upgrade plan is now up in the air. Will the AGO risk embarrassment and cancel plans for the upgrade? Will they try to go ahead without Tannenbaum's support while giving the signal to other potential benefactors that their contributions might not be permanent? The prudent course of action would be to try to find some compromise.
New OCAD building, on McCaul Street.
Beside the AGO is the Ontario College of Art and Design. The OCAD is finishing construction on a new building, perhaps the most original and playful piece of architecture the city has seen in decades. Rather than demolishing existing buildings or expanding into the neighboring park, they built upwards. The new building is a two story pencil box suspended in the air on 16 massive colored pencils.
Italian Consulate, at Dundas and Beverly, at the edge of Chinatown.