Cicada Design Inc.
If there was any doubt that Toronto is in the midst of a cultural rebirth, last week’s commitment by the Toronto Transit Commission of $350,000 in seed money to revamp three subway stations along the city’s ‘cultural corridor’ should do away with any lingering uncertainty.
In the proposed plan, Museum, Osgoode and our very own St. Patrick subway stations would be thematically designed to serve as gateways to the cultural attractions they serve.
Spearheading the initiative is the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF), a charitable organization that describes itself as "dedicated to ensuring the vitality of the city and making it the best place to live, work, learn and grow." The TCF met with representatives from the AGO, ROM and the Canadian Opera Company to get feedback on the proposal and preliminary designs donated by architect Jack Diamond. The TTC endorsed the program last week and agreed to provide start-up funding that would enable the TCF to begin seeking financial support from the private sector and continue discussions with the cultural venues on the look and feel of the redesigns.
The initiative is aimed at increasing awareness for the arts and supports Toronto’s official Culture Plan, part of which calls for the creation of an ‘Avenue of the Arts’ along University Avenue. In addition, the project fits well into the city’s ‘Live with Culture’ initiative, a 16-month celebration of Toronto’s thriving cultural scene that was launched last September and continues through December 2006. Work on the subway project will get underway in early 2006 with Museum being the first station to get its new look.
"The AGO’s been advocating an art-oriented presence for the St. Patrick station for years," says Beverly Carret, the AGO’s manager of government and community relations, "and it’s terrific to have the Toronto Community Foundation, the City of Toronto and the TTC on side. There’s lots of work ahead to determine what the nature of the St. Patrick station’s redesign should be and we’re very much at the table as those discussions continue."