Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Castlepoint Numa announce new permanent home for MOCCA in Toronto’s Lower Junction

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Castlepoint Numa announced their partnership in creating a new permanent home for the museum as the anchor tenant of a new mixed-use community in the emerging Lower Junction neighbourhood in Toronto. MOCCA will be moving its operations to 158 Sterling Road where it will occupy the first two and a half floors of the iconic Tower Automotive Building, which is being restored as part of an eight-acre community being built by Castlepoint Numa. Renovation of the c.1919 industrial heritage building has been approved and construction will begin as early as the fall of 2015, with a target for completion in the winter of 2016-17.

“MOCCA has enjoyed our decade on Queen Street. We have been instrumental in the neighbourhood’s revitalization and we look forward to having the same effect, on a much larger scale, in our new space in the Lower Junction,” says David Liss, Artistic Director and Curator, MOCCA. “We are excited to work with Castlepoint Numa to establish our permanent home in the Tower Automotive Building. The architecture and design of this unique historic space inspire many opportunities for MOCCA to bring Toronto the level of contemporary artistic activity that a city of this size and sophistication deserves. The mushroom columns and 16-foot ceilings on the first floor, with a plaza right outside the building, create a dream space to showcase contemporary art. We’re already planning our inaugural exhibition for early 2017,” says Liss.

MOCCA has secured its future through a long-term lease with Castlepoint Numa, a leader in the development industry, which places city building, sustainability and design excellence central to all of its projects. MOCCA is making a 40-year commitment to occupy roughly 25,000 square feet at the base of Toronto’s historic Tower Automotive Building. This dramatic expansion will double MOCCA’s size, enabling it to meet the increasing demand for existing programs, and making it possible to present more robust exhibitions and enrich the visitor experience. Plans include a café, retail shop, exhibition areas, and room for the community to congregate indoors and out. Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance has been chosen to design the space.

“Together, Castlepoint Numa and MOCCA will reshape a formerly underutilized industrial area and expand the cultural community in the west end of Toronto. Our Sterling Road project in the Lower Junction is already an established home for numerous artists and arts organizations and now MOCCA will make its permanent home there,” says Alfredo Romano, President of Castlepoint Numa. “In the Lower Junction, MOCCA will continue to build its brand as a major catalyst for the contemporary art world in Canada and the world at large,” says Romano.

Since arriving on Queen Street West 10 years ago, MOCCA has become an important promoter of contemporary art and artists in Canada. It has also been a stimulus for Queen Street West’s thriving art community, for local businesses, and the surrounding neighbourhood. MOCCA has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area with a diverse range of exhibitions, programs and activities. With the establishment of a permanent and expanded facility in the Lower Junction, MOCCA is developing an institution of national significance in Canada’s largest city. Now more than ever, MOCCA will be able to devote itself more fully to its mission to be an inclusive cultural catalyst in a rapidly evolving and diverse part of the City, and a launchpad for contemporary art on the national and international stages.

“Three years ago, MOCCA’s Board of Directors changed our governance model and became a standalone entity, independent of the City of Toronto. Since then we have been focused on expansion and sustainability, and are thrilled to have a permanent home to fully realize our vision,” says Julia Ouellette, Chair, MOCCA Board of Directors. “The organization is ready for this big commitment and eager to take on the challenges it entails. With David Liss leading our curatorial team, we are now embarking on a global search for a CEO. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to date and excited about MOCCA’s future,” says Ouellette.

MOCCA’s new home in the Lower Junction will be easily accessible by subway, streetcar, bus, bike or car. By transit, visitors can access the museum with a short walk from two TTC subway stations (Lansdowne or Dundas West), two streetcar lines, a GO station and the new Union Pearson Express stop. Cyclists will be able to access the museum from the West Toronto Rail PATH.

On June 25, 2015 MOCCA opens its 2015 summer exhibitions—Dean Baldwin: Q.W.Y.C. and Elmgreen & Dragset: Drama Queens.  MOCCA will close its doors at its current location on August 23rd and temporarily relocate its administrative offices to 80 Ward Street until December 31, 2016. MOCCA is currently developing plans for itinerant, off-site and pop-up programming during the transitional phase before occupying its new permanent home in the Tower Automotive Building.

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