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Royal Ontario Museum kicking off Bloor Street revitalization

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) today announced plans to begin work on the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and the Reed Family Plaza. This initiative is part of the Museum’s Welcome Project, established to provide greater access to the Museum and enhance the ROM’s role as a vital civic hub for the city and its visitors. Slated for completion in early 2019, the project will create a vibrant streetscape and outdoor gathering space beside the Museum’s Bloor Street entrance. Encompassing nearly 5,500 square feet of exterior space, the initiative was made possible by lead donors Helga Schmidt, and Nita and Don Reed.

Royal Ontario Museum, Hariri Pontarini Architects
Arial view of the new Bloor Street plaza. Image via Hariri Pontarini Architects.

In December, the ROM completed the first stage of the Welcome Project with renovations to the Museum’s landmark Queens Park façade and the re-opening of the Weston entrance doors. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are now taking another important step in our revitalization plans by animating the space around the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal on Bloor Street,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “The addition of the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace, and the Reed Family Plaza will create a seamless link between the Museum and Bloor Street and serve as a welcoming space that brings people together in the heart of the city.”

Designed by Toronto architect Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini Architects, the project will be anchored by landscaping and an outdoor performance terrace. The Reed Family Plaza, which runs along the Museum’s north-facing façade, will feature an elegant gathering space with plantings and seating that will enhance the pedestrian experience and offer visitors an inviting spot to meet, sit and relax.

“Our family is very pleased to support the ROM’s next exciting chapter of community engagement with the Reed Family Plaza,” says Nita Reed, ROM Trustee and long-time ROM donor and volunteer. “We are looking forward to seeing it come to life as a dynamic Museum space along Bloor Street.”Royal Ontario Museum, Hariri Pontarini

The Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace will be located on the northwest corner of the Museum overlooking Philosophers’ Walk. The outdoor performance and event space will provide a unique open-air venue for music, theatre, discourse, and performances for all to enjoy.

“As a lover of operetta and live performance, it’s a joy to support the creation of an outdoor performance space at the Museum,” says Helga Schmidt, philanthropist and ROM supporter. “My late husband would have been very proud of this moment, which honours our shared love of music and the arts.”

This project opens the doors of theRoyal Ontario Museum ever wider while providing new ways to deepen the ROM’s connection with the community and participate in the urban life of the city. Both the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Entrance on Bloor Street and the Weston Entrance on Queen’s Park will be open throughout the construction process.